Quick Hits: August 8, 2018
1) Keith Jones was the special guest of Chris Therien and yours truly on the new edition of the "Real Deal Hockey with Bundy and Bill" podcast. We covered a wide array of topics on the 23-minute program.
Jonesy provided his insights on the Flyers' offseason, what he expects from Travis Sanheim and Robert Hägg and his assessments of their rookie seasons, how he feels the Flyers stack up against the rest of the Metro Division, whether he feels Toronto's addition of John Tavares makes the team a favorite over Tampa Bay and Boston in the Atlantic, whether the Vegas Golden Knights can continue the magic of their inaugural season, Jonesy's sleeper teams for 2018-19 and his early favorite for the Calder Trophy.
To listen, click here
2) Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren issued a statement on Tuesday following the passing of the legendary Stan Mikita.
"The Philadelphia Flyers join the Chicago Blackhawks in mourning the loss of Stan Mikita. What made Stan truly unique was his high level of skill combined with an intense and competitive spirit which he brought on the ice throughout his career. A member of the Hall of Fame and a Stanley Cup Champion, he will forever be a legend in the game of hockey. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his wife Jill and the entire Mikita family," Holmgren said.
3) Being held for the first time in Canada and newly redubbed the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, the annual preseason under-18 tournament is the beginning of the "scouting season" that ends the following June during NHL Draft weekend. Flyers general manager Ron Hextall, assistant general manager Chris Pryor as well as Flyers amateur scouts are in Red Deer and Edmonton, Alberta for the ongoing 2018 tournament.
Yesterday in Red Deer, Team USA routed Finland, 6-2. Two goals by the Americans in a 17-second span in the third period put the U.S. in firm control of what had been a 3-2 game. Forward Luke Toporowski (Spokane Chiefs, WHL) racked up two goals and an assist. Team USA goaltender Dustin Wolf, who will take over this season as the starting goalie for the WHL's Everett Silvertips now that Carter Hart has graduated to the pro level, made 29 saves including a penalty shot stop. The Americans blanked the Czech Republic, 6-0, on Monday. Up next is a meeting with Russia (2-0-0).
In Edmonton, Canada improved to 2-0-0, with a 4-2 win over Slovakia following a 10-0 blowout of Switzerland in the opener. Goals by Team Canada captain Alexis Lafreniere (Rimouski Oceanic, QMJHL), Graeme Clarke (Ottawa 67's, OHL), Josh Williams (Medicine Hat Tigers, WHL) and Dylan Holloway (Okotoks Oilers, AJHL) paced the Canadians. Lafreniere has four points in two games, as do forwards Peyton Krebs (Kootenay Ice, WHL) and Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts, OHL) as well as defenseman Justin Barron (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL). Lafreniere is the current favorite to be selected first overall in the 2020 NHL Draft.
In other second-day action, Sweden down Slovakia, 4-2, and improved to 2-0-0. Frölunda forward Lucas Raymond (who isn't NHL Draft-eligible until 2020) has scored three goals in the first two games, and AIK defenseman Philip Broberg has also impressed. Other players of interest to NHL scouts include righthanded puck-moving defenseman Viktor Söderström, Djurgården forward Albin Grewe and Djurgården defenseman Tobias Björnfot as well as Luleå goaltender Jesper Wallstedt. Size is still intriguing to NHL scouts, so there are watchful eyes on 6-foot-5 Frölunda center Elmer Söderblom and 6-foot-6 HV71 forward Jacob Grönhagen.
4) Flyers Alumni birthday: University of Minnesota Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin, a former defenseman for the Hershey Bears and Flyers (15 games in 1990-91), was born on Aug. 8, 1964 in Hibbing, Minnesota. Current Flyers forward prospect Noah Cates will be a freshman at Minnesota Duluth in 2018-19.