ALLENTOWN – Longtime followers of the Flyers always will have a soft spot in their hearts for a player like defenseman Adam Ginning.
Why? Because he conjures up images of backliners such as Andre “Moose’’ Dupont and Ed Van Impe from a bygone Broad Street Bullies era.
As much as the game of hockey has moved toward speed and finesse in recent years, there’s still room for the train-wreck hit or the rock-‘em-sock-‘em fisticuffs that never fail to get fans out of their seats.
Ginning, a Philadelphia rookie, showed why he’s going to be a fan favorite someday as he got into a nice free-swinging exchange with New York Ranger freshman Jayden Grubbe in the Flyers’ 2-1 win on Friday night at the PPL Center.
“We were going back and forth,’’ said Ginning, a second-round (50th) overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. “He dropped his gloves. I haven’t had that many fights in my career. Maybe I didn’t look too good but I tried to make the best of it.’’
The 22-year-old native of Linkoping, Sweden stayed home and played in the Sweden Hockey League last season but most likely will compete for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms this year.
“It really feels right to come here now,’’ the 6-foot-4, 205-pound player said. “I’m very excited to start the season.’’
Phantoms head coach Ian Laperriere could use some of Ginning’s physical presence on his roster.
He also likes what he’s seen from Ginning’s countryman, Ollie Lycksell, who scored the other goal for the Flyers on Friday night. Like Ginning, Lycksell is getting his first taste of North American hockey.
“They’re pros already,’’ Laperriere said.
Lycksell has been working on his strength and gaining some extra pounds for his 176-pound frame. That weight might cut it on the bigger rinks in Europe but not so much on the smaller ice surfaces in Canada and the U.S.
“It (strength/weight) might be my biggest weakness,’’ he said. “Get some more pounds on my body, trying to protect the puck more and play a more physical game. That’s been my goal for the summer.’’
Right now it’s a bit of a feeling-out process for both young players.
“I really don’t know what to expect for this camp,’’ the 23-year-old Lycksell said. “This is my first year over here. I’m just trying to do the best I can and get as far as possible.’’
He posted 14 goals/34 points in 47 games so clearly he’s starting to come into his own.
“I got some great confidence,’’ he said. “I had a nice playoff and I’m trying to build off that.’’