Flyers looking for defensive gems in development camp

Last year's first round pick, the gigantic 6-foot-7 Samuel Morin, is getting closer and closer to making the Flyers roster. Credit: Getty Images
Last year’s first round pick, the gigantic 6-foot-7 Samuel Morin, is getting closer and closer to making the Flyers roster. Credit: Getty Images

Who will it be? And when?

That’s the underlying story behind the Flyers Development Camp, where Philadelphia’s NHL hopefuls have gathered this past weekend for a crash course on how to get — and stay — at the next level. Of particular interest is the logjam of defensemen the Flyers have been stockpiling through the draft the past few years — Shayne Gostisbehere, Samuel Morin, Robert Hagg, Mark Alt and most recently first and third round picks Travis Sanheim and Mark Friedman.

New GM Ron Hextall and coach Craig Berube are crossing their fingers at least a couple of them have what it ultimately takes to make the grade. Just don’t hold your breath expecting it to happen soon. For one thing the Flyers have a staggering $30.04 million — nearly half their $69 salary cap allotment — committed to returning defensemen Mark Streit ($5,25 million), Andrew MacDonald ($5 million), Braydon Coburn ($4.5 million), Luke Schenn ($3.6 million), Niklas Grossmann ($3.5 million), Kimmo Timonen ($2 million) and newcomer Nick Schultz ($1.25 million).

Plus, there’s Chris Pronger’s annual $4.9 million which doesn’t come off the cap until after the first day of the season when he goes on long-term injury, while they retain the rights to Erik Gustafsson, who’ll play in the KHL this season.

Of that group all but Timonen and Schultz are locked in for the following season, too, which — barring trades —doesn’t leave much room for the kids to crack the lineup. That’s assuming they’re good enough, of course. And keep in mind the last home grown defenseman to play regularly for the orange and black was Chris Therien in 2004.

“Making the team going into training camp, that’s everybody’s goal,” said Gostisbehere, the star of Union’s NCAA champions, who won the title on the same Wells Fargo Center ice he hopes to eventually call home. “But if that’s not in my future for right now, that’s fine. I’ll be in the AHL and it will be fun.”

On the other hand the 6-foot-7 Morin, last year’s No. 1 pick, sees no reason he can’t break through now.

“If I have a good camp, we’ll see,” said the just-turned 19-year-old Morin, who racked up 117 penalty minutes in just 46 games this year in Juniors “I live in the present. Right now I’m in development camp after my Team Canada camp. For sure, I think I’ll have my chance.”

But with so many holdovers clogging the lineup, the likelihood is Sixers fans will see Joel Embiid and even Dario Saric play before Flyers fans get to see wholesale changes on the defense. Perhaps one day, though, the kids will grow up and begin to make their mark.

“In three to four years, maybe all of us are up at the NHL level,” predicted the 19-year-old Swede Hagg, who expects to learn more playing for the AHL Phantoms than if he went back home. “It would be really fun if me, Ghost (Gostisbehere), Morin and Sanheim could be a top four in the Flyers in four years.”

From his lips to Ron Hextall’s and Craig Berube’s ears, the Flyers can only dream of that day.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Protesters say new Met Opera is anti-Semitic

Protesters, including a former mayor and governor, gathered outside of the Metropolitan Opera on Monday afternoon to protest the opening of “The Death of Klinghoffer.”

Local

Brooklyn girl's death ruled a homicide

The New York City Medical Examiner has ruled the death of a Brooklyn toddler a homicide. Jeida Torres, 3, was found bruised and unresponsive Saturday…

Local

New York City continues to prepare for Ebola…

New York City continues to prepare for the possibility of Ebola. There have been numerous scares, but no confirmed cases. Representatives from about 150 unions…

Local

NYPD nabs alleged serial bank robber

  The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for multiple Manhattan bank robberies this month. Police have arrested a Brooklyn man they…

Entertainment

We the Economy: Morgan Spurlock's new crusade

If Morgan Spurlock gets his way, you won't be able to avoid We the Economy, the series of 20 shorts films curated by the "Super…

Arts

3 Parody plays lampoon your childhood, adulthood and…

Whether you loved the source material or you're going in blind, these parody plays have something for every audience member. We rate three of NYC's hottest satirical shows.

Gossip

Who has more power: Harry Styles or Amal…

Amal Clooney comes in fourth on The Evening Standard's Most Influential Londoners list.

Music

#AskPaul McCartney reveals his love of American pop…

For an Englishman, Paul McCartney's pop culture tastes would fit right in stateside. The former Beatle (@PaulMcCartney) revealed that he has a real thing for…

NFL

John Idzik: 'We did a ton of background'…

Given John Idzik spent the previous five years with the Seahawks before he joined the Jets last January, there is a comfort level for the organization.

NFL

Jets add sizzle to struggling passing game with…

The Jets’ trade for Percy Harvin may have an air of desperation on the surface, but at 1-6 this season is hanging only by a thread.

NFL

Jason Pierre-Paul: 'We've got to regroup' during bye…

“We’ve got to regroup and figure out what went wrong,” said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. “When we come back, we want to be a great team.”

NFL

Breno Giacomini: Media blowing up Golden Tate-Percy Harvin…

According to Breno Giacomini, the fight between Golden Tate and Percy Harvin during Super Bowl week was over by the time the lineman turned around.

Education

Is a 'gap year' after high school for…

It’s a familiar script that millions of students follow each year: Graduate high school and then immediately start college. But more and more students are…

Parenting

New news about Kate Middleton's pregnancy

The Palace released a statement about Kate Middleton's pregnancy.

Parenting

Cool book for kids: 'The Princess In Black'

"The Princess In Black" will change the way girls view princesses.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…