It appears as though I jumped the gun just a little bit. Thanks to a technicality the Flyers have one more spot for a contract.
Normally the limit for players under contract is 50, a ledge the orange and black have been playing dangerously on in recent years to go along with the salary cap drama, but because forward Zac Rinaldo counts as a “slide risk” his contract will not count against the 50 unless he plays more than 11 games with the Flyers. Since the odds of him getting any icetime in the NHL, let alone 12 games, is slim to none the Flyers have one more spot to sneak someone under the contract limit. That’s where this year’s training camp invitees come in.
The biggest name of the invites is easily former 8th overall selection, Mark Bell, who looked to be a solid depth forward until a drunken driving escapade left him with a major debt to society. During Labor Day Weekend in 2006 Bell’s rented Camry rear-ended a stopped pickup truck at over 60mph. A blood test revealed a 0.15 BAC. Bell was suspended for 15 games and had to work in a California jail over the course of a summer.
Prior to the incident Bell was a young, steady 20+ goalscorer for the Chicago Blackhawks. After the incident he faded into relative obscurity scoring only 11 goals with 10 assists in 71 games with the San Jose Sharks in 2006-07. This was a big change from his 25 goals and 23 assists for a 2nd place in scoring on a terrible Blackhawks team the year before. Another change in scenery to the Toronto Maple Leafs for 2007-08 didn’t change anything. In 35 games he scored 4 goals and added 6 assists. Through 2009-10 he started in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies, but when the Leafs tried to call him back up the Rangers grabbed him off of re-entry waivers. He spent the rest of the year in the AHL with the Ranger’s affiliate.
So the real question is whether or not Bell can prove he can return to his former status as a steady 20+ goal forward. If he can prove this in camp there is a contract position waiting for him. According to reports Bell is now completely sober and has not touched alcohol since taking alcoholism courses ordered by the NHL. He’s one tough kid that would look good on the forwards unit if he has his act together.
Along with Mika Pyorala, Krys Kolanos, and Lukas Kaspar, Bell provides a decent low-risk/high-reward possibility. If he gets a contract there’s no question it will be similar to the $0.50m 1 year deals that Kaspar, Kolanos, and Pyorala all received. Like Kolanos and Kaspar, Bell is a former first round selection that has run into some hard times. The Flyers are looking for guys to fill holes on the team roster, and if Bell can prove he’s ready to be an NHL regular again he will only add to the team’s depth.
There are other players competing for a spot though. Along with Bell, 11 other players were invited to tryout with the Flyers starting September 12th. Center Dave Labrecque was selected in 6th round by the Flyers in this past draft out of the QMJHL. He will be attending camp to see if he can earn himself an NHL contract after a breakout season with the Shawinigan Cataractes. An undrafted, defensive-minded forward, Tomas Sinisalo, was also invited to attend camp after spending a number of years in Finland’s SM-Liiga. A left wing also out of the QMJHL, Mike Thomas, rounds out the forwards invited to try out for the orange and black.
Defenseman Tyler Hostetter out of the OHL will also be trying out for the Flyers as well as Brennan Yadlowski out of the WHL. Blueliner Logan Stephenson was invited to try out for the orange and black as a former 2nd round pick by Phoenix in the 2004 draft. Last season he managed to find his way to three different NHL teams. Originally he was traded as a Coyotes’ prospect to the Ducks’ organization and then again to the Blackhawks. He is still relatively young and has good NHL size for a defenseman, but he will have to perform well in order to find a contract on a deep AHL defense that the Phantoms have. Another player looking for a roster is 2009 6th round draft pick, Eric Wellwood. While drafted as a forward out of the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL, Wellwood, a defensively-responsible skater, has been moved to defense for camp according the Flyers’ camp roster.
As well as those three, defenseman David Sloane was invited to camp. Some people may remember him as the defenseman the Flyers signed right out of college to basically sit on the bench for the majority of an NHL game thanks to cap mismanagement after Briere’s return to the lineup. Sloane recently received a contract to play with the Phantoms only but could still end up getting a contract with the Flyers. At 6’4, 220 lbs. out of Colgate University he offers a bit of size as a possible future NHLer.
Another 2009 Flyers’ draftee who recently earned himself a contract with the Phantoms was Nicola Riopel. After an unbelievable season in the QMJHL showed Riopel to be a potential late-bloomer between the pipes, the small Moncton Wildcats star is looking to make an impact on the Phantoms and work his way to the NHL. Goaltender Jacob DeSerres from the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL looked promising when drafted in 2008 but during his 2008-09 season, his final in the WHL, he watched his stats plummet. He will be looking for a contract from the Flyers as well as Adam Morrison, another WHL goalie from the Saskatoon Blades, who was taken by the Flyers in the 3rd round back in June.
That takes care of all 12 invitees to Flyers camp. There are also 47 contracted players waiting to take the ice.
COMPLETE CAMP LIST
- Bold denotes player with a chance of making the team.
- Italics denotes a player trying to get an NHL contract.
