Flyers News & Rumors: Rookie Camp, Tortorella, Andrae Injury

As the Philadelphia Flyers inch closer to the official beginning of training camp on Thursday, Sept. 22, the rookies convened on Wednesday for physicals and brief meetings before hitting the ice on Thursday. The beginning of the John Tortorella era continues to dominate the conversation in Philadelphia, and the organization suffered a minor prospect injury this week.

Flyers Rookie Camp

The on-ice portion of Flyers rookie camp began at the Flyers Training Center in Vorhees, NJ on Thursday morning. 13 forwards, 10 defensemen, and three goaltenders participated in the session run by Lehigh Valley Phantoms head coach Ian Laperriere. The crop will play rookie games against the New York Rangers rookies at the PPL Center in Allentown on Friday night at 7 p.m. and Saturday night at 5 p.m. NBCSP+ will broadcast Saturday’s game.

Ronnie Attard Philadelphia Flyers
Ronnie Attard, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Some of the most intriguing prospects won’t appear in rookie camp. Cutter Gauthier is ineligible to participate because of NCAA rules. Bobby Brink is still dealing with a hip injury that will keep him out well into the regular season, and Emil Andrae was preparing to begin his season in Sweden before a recent injury. Tyson Foerster, Egor Zamula, Noah Cates, Ronnie Attard, and Laperriere spoke to the media after Thursday’s session.

Laperriere discussed expectations for the rookie games. “They have physical players. We do too, and hockey is hockey,” he bluntly stated about the intensity of the competition. He also revealed that Attard won’t dress in Friday’s game and that Samuel Ersson will be the starting goaltender on Saturday. He continued with praise of the offseason training from players within the organization.

Related: Flyers 2022-23 Season Preview: Penalty Kill

“I think the guys look unbelievable, in great shape. I see them in the gym, the big team and even the younger guys. I think they had 40 guys here two weeks ago. I’ve never seen that. I’ve been here for 13 years. I’ve never seen that, so it’s all credit to them. They put (in) the work. They want to make sure nobody gets injured. Is it going to happen? I don’t think so, but at least they put chance on their side by training the right way this summer and getting ready for Torts’ (Tortorella’s) training camp.”

Tortorella Demands Accountability

John Tortorella’s interview on Sirius XM NHL Network Radio sparked more conversation about the need for accountability within the organization and in the dressing room. Philadelphia’s newly-hired head coach called the group “splintered” earlier in the offseason, and prominent members of the organization have consistently emphasized the need for a new standard for performance. 

Charlie O’Connor spoke on Wednesday about how personal relationships between teammates have at times made it more difficult for them to challenge each other. He mentioned accountability in individual conditioning work as a possible element of the team that needs to improve if they want to move towards a new standard. Laperierre’s words on Thursday echoed the same sentiment.

Mike Yeo, the team’s interim head coach for 60 games last season, spoke about the need for players to push each other in March after the team had lost eight of their previous nine games.

“I do think that, as a group, we all have to understand there’s a difference between a good teammate and a good guy. And sometimes, being a good teammate means, you might have to go to your best friend and say ‘we need you to be better.’ Or ‘we need you to make that play at that time or pick him up.’ Whatever the case is, challenge each other. If somebody’s slipping, maybe don’t allow yourself to slip. Maybe you pull them into the fight with you.”

Andrae Injured in Sweden

Andrae took a vicious puck to the face in the preseason finale for HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) on Wednesday. Although the prospect defenseman will not play in the regular-season opener, he could return within a week’s span wearing additional face protection, according to Bill Meltzer.

Emil Andrae HV71
Philadelphia Flyers Prospect Emil Andrae with HV71 (HV71)

Andrae starred at the World Junior Championship in August as the captain and leading scorer for Team Sweden. He will play in the top tier of the SHL in 2022-23 for HV71 after the team spent last season relegated into the nation’s second professional tier.

The organization has dealt with remarkably extensive injuries at the NHL level and in prospect development in recent seasons. They hired Ian McKeown in their newly-created Vice President of Athlete’s Performance and Wellness this offseason after an extensive look at their medical staff and concerning internal practices. Andrae recently ranked fifth on The Athletic’s list of top Flyers prospects entering the 2022-23 season (from The Athletic, Flyers top 20 prospects: Cutter Gauthier is No. 1 on 2022-23 preseason list, 9/15/22).

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