VOORHEES – With a new Flyers season just around the corner and a new coaching staff in place, there’s a sense that “anything’s possible’’ permeating the team’s training center.
Rookie camp, which officially opened on Saturday at the Skate Zone, provides some of that optimism.
At least a handful of rookies – led by defenseman Philippe Myers and forwards Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost – figure to have the best shot at cracking this year’s roster.
But cases also could be made for forwards Mikhail Vorobyev, German Rubtsov, Isaac Ratcliffe and Carsen Twarynski.
The Flyers officially open training camp on Friday.
Frost, the 20-year-old 2017 first-round draft pick, looks a little less wide-eyed than he did this time last year.
After failing to make the Flyers last season, he hardly hung his head, going back to Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League and lighting up the junior league for 37 goals and 109 points in 58 games.
At Saturday’s session, Frost was on a line with Farabee and Ratcliffe. Who knows? This could be a Flyers’ line of the future, maybe sooner than later.
“We’re all good friends off the ice, so it helps with the on-ice chemistry,’’ said the 6-foot-0, 180-pound native of Aurora, Ont.
“You’re obviously trying to do stuff to stick out but if we work well together, I think that shows well individually if we play well.’’
Frost said he worked hard on his speed and strength during the summer. On his scouting report, there might have been a question or two about whether he could hold his ground down low against imposing NHL-sized defensemen.
Having been around the varsity team players now for a couple years helps the comfort level.
“The first camp, I didn’t know what to expect and I was really nervous,’’ he said. “By the third year, you know what the grind is going to be like. . .the practices.
“You’re familiar with the staff and a lot of the players here. You’re comfortable going out on the ice and doing your thing.’’
One gets the feeling anything less than making the opening night roster for the Chicago Blackhawk game in Prague, the Czech Republic will be a disappointment for Frost.
“If you don’t have that mindset then you’re doing something wrong,’’ he said. “I think you have to be confident in your abilities. I have to come in here and work as hard as I can and see what happens.’’
Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon, who is overseeing the rookie camp, believes in Frost’s abilities.
“The one thing I liked about today’s forechecking drills was his pace,’’ Gordon said. “It was significantly more than it was last year.
“I think that’s encouraging. He’s so poised with the puck, sometimes you slow the game down. In junior you can get away with it — (in the NHL) the next thing you know you’re going to get chased down from behind by faster players. That’s one thing that I’m going to keep an eye on. Hopefully he can have a training camp here and not have it be an issue. And maybe that ends up being one of the reasons why he ends up playing here.’’