The Philadelphia Flyers wrapped up their annual rookie and prospect development camp on Thursday. Run by former Flyers players who are now in player personnel roles, the camp had a different approach and format this year. Normally, scrimmages are a part of the evaluation process to see first-person how the prospects react in a game situation. This year, camp director and revered former Flyer Ian Laperriere, did away with scrimmages.
Laperriere’s reasoning was too many top prospects were sustaining too many unnecessary injuries. It was also interesting to see if the Flyers’ top prospects would participate in a separate practice session than general prospects. Prospects such as 2013 first-round pick Samuel Morin, 2012 first-round pick Scott Laughton and 2012 second-round pick Anthony Stolarz were not on the ice at the 10 a.m. practice session.
Promising, but not as highly regarded prospects such as Marcel Noebels and Matt Konan (pictured above) were on the ice this morning. It is certainly a nice change of pace to see so much young talent in the Flyers organization. General Manager Paul Holmgren said heading into the 2013 NHL Draft the team needs to be more patient developing young talent rather than trading it away for a short-term fix.
The Flyers made it clear in the draft they are addressing defensive depth long-term, as this is probably Kimmo Timonen‘s final season. Braydon Coburn or Andrej Meszaros will be traded to clear cap space and recently signed Mark Streit is already 35-years-old.
After re-signing NHL-caliber and young defensemen Erik Gustafsson and Oliver Lauridsen, the Flyers are committed to nine defensemen this season. Most teams only carry seven defensemen on their roster. If the Flyers could find a way to work both Gustafsson and Lauridsen onto their roster, it will be for the best long-term. Gustafsson brings the ability to move the puck up on the break out and is a possible offensive threat on the power play. Lauridsen is similar to fellow Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossmann, but Lauridsen has better mobility. Most importantly, Gustafsson and Lauridsen do not take up much salary cap space.
If this is how prospects will be trained, evaluated and used in player personnel decisions, then this formula needs to stay.