The Philadelphia Flyers management and fan base witnessed a small glimpse of their future when the team faced the New York Islanders in their rookie game. The Flyers rookies took a had a 3-1 lead going into the third period but sat back and eventually blew the lead, forcing them into overtime where Islanders prospect Mitch Vande Sompel sealed the game. In their first preseason bout, the Flyers once again sat back and watched their lead vanish as the Islanders stormed back and won in overtime.
Despite the frustrating loss that characterizes most of the Flyers actual defeats, a lot of positives could be taken in, including the performance of second overall pick Nolan Patrick.
Patrick Feeling Fine
After a WHL season riddled with injuries, Patrick finally took the ice during rookie camp and shined in the rookie game.
I’m not holding back at all now. I’m 100 percent. There’s no limitations for me going into battles or anything like that. I’m not nervous going in there.
And that was visible during his battles and rushes in practice, he seemed comfortable. When game time arrived, Patrick had an uneventful first period but got better as the game went along. In the second period, we saw the talent and skill that made him the second overall pick in the draft. Patrick’s passing was crisp, smooth and the puck was on his stick for no more than a second when he was pressured.
He was put in multiple situations, including the penalty kill and manned the half wall on the power play. Patrick seemed to find teammates on plays that appeared to be dead and he was strong on the puck, outmuscling players to make that little play. Had everyone finished on their chances, Patrick could have easily had four or five points. He also hit the post in overtime before the Islanders turned the play around and ended it.
Needless to say, Patrick delivered a great performance and has the tools necessary to make an impact at the NHL level.
Lindblom a Man Among Boys
The current holder of the SHL Forward of the Year title has showcased everything that has made him a top prospect for the Flyers. Lindblom was monstrous on the forecheck and along the boards, winning almost every puck battle and proving he has the skill and strength to make the team. Slotted on a line with Patrick, Lindblom had several good scoring chances generated from board play and slick passing. He was also inserted in front of the net on the power play, as was advertised during his time in the SHL.
Lindblom improved his skating exceptionally since he was drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL draft. With the league getting faster by the year, Lindblom still has some work to do with his overall skating game, but he’s made huge strides over the years.
Vorobyev & Friedman Turning Heads
A pleasant surprise for fans to watch, the Russian center put on a passing clinic, setting up teammates left and right. His accurate passing was also on display at last years World Juniors when he led the tournament with 10 assists. Vorobyev, a fourth-round pick in 2015, will be joining the Lehigh Valley Phantoms this season where he will continue to improve. His skating needs some work, but his passing and vision are already at an elite level and he could be a dark horse to make the lineup in the upcoming years.
Mark Friedman has played in the NCAA for the past three seasons and will finally get a taste of pro hockey when he laces up the skates in the AHL for the upcoming campaign. During the rookie game, Friedman was without a doubt the best defenseman on the ice, scoring a goal and playing all-around great defense. It will certainly be hard for him to slot himself into the Flyers lineup in the future due to the abundance of talent they have on the back end, but Friedman definitely made a case for himself this year.
The Flyers lost both the rookie and preseason games in overtime, but there were plenty of encouraging signs and many players proved they could play at the next level. It’s only question of time before the Flyers boast an incredibly skilled lineup, but one thing we can all be happy about is that hockey is back.