Flyers Sign Chris Stewart to 1-Year Deal

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(Photo: Mike Kruce)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Over the summer, the Flyers invited veteran forward Chris Stewart into the competition for limited roster spots in the NHL by signing him to a professional tryout. For the 31-year-old, who played last season in England, this was likely the final chance he had to revitalize his NHL career.

Stewart hung around throughout training camp, showing his physical edge as he auditioned for a bottom-six role. Even beyond the preseason, Stewart remained on a PTO waiting for the chance to sign. That chance has arrived.

The Flyers have signed Stewart to a one-year, one-way deal worth $750,000. To make room on the Flyers roster, defenseman Andy Welinski, who was waived on Monday and sent to the Phantoms after clearing on Tuesday. That move opened up approximately $1 million in cap space, enough for the Flyers to be able to complete the signing of Stewart.

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10 Storylines for the 2019-20 Flyers Season

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(Photo: Mike Kruce)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The start of a new season is a new beginning and for the Flyers, that is certainly very true. 

GM Chuck Fletcher is still fairly new after being hired last December and completed his first offseason by making several changes to the roster. There is a new head coach and assistants behind the bench. There are plenty of new faces on the roster. 

With the new season comes storylines that are worth watching as the year progresses. Here are 10 that you should watch for in the 2019-20 season.

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Flyers Hoping Vigneault Can Continue Winning Trend

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(Photo: Mike Kruce)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It’s hard to argue with a resume like Alain Vigneault’s. He has been a head coach for 16 seasons. He has coached over 1,200 games. He has 648 wins.

He’s won the President’s Trophy. He’s taken the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final. The only thing he does not have is a Stanley Cup.

And that’s why he is with the Flyers. Vigneault sees it as an opportunity to satisfy his own hunger and a starving franchise and fan base. That may not happen in the short term, but the goal of the upcoming season is to have Vigneault continue a trend that has become familiar in his coaching career.

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Flyers Name Final Roster; Farabee, Myers Sent Down

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(Photo: Mike Kruce)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers had until 5 p.m. to officially submit their final roster ahead of Friday's season opener. With a handful of injuries, it made the cap situation a difficult one to navigate as the deadline approached.

Many of the roster decisions were fairly easy, but there were some prospects fighting for spots that were not going to make the final cut.

In the end, the Flyers final 23-man roster includes three injured players on the non-roster injured list -- but not long-term injury list -- and 20 active players. There are a total of 11 forwards and seven defensemen on the roster. To complete the final cuts, Joel Farabee and Phil Myers were sent down to the AHL.

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Flyers-Lausanne HC: Preseason Game 7 Preview

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(Photo: Mike Kruce)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

There is one final tuneup for the Flyers in the preseason, and this one is a special exhibition. The Flyers will face one of Switzerland's teams in Lausanne HC to close out the 2019 preseason on Monday afternoon.

To this point, the Flyers are 1-2-3 in the preseason, certainly not great final results, but three of the six games have gone to overtime and the other two losses were sealed with late goals, one being an empty-net goal in the final minute, so for the most part, there has been competitive hockey. 

But this is the last chance for the Flyers to really iron out the wrinkles and be ready to play when the games start to count and the regular season begins on Friday. The preseason finale begins at 2 p.m. ET.

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Alain Vigneault Finally Gets His Surprises for Flyers

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(Photo: Mike Kruce)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

On the second day of Flyers training camp, Alain Vigneault had a request of the large group of players in camp. There were plenty of established veterans in camp, but with a lot of prospects as well, Vigneault wanted to see something.

“We’ve got some decisions to make. That’s what you want in camp. You need surprises,” Vigneault said. “We need some of these young kids to step up and force us into some decisions. That’s how your team get better. We’re going to give them obviously an opportunity to do that.”

After six games and two weeks of camp drills, it appears that Vigneault got what he wanted. In the final days of camp, four prospects were still hanging around and forcing the Flyers to make decisions. For three of them, it appears the decision is clear. They left the Flyers with no choice but to leave them on the roster.

Obviously, all eyes were on Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost from the start of camp. Farabee started off playing alongside Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier, in place of the absent Travis Konecny, still working on a new contract at the time. He got a game with the two veterans that was fairly solid.

