It’s almost here, hockey is almost here! The Philadelphia Flyers announced their annual Rookie Camp schedule and roster for the 2019-20 season; four days when fans and coaches can get a sneak peak at the prospects through practices, on and off ice sessions, and more. This year’s rookie camp starts Saturday, Sept. 7 and ends Wednesday Sept. 11, culminating in a rookie game against the New York Islanders.
This year’s camp features 28 players: 16 forwards, 9 defensemen, and 3 goaltenders. Rounding out the prospects are seven camp invitees, all of whom are looking to prove their mettle. There is a lot to be excited about, so let’s start with the big names.
The Big Guys
Philippe Myers, Isaac Ratcliffe, and Morgan Frost are just a few of the top-end prospects who will be skating for the Flyers this camp. Myers who spent 21 games with the Flyers last season will be a veteran-like presence for other defensive prospects: Mark Friedman, Egor Zemula, and Mason Millman. Surprisingly, the rookie crop of forwards is much more impressive than in previous years. Joel Farabee, German Rubtsov, and Mikhail Vorobyev all have a legitimate shot at making the team.
The top prospects in the Flyers’ pool are nothing to scoff at, and it will be a treat to watch them duke it out during this mini camp. Granted there are only two to three roster spots available, so look for some heavy competition. Most of these players are dreaming of a spot on the NHL team, but making the Lehigh Valley Phantoms is just as important. Getting professional hockey experience, at any level, is monumentally beneficial to the development of these players.
The Flyers have seven camp invitees this year, compared to the 2018 rookie camp when they had zero. All of these players are long shots to make the team but have sparked the interest of the Flyers’ brass enough to get invited. Mika Cyr, Gerry Fitzgerald, Maxim Golod, and Ben McCartney, the four forwards invited, are from various leagues, including the OHL, QMJHL, and the AHL. Look for these players to compete for a starting spot on the Phantoms for this season.
Sean Comrie, Josh Couturier (no relation to Sean Couturier) and Robert Michel mark the three defensive invitees. The curious thing about this year’s camp invitees, is that they all have vastly different levels of experience. Their ages range from 19 to 26, and there doesn’t seem to be a method or pattern to why they were invited. They will also be pushing for spots on the Phantoms roster.
Flyers vs Islanders
The rookie mini camp finishes on Sept. 11 with a game against the Islanders rookies. It will be played at the PPL Center in Allentown, and we will get a good look at how the Flyers prospects fair in a live game. The Islanders’ rookie team boasts a slew of high-tier prospects, both up front and on the back end. First-round picks Kiefer Bellows, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Noah Dobson will present a good mix of speed, skill, and physicality that the Flyers will have to match. The Flyers rookies won last year’s contest.
Related: Islanders Offensive Prospects
Also look for a matchup between the Flyers’ Ratcliffe and Islanders’ Otto Koivula. Towering at 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-4, respectively, these two centers will lead their lines into a battle of size and skill. I am excited to see how the forward lines shake out for the Flyers during the rookie game. I imagine a top line of Frost centering Farabee and Maksim Sushko with Myers and Friedman on the back end. The lineup will be a unique challenge for the coaching staff because, as of right now, the Flyers only have one listed right winger attending camp.
Every year, I look forward to the rookie camp announcement. For all intents and purposes, it signals hockey’s return and we get a sneak peak at what the team’s future could look like. The Flyers’ top-end prospects in Myers, Farabee, and Frost will look to make their mark early and solidify a spot with the big club. Camp invitees, though long shots, will have a chance to prove their mettle and compete for lineup spots with the Phantoms.
We’ll finally get to see some live action on Sept. 11 against the rookies of the Islanders. If this rookie game is anything like the previous few, the stands will be packed with die-hard Flyers fans hoping to get a chance to see the next best player to wear the orange and black.