Quick Hits: August 6, 2022
1) Wade Allison remains, as of this writing, the lone remaining Flyers restricted free agent with a reasonable chance of making the opening night roster. If not for a series of injuries dating back to a torn ACL in his sophomore season at Western Michigan, Allison probably would have been an established NHL player by now rather than someone with just 14 NHL games to his credit. He will turn 25 on Oct. 14. It is notable, however, that Allison remains waivers exempt entering the 2022-23 season.
Both of the power forward's two pro seasons to date have been delayed by preseason injuries, and Allison was especially injury-plagued in 2021-22. It was not until the final month of the season that he was able to stay in the lineup for at least two consecutive weeks without suffering another injury.
Allison suffered a high ankle sprain in September during the second of two Flyers' Rookies games against the New York Rangers Rookies. He was out of the lineup until joining the Phantoms on Dec. 11.
In the third game of his return, Allison suffered an arm/wrist injury on a check near the player bench. He was out until Jan. 14.
Once back in the Lehigh Valley lineup, the high-energy power forward may have been playing more from adrenaline than being in peak game-readiness. Nonetheless.it was impossible to ignore that Allison strung together a three-game goal scoring streak and had 12 shots on goal over his four-game stint with the Phantoms.
The Flyers recalled Allison to their NHL roster in time to play in the team's Jan.23 road game against the Buffalo Sabres. Unfortunately, the winger did not make it through his first NHL game of the season unscathed. In the third period, Allison suffered a sprained MCL and found himself right back on injured reserve. He did not appear again in the NHL the remainder of the season.
The MCL sprain kept Allison out until March 11, when he returned to the Phantoms' lineup for a game against the Laval Rocket. On the bright side, Allison celebrated his return with a three-point game (1g, 2a). Unfortunately, Allison got nicked up even in this game.
Early in the first period, Allison dove for a puck near Laval net, Allison suffered a scapel-like skate cut to his right wrist and left the game for the rest of the first period to get repairs. This time, however, Allison was able to return to the game and ended up having a big night.
With the score knotted at 3-3 in the third period, Allison scored a power play goal that proved to be the game-winner. From his favorite shooting spot near the left faceoff dot, Allison ripped home a shot to put the Phantoms ahead to stay.
Even so, the cut was serious enough to keep Allison out for the rest of the week. He missed a game against the Hartford Wolf Pack and then returned on March 18 against Springfield. One day later, Allison posted his best statistical game of the season, scoring twice and assisting on two additional Phantoms goals for four points in a 7-4 victory.
On April 3, Allison had to leave a game in Bridgeport after the first period due to back spasms. He missed the next game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Thankfully, this was the final game Allison missed during the season. He dressed in all 12 of Lehigh Valley's remaining games.
On the negative side, Allison struggled mightily down the stretch drive. Once the usual first-game-back adrenaline rush wore off (one goal, one assist, four shots on goal on April 8 against Hershey), Allison scuffled the rest of the way.
After all the time he'd missed due to injury-related interruptions to his season, Allison struggled with his stamina, timing and confidence. He wasn't winning nearly as many puck battles on the forecheck as normal and he also wasn't finding open shooting lanes with the same regularity. Over the final 11 games, Allison posted only a single point (1g, 0a).
Overall, Allison dressed in 28 games this season for the Phantoms, posting 10 goals, 17 points and four penalty minutes. At least he finished the season healthy.
2) Flyers Fantasy Camp 2022: The 8th annual Flyers Alumni's annual Fantasy Camp is right around the corner. For the eighth straight year, all 64 registration slots are sold out. This year's camp will once again be held at the Class of 1923 Arena on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. Campers will stay at the Study Hotel in University City. The festivities start on Aug. 19 and the championship games will be played on Aug. 22.
Mark Howe and Mike Knuble will serve as the coaches of Team River Rock Academy (orange jerseys). Mark Recchi, Keith Jones and Joe Watson will coach Team Toyota (camo jerseys). Danny Briere and Dave Brown are coaching Team Yuengling (black jerseys). Bill Barber, Dave Poulin and Brad Marsh will coach Team KLYR (white jerseys).
The majority of participating players live in the Delaware Valley but there are registrants from across North America, including some from as far away as Alberta. The four team rosters are embedded below.
I will be creating a day-by-day journal of this year's camp, which will be published on the Alumni's official website, FlyersAlumni.net
3) Today in Flyers History: August 6, 1996
After being away from the Flyers organization since he was dismissed as head coach 24 games into the 1991-92 season, Paul Holmgren returned on August 6, 1997, as the organization's director of pro scouting.
He subsequently went on to become director of player personnel (1997-98 to 1998-99), assistant general manager under Bob Clarke (1999-2000 to early in the 2006-07 season), general manager (2006-07 to 2013-14) and team president (2014-15 to 2018-19). In semi-retirement since then, he has served as a senior advisor to general manager Chuck Fletcher.
In his pre-GM capacities, Holmgren was instrumental in overseeing scouting and drafting operations for the Flyers. Clarke was a strong believer in delegating those tasks. He placed a lot of trust in his staff to properly handle the amateur scouting side including going with their consensus on first-round Draft picks. Thus, it's fair to give as much credit to Holmgren as to Clarke for the Flyers selection decisions on Draft prospects such Simon Gagne, Justin Williams, Patrick Sharp (Simon Nolet strongly influenced this particular selection in the 2001 third round), Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Claude Giroux.