FORWARDS – Arron Asham, Josh Beaulieu, Mark Bell, Rob Bellamy, Danny Briere, Dan Carcillo, Jeff Carter, Matt Clackson, Riley Cote, Ryan Dingle, Simon Gagne, Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Jon Kalinski, Lukas Kaspar, Garrett Klotz, Krystofer Kolanos, David Labrecque, David Laliberte, Ian Laperriere, Patrick Maroon, Jon Matsumoto, Andreas Nodl, Darroll Powe, Mika Pyorala, Mike Richards, Zac Rinaldo, Jared Ross, Tomas Sinisalo, Mike Thomas, Jason Ward, James van Riemsdyk.
DEFENSEMEN - Oskars Bartulis, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn, Sean Curry, Tyler Hostetter, Randy Jones, Joonas Lehtivuori, Kevin Marshall, Joey Mormina, Ryan Parent, Chris Pronger, Michael Ratchuk, David Sloane, Logan Stephenson, Danny Syvret, Kimmo Timonen, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, Eric Wellwood, Brennan Yadlowski.
GOALIES - Johan Backlund, Brian Boucher, Jacob DeSerres, Ray Emery, Adam Morrison, Nic Riopel, Michael Teslak.
PLAYERS WITH CONTRACTS NOT PARTICIPATING:
- Jeremy Duchense (G)
- Patrik Hersley (D)
- Mike Rathje (D) – indefinite LTIR
September 13 – 9:00 a.m.
September 14 – 9:00 a.m.
September 15 – 9:00 a.m.
September 20 – 9:00 a.m.
September 21 – 10:30 a.m.
September 22 – 10:15 a.m.
September 23 – 10:30 a.m.
September 24 – 10:15 a.m.
September 25 – 10:30 a.m.
September 26 – 10:15 a.m.
September 27 – 10:30 a.m.
September 28 – 10:30 a.m.
September 29 – 10:15 a.m.
September 30 – 10:30 a.m.
October 1 – 10:30 a.m.
- Sept. 16th – Philadelphia @ Detroit – Joe Louis Arena – 7:30 PM
- Sept. 17th – Toronto vs. Philadelphia – John Labatt Centre – 7:00 PM
- Sept. 19th – Philadelphia @ Toronto – Air Canada Centre – 7:00 PM
- Sept. 22nd – Detroit @ Philadelphia – Wachovia Center – 7:00 PM
- Sept. 24th – New Jersey @ Philadelphia – Wachovia Center – 7:00 PM
- Sept. 26th – Philadelphia @ New Jersey – Prudential Center – 7:00 PM
- Sept. 29th – Minnesota @ Philadelphia – Wachovia Center – 7:00 PM
Jason Smith Retires
That image alone sums up what Jason Smith was all about. The former Flyers’ captain retired Wednesday morning from the Ottawa Senators. While he didn’t spend much time in the orange and black he was the epitome of Flyers’ hockey. He was the gritty defenseman that led this team, heart and soul, through the 2007-08 postseason. He and Derian Hatcher played through the entire playoffs hurt. Hatcher had knee problems, and Smith had back issues. Now both are retired. While he was let go in order to make way for a younger, faster, and more mobile puck-moving defense he will be remembered in Philadelphia forever as a warrior. Thank you to Jason Smith for the great memories. Article here.
Flyers Top 20 Prospects
The Flyers top 20 prospects are up on HockeysFuture.com, where I write. I did not write this top 20 since I was working on other projects for them at the time, but I was involved in the final rankings. To read the full article go here.
- Claude Giroux (F) – 8.0B
- James van Riemsdyk (F) – 8.0C
- Ryan Parent (D) – 7.0B
- Kevin Marshall (D) – 7.0C
- Patrick Maroon (F) – 7.0C
- Marc-Andre Bourdon (D) – 7.0C
- Andreas Nodl (F) – 6.5C
- Denis Bodrov (D) – 7.0D
- Joonas Lehtivuori (D) – 6.5C
- Joacim Eriksson (G) – 6.5C
- Jonathan Matsumoto (F) – 6.5C
- Michael Ratchuk (D) – 6.0C
- Adam Morrison (G) – 6.5C
- Simon Bertilsson (D) – 6.5C
- Oskars Bartilus (D) – 6.0C
- Nicola Riopel (G) – 6.5D
- Dave Labrecque (F) – 7.0D
- Jon Kalinski (F) – 5.5B
- David Laliberte (F) – 6.0C
- Jacob DeSerres (G) – 6.5D
Flyers add another minor league affiliate in IHL
The Philadelphia Flyers recently announced to the press that they have added another minor league affiliate to go along with the Adirondack Phantoms (AHL) and the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL). The Quad City Mallards are a new team in the International Hockey League (IHL) out of Moline, Illinois. From the official press release:
“On behalf of all of the stakeholders in the Quad City Mallards success – the fans, the sponsors the cities of Bettendorf, Moline, East Moline, Davenport and Rock Island as well as the administration at the i wireless center and of course the entire Mallards organization, we are very proud to announce this relationship,” said QCHT, LLC Managing Member Christopher Lencheski. “To align with the great traditions both on and off the ice that the Philadelphia Flyers have established is an honor for every Mallards fan. Tough, physical hockey is the backbone of the Flyers tradition and it serves us well to emulate their style of play as we hope to emulate their successes.”