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September 15, 2015

Four takeaways from Day 2 of Flyers rookie camp

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As we were promised, the competition was taken up a notch on the second day of rookie camp at Skate Zone in Voorhees. While many of the Flyers’ vets worked out on the main rink, the team’s top prospects were put through their paces. Ron Hextall wouldn’t single out one standout player afterward, but he found the practice’s energy level to his liking.

“I thought the pace was great,” Hextall said. “I thought the battle level was high. Young players are coming in and they’re learning our expectations in terms of the battle level, pace, and work ethic.”

Here are five takeaways from the day’s action:

1. It’s not hard to tell who the best defenseman is

With all due respect to Hextall, one player does stand out from the rest. In pretty much every drill that the coaches threw at him, Ivan Provorov looked very solid. Sure, the 2015 first-round pick isn’t playing against NHL-caliber competition yet, but he possesses an active stick, was almost always in the right position, and is surprisingly strong for his size.

“All the forwards are really good here, so take away time and space, use my long stick, skating ability, gap, and play physical when I can,” Provorov said.

Provorov said that he personally won’t know if he’s ready to play in the NHL this season until he gets a couple of preseason games under his belt. The Flyers very well might send him back to junior hockey for another season, but from here, Provorov certainly looks to be the most complete of the young defenseman.

2. Best shape of his life

In every sport, training camp is time for players to talk about what great physical condition they are currently in. The Flyers are no different. According to Hextall, Shayne Gostisbehere is skating well after toning down his body fat in the summer.

Now 100 percent healthy after an injury-plagued season (according to him, that is), Ghost says he’s up to 185 pounds after weighing in between 170 and 175 at this time last year.

“I got here for development camp and realized I needed to do something in the next month,” Gostisbehere said. “I really beared down in training, eating well, and treating the body well. It worked out for me, got [my body fat] down and I’m at a good skating weight.”

3. Ghost and Morin

Gostisbehere has been working with Samuel Morin for most of camp, and that is a pair we will likely see at Lehigh Valley this season. Ghost had a pretty good answer about how he sees their playing styles meshing:

4. Staying in shape

Over the past couple of days, a lot has been made of the Boston Bruins’ three first-round picks failing their conditioning test. While Hextall made clear that coming into camp out of shape isn’t acceptable, he did say that expectations for 18-year-olds often are often different than 22-year-olds. To Hextall, the progress that players make in between those ages is more important.

“If we look at our situations when young guys come in, it’s a learning process,” Hextall said. “Is it acceptable? Not really, but on the other hand you understand that kids come into development camp. We try to set the expectations here. That’s part of the whole deal is when you come to training camp, this is what you’re going to do. These are our expectations.”

Since he took over as general manager, Hextall has generally preached patience with younger players. The idea of a teaching moment falls in line with that message:

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann