Flyers News & Rumors: Training Camp, Couturier, Anisimov & More

The Philadelphia Flyers will finally begin the on-ice portion of training camp at their team facilities in Vorhees, NJ on Thursday morning. Before camp even convened, they got bad news about a potential long-term injury to Sean Couturier. General manager (GM) Chuck Fletcher and head coach John Tortorella will now face an even steeper uphill battle getting the team back into contention in 2022-23.

Training Camp

The Flyers will carry 41 forwards, 22 defensemen, and eight goaltenders in camp. The buzz surrounding the team during the offseason has focused on the dawn of the Tortorella era, with rampant rumors about a disciplinarian style that the two-time Jack Adams Award winner will deploy. Cam Atkinson gave one final nugget to the media about a supposed handwritten letter Tortorella gave to the players.

Cam Atkinson, Philadelphia Flyers
Cam Atkinson, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“He put in the letter, ‘We’re doing a skate test. It’s going to be hard. If you have questions, ask Cam.’ You can imagine everyone’s reached out and picked my brain. It’s funny because (teammates) that have asked me (about camp) in the summer and asked me again. You can tell the anxiety is starting to kick up a little bit. But it’s a grind, without question. I personally love it and knowing that we all do it together. I think it builds camaraderie,” Atkinson said.

Related: Evaluating 5 Flyers Prospects After Rookie Camp 

Fletcher will speak to the media at 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, and Tortorella will follow after the last of four player groups finishes practice. After on-ice sessions on Thursday and Friday, the Flyers will begin the preseason on Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center against the New Jersey Devils. NBCSP+ will televise the game at 7 p.m., and 97.5 The Fanatic will carry the radio broadcast.

Couturier Injured

Optimism is hard to come by in the world of the Flyers, and Couturier’s injury damages the already long odds of the team earning a playoff berth in 2022-23. Anthony SanFilippo of Crossing Broad reported on Wednesday that the former Selke Trophy winner will miss at least a significant portion of the 2022-23 season if not all of it because of a herniated disc in his back suffered during an offseason workout. The organization officially called Couturier “week-to-week” with an upper-body injury. 

Sean Couturier Philadelphia Flyers
Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Couturier won three consecutive Bobby Clarke Trophies as the team’s MVP in 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21. He is the best player on the roster in terms of scoring production, play-driving metrics, and the 200-foot game. He was the likeliest player to take over the vacant captaincy. The Flyers felt his absence painfully when a back injury limited him to 29 games last season. 

Fletcher locked up Couturier last summer with an eight-year, $62 million extension that begins in 2022-23. In order to reach the end of the contract in Philadelphia, he’ll have to overcome serious long-term injury concerns through his 19th season with the Flyers in 2029-30. Kevin Hayes will likely center the first line in Couturier’s absence, and Scott Laughton might move back to the middle because of a lack of organizational depth at center.

Anisimov, Roussel, PTOs

The Flyers will bring Artem Anisimov, Antoine Roussel, Nolan Maier, Pat Nagle, and Tyler Wall to camp on professional try-outs (PTO). The three goaltenders, Maier, Nagle, and Wall, won’t likely factor into the organization’s plans at the NHL level in 2022-23. However, the two veteran forwards might compete for roster spots with so many unknown commodities surrounding them.

Chicago Blackhawks Artem Anisimov Philadelphia Flyers Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim
Former Chicago Blackhawks Center Artem Anisimov and Philadelphia Flyers Defensemen Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

Anisimov brings 771 games of NHL experience in parts of 13 seasons with four different teams. He played three full-time seasons under Tortorella with the New York Rangers from 2009-10 through 2011-12 before moving to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Rick Nash trade. The offensive peak of his career came when he scored 20 or more goals in four out of five seasons from 2013-14 through 2017-18. While the 34-year-old shouldn’t be expected to replicate that kind of production in Philadelphia this season, the idea of a veteran center who has already played under the new head coach might appeal to the Flyers in the absence of Couturier.

Antoine Roussel has racked up 1063 PIM in 607 games over 10 NHL seasons as an agitator for the Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks, and Arizona Coyotes. Flyers fans likely remember him best from an altercation with Zac Rinaldo in December 2013 when Rinaldo mauled the unsuspecting Roussel and received a game misconduct. The 32-year-old has not reached double-digit goals since 2016-17, and he only has one fight in each of his last three seasons.

Beyond the Boards: DeAngelo, Atkinson

The Flyers continued their “Beyond the Boards” series with episodes focusing on Tony DeAngelo and Cam Atkinson. The newcomer DeAngelo shared memories from growing up in South Jersey as a lifelong Flyers fan and the passion and pride that he associates with the organization. The feature included scenes from DeAngelo’s youth hockey work at the Hollydell Ice Rink in Sewell, NJ.

Atkinson’s light-hearted persona gives fans something to root for at a time when pessimism infiltrates almost any conversation about the Flyers. The episode shows his life as a devoted father and a friendly face around team facilities. He will play a top-six role as a key cog in the offensive attack this season.