Farabee has done everything in the preseason except score. It’s certainly not for a lack of trying. Farabee had five shots on goal in Thursday’s shootout loss to the Rangers and 10 shot attempts, two of which hit the post. In every other aspect of the game, he has proven he can handle the pace and physicality. And he’s only improved with each passing game.

Frost may not have been very far behind if not for a groin strain that kept him out of game action twice. He missed the first two games of the preseason recovering, played in the next two, then sat out the last two. The lack of preseason games likely hurt his cause, since Frost certainly looked the part in the games he played in. But Frost will head to the AHL after a strong training camp effort and he’s certainly on the short list among call-up options.

While all eyes were on Farabee and Frost, Carsen Twarynski and Connor Bunnaman were hanging around at training camp through several rounds of cuts as well.

Twarynski was the Flyers best player in a 4-1 win over the Rangers last Saturday, getting rewarded for his efforts with a goal. He scored again in Monday’s overtime loss in Boston. Bunnaman also scored a power-play goal in Monday’s game and has been called the best player in camp by Vigneault. They may be somewhat off the radar -- Twarynski also had a strong camp last year and was one of the final cuts then -- but they have stood out in games as surprises. Again, here come two young prospects that have forced the Flyers to make a decision in their favor. It appears that they, too, have made the team to start the season.

Midway through the preseason, it didn’t seem like the Flyers had any surprises. Even with Farabee and Frost looking the part of NHL players, no one had stepped forward with point production to go along with solid play. It was certainly a question if point production was going to matter in decisions.

The final week of the preseason, before the Flyers left for Europe, proved to provide some clarity. Twarynski scored in back-to-back games. Bunnaman got a shot down the middle and looked solid. Farabee continued to get better and generate more opportunities, even if he wasn’t scoring. For all three, it happened as the opposing lineups just got better and better.

If you asked people which prospect was going to make the team out of camp, assuming only one would, many would have thought Frost would have been it. Well, surprise, 19-year-old Joel Farabee will make the jump from first-round draft pick to college freshman to NHL rookie. Carsen Twarynski and Connor Bunnaman, two mid-round picks from the 2016 NHL Draft, have earned their spots.

It’s exactly the kind of surprises Alain Vigneault wanted to see.


Flyers Notes: Frost Sent to AHL, Patrick Injury Update

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(Photo: Mike Kruce)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Prior to the Flyers final preseason game in the US, a 2-1 shootout loss to the Rangers, there were a few updates on the roster that provide a lot of clarity as the season draws closer.

In his pre-game media availability, head coach Alain Vigneault noted that Morgan Frost had been told he would start the season in the AHL. Frost, who is recovering from a groin strain, cannot be officially sent to the minors until he is off the injured list. GM Chuck Fletcher confirmed the decision during an intermission interview on the Flyers Radio Network.

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Flyers-Rangers: Preseason Game 6 Preview

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(Photo: Mike Kruce)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

One more game for the Flyers in the US before they travel to Europe. On Friday night, the team will depart for Switzerland, where they will play their final preseason game, then head to Czech Republic for the regular-season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Before that, the Flyers have a Thursday night meeting with the New York Rangers, where they will dress a lineup very close to what can be expected in the regular season. Game time is 7 p.m.

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Flyers Make More Cuts, Roster Down to 27

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(Photo: Mike Kruce)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

More roster cuts were expected following Monday night’s loss in Boston. The Flyers cancelled practice on Tuesday and GM Chuck Fletcher announced seven additional roster cuts that bring the roster to 27 with just two games remaining in the preseason and two days left until the team heads to Europe.

Three players were sent to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms: forwards German Rubtsov and Mikhail Vorobyev and defenseman Mark Friedman. Four others were placed on waivers for purpose of loaning to Lehigh Valley: forwards Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Andy Andreoff and Kurtis Gabriel and defenseman Chris Bigras.

This leaves 16 forwards, nine defensemen and two goalies on the Flyers roster, a total of 27 players.

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Flyers-Bruins: Preseason Game 5 Preview

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(Photo: Mike Kruce)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

After claiming their first win of the preseason in the final home game, the Flyers hit the road for the first of two more games in the states before heading to Europe ahead of the start of the 2019-20 season.

The first of those two games is on Monday night, as the Flyers face the Boston Bruins at 7 p.m.

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