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September 22, 2023

Flyers training camp observations: Tyson Foerster, Owen Tippett pick up where they left off

Owen Tippett and Tyson Foerster continue to look like important pieces to the Flyers' offense.

After head coach John Tortorella had the Flyers skate themselves into the ground to open training camp on Thursday, everyone was back out there on Friday with their legs still attached and ready to move into puck possession drills and a round of scrimmages – with teams divided up into Orange, White, and Black.

Here's a list of observations from Day 2 over at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees:

The good

• A minute into the day's first scrimmage, Tyson Foerster caught the puck in the high slot and fired a shot that absolutely no one was ready for to notch camp's opening goal. Skating on a line with Scott Laughton and Noah Cates for Team Orange, Foerster was active up and down the ice and always seemed to be around the puck, a lot like how he was upon his call-ups in the back half of last season. He also caught Travis Konecny in the open ice on a collision after the two had a run-in behind the net earlier in the session. Konecny was all about it. 

"It's a guy trying to make the team, so fair game out there," Konecny said. 

"You can tell he's done a lot of work. He looks great."

• Likewise, Owen Tippett was everywhere too, and was ready to fire every time he had the puck in the offensive zone. More often than not, he had the space too, and buried one of those shots into the back of the net for Team Black. His breakthrough last season was huge for the Flyers' offensive production, which struggled a good bit to generate any, so if he has more to unlock, the Flyers will definitely be all for it. 

Bobby Brink had a goal and an assist for Team Orange in the first scrimmage. He spent most of last season working himself back up from hip surgery with the Phantoms and could be building toward becoming an effective winger now, though a spot for him on the NHL roster might not be there out of the gate. 

• First-round pick Oliver Bonk was thrown out there and held his own defensively. On a pairing with Marc Staal for Team Orange, he moved well along the offensive blue line and generally kept anything bad from happening while in his own zone. He definitely reads and anticipates what is happening in front of him and where the play is going well. 

Adam Ginning also looked good out there as a defenseman for Team Orange, displaying solid gap control that took away offensive options for the other two groups. 

Nic Deslauriers with the silky hands for Team White: 

Potted the empty-netter in the second scrimmage too. 

• Defensive prospect Emil Andrae is pretty decisive with the puck and helped keep the cycle running on a possession that ended in a Zayde Wisdom goal for Team Black. Standing from the half-boards, Andrae slipped back out over the top of the left faceoff circle and took the shot from out wide that rang off the goalie's pad and fell right to where Wisdom could grab it to put it home. 

The 21-year old defenseman is one of the prospects pushing for a roster spot in camp, and with Tortorella admitting Thursday that the Flyers are going to have a younger blue line, he could very well be on his way to it if things keep up. 

The bad

• In the second scrimmage, Foerster came driving down the ice with the puck and made a slick move to the inside, but in the process, he lost his balance and went crashing into the boards. He was slow to get up, and while trying to skate to the nearest bench to get off the ice, he dropped down to a knee and threw his glove off with his right arm dangling. When he did finally step off the ice, he got looked at by trainers for a good bit, but ultimately went back to his team's bench then got right back out there for a next shift. Maybe the crash just looked scarier than it was.

• Fifth-round pick Carter Sotheran clearly has talent, but he doesn't fully know what to do with it yet back on the blue line. He's only 18, so he'll have plenty of time to figure it out, but on Friday, well, that might've been a bit of a rude awakening, especially after Garnet Hathaway lit him up while trying to break the puck out. 

Wade Allison was skating for Team White on a line with Tanner Laczynski and Jonathan Fauchon, neither of who is close to the NHL picture right now. Allison skates like a heat-seeking missile and plays a hard-nosed style that the Flyers do admire, the problem is, that same style often leaves him injured and unavailable. Tortorella said Friday that he does believe Allison improved toward the end of last season and over the summer, but when it comes to a spot on the roster, he is in a dogfight for one. 

The skeptical

• The pucks were finally out on Friday and that helped us get a slightly better look at where Sean Couturier is really at. During the morning practice session – and just like during the conditioning skate on Thursday – his straight-away stride looked smooth and powerful. But as the practice moved into drills and one-on-one battles that called for contact and quick, frequent cuts, you could tell it's been a year and a half for him. Granted, a lot of the skaters were worn down by the end of that practice, so maybe it can just be chalked up to the grind of a Tortorella training camp. 

Couturier held up in the scrimmage, but didn't do anything super remarkable. 

• 20-year old Finnish prospect Samu Tuomaala can fly around the ice and unleash a wicked wrist shot, which was evident in the morning practice session, but when it came time to scrimmage, he didn't do much that stood out. The tools are there though, it's just how does he fully tap into them during a game scenario

The respectable

• 24-year old Matt Brown has been the hardest-skating guy on the ice so far. The dude wants an NHL contract bad, and you have to respect it.

The laughable

• The power at the Flyers Training Center briefly went out during the scrimmages, but after a quick stop and "OOOOHH!" from everyone, play picked right back up. Puck was still live. 

• Goalies weren't just switching out mid-scrimmage, they switched out mid-play, subbing out with a hard skate and a quick fist bump as soon as the coast was clear. No one – for better or worse – got caught on a horribly-timed turnover.

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