Flyers-Islanders: Rookie Game Postgame Review


(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Wednesday night's Rookie Game doesn't count in the standings or even count toward the Flyers preseason total of eight games. It was still a game where the Flyers were back on the ice, the first since late April and it was a welcome sight.

It was a pretty solid showing for several players on the ice too, many of them top prospects that will be around in main camp for the better part of the next two weeks.

Who exactly stood out in the Flyers 6-3 win over the Islanders in East Meadow? Let's get to it with our Postgame Review. 

Postgame Points

  1. Looking Good, Lindblom - Obviously the headliner of the night was Oskar Lindblom. He scored a hat trick. He added two assists. A five-point night really says it all in the box score.

    But here's what really said it all: Lindblom looked like he didn't belong out there. He was far and away the best player in the game and those 23 games at the NHL level last season, not to mention four more in the playoffs, made a difference. The puck seemed to find him throughout the night and when it did, he certainly knew what to do with it. 

    Lindblom had what I call the "man among boys" type of performance. You can tell that when stacked up against other rookies with far less experience, it isn't even close. Lindblom is an NHL player. He's still got to prove it during the preseason, but if he can play the way he did on Wednesday night, even without the points, he's a lock for the Flyers roster — if he wasn't already.

  2. Getting Frosty - Lindblom may have scored three goals, but the biggest goal of the night was Morgan Frost's in the final seconds of the first period. It wasn't anything fancy, just throwing a shot toward the net, but good things can happen and it did on that play. The Flyers had really let a hot start get away from them as the Islanders were dominating the first period outside of the first four or five minutes. Frost's goal evened the score and shifted the momentum back.

    Frost also showcased every part of his game. He had a breakaway and was able to get a chance with his speed. He made a smart play on the Flyers first goal, throwing a pass toward the net with a deflection possibility there. He got an assist as Lindblom tipped the initial chance and scored on the rebound. His stickhandling as he maneuvered through the offensive zone.

    Frost has a great skillset and there's no denying that. It's simply about showing how good it is against better talent than players on a similar level of experience.  

  3. Steady Myers – The word to describe Phil Myers' game was simply that: steady. He looks very comfortable in all phases of the game as a defenseman. He can quarterback the power play, he was a serviceable penalty killer and he was solid at even strength.

    Again, it's just a performance against players of his own skill level and experience, if not less with Myers spending last season in the AHL. But these are the type of games Myers needs to have during the preseason if he wants to win that potential open spot in the Flyers lineup on opening night.

  4. Hart Hangs In - By the numbers, things didn't look good for Carter Hart after the first period. He was aided by the goal posts plenty in this game and he allowed three goals — albeit, difficult ones to stop. That said, it's not exactly the lights out performance Hart expects out of himself and that fans are clamoring for.

    The second period was more of what Hart's game is. He was poised and steady in the crease, staying with the puck well. He threw in a few saves on high-danger scoring chances to keep the Islanders off the board completely in the second period. 

    If nothing else, the first period performance by Hart showed why he needs some time. He's not going to come in and start shutting out the opposition from Day 1. His second period showed the potential he brings with him, the poise, the ability, the smarts. He's got the whole package when he's completely on his game. The second period showed flashes of that.

  5. The Other Carsen - For several years, Carsen Twarynski seemed like just another prospect in the middle rounds, but he's quickly becoming one to watch as main camp begins. He's probably not on the radar for a roster spot out of camp, but now that he's a pro and can start the season with the Phantoms, a good performance in the AHL could make him a call-up candidate soon enough.

    Twarynski scored a goal in the first period with a strong shot and alongside Lindblom was the Flyers next-best player on this night. He's a physical player with an edge to his game, but he's got scoring ability as well. He scored 45 goals with Kelowna last season in the WHL and quickly picked up two points in a brief five-game stint with the Phantoms.

  6. Honorable Mentions – There were certainly more than just five players that could be given a positive note of some sort. Here are few others who weren't as closely watched of as much of a standout that still caught my attention:
    1. Mikhail Vorobyev – Vorobyev played on a line with Lindblom and Twarynski, so he was certainly going to be noticeable with their performances. Vorobyev did score a goal and pick up an assist as well. He took a few too many trips to the penalty box and didn't look as much like a penalty-killing dynamo as he was believed to be from his time with the Phantoms, but it's too soon to jump to conclusions. He certainly didn't do anything to hurt his stock as rookie camp ends and main camp begins.
    2. Isaac Ratcliffe – He wasn't really noticeable on the offensive end, but he was very solid on the PK and in the defensive zone. Obviously, the kid has size, and he uses that and his reach to his advantage. He had two very good breakup plays on the puck while in the defensive zone. Solid play in the defensive zone can certainly translate into offense, so credit Ratcliffe for showing off an area of the game that isn't pretty, but is of great importance.
    3. German Rubtsov – I find Rubtsov to be a curious prospect. He always looks solid in drills, but in any junior game I've seen of him, there's nothing specific that is impressive to his game that stands out. He's got talent, but he's not as much of a standout prospect such as Frost. That said, in this game, his skating looked solid at times and he was especially noticeable on a third-period penalty kill.
    4. Liam Hughes -  The good: Hughes stopped everything thrown his way in the third period. That much was impressive, given the healthy dose of Josh Ho-Sang, Kieffer Bellows and Noah Dobson that came at him in the final 20 minutes. That said, after watching Hart for two periods, it wasn't pretty. He had a tendency to scramble in the crease, getting out of position, and looked jittery early in the period and on certain saves. Ultimately, he did his job by keeping the puck out of the net, but with the Flyers logjam of goalie prospects, it's hard to see a good performance in this game being enough to keep him around.
    5. Yegor Zamula – Another player in on an ATO, I was impressed with the way Zamula moved around the ice and looked the part. He's looked smooth and confident with the puck, which is a good start for being a defenseman in the game today. It may not translate over to a contract, but he put a good performance forward as the Flyers consider a decision.
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