Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Between the Pipes! I'm your host, Zach Hopkins, and I look forward to bringing you the latest and greatest news and notes from the Orange and Black each week. Without further ado – let's get it started.
Flyers analyst Steve Coates goes one-on-one with 2014 first round pick Travis Sanheim - [Gus Richardson -Broad Street Buzz]
Hopkins Take: The Flyers brass and fans alike are excited over Sanheim, as they should be. The 19-year-old defenseman scored 65 points in 67 games for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League and has steadily climbed the ranks in Philadelphia's suddenly deep prospect pool. In fact, he likely would have been the consensus top overall prospect if not for 2015 first round pick Ivan Provorov, who many feel could transition to the NHL as soon as the 2015-16 season. The 6-4, 200-pound Sanheim will undoubtedly be headed back to Calgary this year but with his ceiling on the rise, he could be manning the Flyers blue line within a couple of seasons.
Flyers re-sign Michael Del Zotto to a two-year extension; defender to be in 'Goon 2' - [Marc Narducci – The Inquirer] [Travis Hughes – Broad Street Hockey]
Hopkins Take: Aside from Mark Streit (and possibly Nick Schultz), Michael Del Zotto was arguably one of the Flyers top blueliners in 2014-15 despite being a somewhat frequent occupant in coach Craig Berube's doghouse. With Berube an afterthought and first-year coach Dave Hakstol running the show, Del Zotto figures to play a huge role, not only at even strength, but on the power play and penalty kill units as well. The two-year extension is an excellent bridge contract for the Flyers who have a handful of defensive prospects waiting in the wings. If Del Zotto can continue to perform at a high level and prove that his defensive malignancies with the Rangers and Predators were nothing more than apparitions, he could solidify his place with the team long-term, beyond his current pact. On a lighter note, Del Zotto will appear along with Stars forward Tyler Seguin in Goon: Last of the Enforcers which is set for a 2016 release. I guess we will have to wait to see if Del Zotto has a career in acting after his playing days are over!
The NHL has changed the start time of seven games affecting the Flyers for 2015-16 - [flyers.nhl.com]
Hopkins Take: Of the seven games changed, four of them are home games at the Wells Fargo Center. Games against Dallas (Oct. 20), Montreal (Jan. 5) and Detroit (March 15) are being moved from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. starts while a game against Nashville (Nov. 27) is being moved from 3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The 7:30 start times should be beneficial for ticket holders who often rush to games right from work. It also provides some additional time to down some crab fries and brews before puck drop.
Jeremy Roenick thinks Jake Voracek has 'more in the tank' - [csnphilly.com]
Hopkins Take: Jake Voracek was a beast last season when he scored 81 points – including 59 helpers – in 82 games played, most of which were on the top line with Claude Giroux. Aside from leading the Flyers in scoring, Voracek recorded six points, including a hat trick, in the 2015 All-Star Game and captained the Czech team at the 2015 IIHF World Championships. Not only is he continuing to grow as a player at just 25 years of age, he is also blossoming as one of the leaders on a Flyers team trying to get back into the postseason after missing out in two of the past three seasons. Flyers fans can expect big things from Voracek this season – from his likely imminent contract extension to his numbers on the ice.
Flyers remain unable to move Vincent Lecavalier's contract - [Tim Panaccio – csnphilly.com]
Hopkins Take: Ron Hextall has made it very clear that his intention is to move Lecavalier and his $4.5 million cap hit but has continued to be unable to do so. Lecavalier is a player on the decline and the Flyers would certainly benefit from the cap space that unloading his contract would provide. In the increasingly likely event that Lecavalier is on the roster come training camp, the 35-year-old will look for a resurgence under Hakstol as Berube demanded a grueling, defense-first system for his centermen that took it's toll on the 16-year NHL veteran.
That's all for this edition of Between the Pipes. Check back again on Saturday for more news and notes on Flyers hockey.
Zach Hopkins is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @healedbyhockey.