Quick Hits: September 16, 2021
1) 2021 Flyers Rookie Camp: On-ice group work begins today and continues tomorrow at the Flyers' 2021 Rookie Camp. The pace should go a bit quicker than at the recent Development Camp but the late summer nature of the previous camp made it a bit different in tone than a typical late June/early July Development Camp. The immediate goals now are to get ready for NHL Camp next week, evaluate which young players on the bubble will stay around beyond Rookie Camp and prepare for back-to-back games this weekend against the players in the New York Rangers Rookie Camp.
For a preview of Rookie Camp, check out the current episode of the Prospect Pipeline Podcast
with Brian Smith and myself on the Flyers Broadcast Network.
For a look at three storylines worth tracking in Rookie Camp into the start of main camp, see my article on the article on the Flyers official website
2) The Rangers currently will not be streaming Saturday's Rookie Game against the Flyers at the Madison Square Garden Training Center in Tarrytown, New York. This could change. The Flyers are working out details for doing a streaming broadcast of Sunday's rematch in Voorhees.
3) After Thursday's Rookie Camp training session in Voorhees, the following players will speak to the media: Wade Allison, Morgan Frost, JR Avon and Brian Zanetti.
4) Among the five tryout invites at Rookie Camp seeking an entry-level contract -- forwards J.R. Avon, Ethan Burroughs, and Nolan Ritchie along with defensemen Quinn Schmiemann and Jackson van de Leest -- the one with the highest chance at an ELC is Avon. He also has perhaps the most interest backstory. First of all, the Peterborough native was a first-round pick in the 2019 OHL Draft by the hometown Peterborough Petes. Secondly, in terms of sheer skating ability, Avon is among the fastest players in camp. Lastly, there's the families ties intrigue of Avon being the stepson of longtime NHL star Steve Larmer.
A 16-year-old Avon dressed in 54 games for the Petes in 2019-20 but saw limited ice time in most of the games. He was expected to see an expanded role in 2020-21 -- his NHL Draft-eligible season -- but the Ontario Hockey League season was canceled due the pandemic. Without question, this severely hurt the player's chances of being selected in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. In fact, even with the cancellation of the OHL season and limited meaningful ice time over a two-season period, it was still a surprise that no NHL team took a chance on a mid-to-late-round selection of Avon because he'd been such a highly touted prospect entering his rookie year in Peterborough.
While the half-rink 3-on-3 tournament that concluded the Flyers' recent Development Camp is rather meaningless in terms of hockey evaluation and is designed more for fun, Avon was one of the day's standouts. He tallied a pair of goals for Team White in one of the games including a game-winner in a 2-1 win over Team Orange (Tyson Foerster scored their lone goal).
5) The Flyers released their promotional schedule yesterday for the 2021-22 regular season:
Friday, October 15 vs. Vancouver – Flyers Season Schedule T-shirt
Monday, October 18 vs. Seattle – NHL Network Reusable Tote Bag
Saturday, November 20 vs. Boston – Star Wars/Flyers Poster
Tuesday, November 30 vs. Islanders – Flyers Beer Stein
Tuesday, December 21 vs. Washington – Ivan Provorov Nesting Dolls
Thursday, January 20 vs. Columbus – "Various Jawns"
Monday, February 28 vs. St. Louis – Gritty Fanny Pack
Thursday, March 13 vs. Montreal – Coors Light Socks
Saturday, April 9 vs. Anaheim – Ryan Ellis Chia Pet
5) Today in Flyers History: Sept. 16, 1974
On this day 47 years ago, the Flyers made a pair of transactions with the St. Louis Blues. Following the career-ending eye injury suffered in the playoffs by defenseman Barry Ashbee, the Flyers purchased the contract of 38-year-old veteran defenseman Ted Harris. The same day, they traded a 1975 2nd-round draft pick (Jamie Masters) and the rights to Randy Andreachuk in exchange for goaltender Wayne Stephenson.
Both Harris and Stephenson would become contributors to the Flyers' second straight Stanley Cup championship winning team. For Harris, it would be his fifth and final Stanley Cup ring after winning four as a mainstay defenseman for the Montreal Canadiens during his prime. Stephenson became the primary backup goaltender to Bernie Parent (surpassing Bobby Taylor on the depth chart) in 1974-75. The next year, with Hockey Hall of Famer Parent injured for much of the campaign, Stephenson was pressed into starting duty and was a Vezina runner-up.