Bill Meltzer: Flyers Preseason Game Day: 9/25/14 vs. NJ; Roster Cuts and Quick Hits

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PRESEASON GAMEDAY: FLYERS VS. DEVILS

The Philadelphia Flyers’ roster is back in one place again after playing split-squad games earlier in the week and taking an off day yesterday. Tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo Center marks the start of an extremely busy stretch of preseason matches for the Flyers.

Game time tonight is 7:00 p.m.

EDT. The game will be televised locally on TCN Philadelphia.

On Monday, the Flyers erased an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the Washington Capitals by a 5-4 score in regulation in a split-squad game game in Philadelphia. Simultaneously in London, Ont., the other half of the Flyers split squad built a 2-0 lead against the Toronto Maple Leafs only to lose 3-2 via shootout.

The following night, the Flyers dressed virtually the same lineup as the London game for a rematch with the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. With many of their top regulars in the lineup for the game, the Leafs had little trouble dispatching what was largely the Flyers “B” squad by a 4-0 score. Toronto poured on three goals — nearly four — in the final period to turn the game into a blowout.

Earlier this week, Flyers head coach Craig Berube said that he hopes to dress something fairly close to his regular lineup for tonight’s game against the Devils. The only two incumbent Flyers’ regulars who have yet to play in the preseason are center Claude Giroux and defenseman Nicklas Grossmann.

Team captain Giroux is out for approximately two weeks from last Friday with a lower body injury sustained on the first day of training camp. Grossmann, who had surgery in the spring to repair torn ankle tendons, is expected to play tonight.

Additionally, center Ryan White (a free agent signing over the summer) is out for the duration of training camp after undergoing pre-camp surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. The rest of the roster is available to play with the exceptions of long-term injured reserve bound defensemen Kimmo Timonen (blood clots) and Chris Pronger (post-concussion syndrome).

Today’s blog will be updated when line combinations for tonight’s game are available.

After tonight, the Flyers will practice tomorrow at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ. Thereafter, they will have games on four straight nights.

On Saturday, some Flyers players will participate in a mixed-roster game with Lehigh Valley Phantoms players at the new PPL Center in Allentown, PA. On Sunday, the Flyers have a road game against the Devils in Newark. On Monday, the Flyers travel to Madison Square Garden to take on the Rangers. The following night, the Rangers come to Philly.

********** FLYERS MAKE 22 ROSTER CUTS

The Flyers trimmed their preseason roster by 22 players yesterday. None of the cuts were surprising. Three players selected in the 2014 NHL Draft were returned to their junior teams. The remainder are pro players who were assigned to the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Travis Sanheim, the Flyers’ first-round pick in the 2014 Draft, and sixth-round selection Radel Fazleev were returned to the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. Second-round pick Nicolas Aube-Kubel was sent back to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Val-d’Or Foreurs.

Sanheim, a defenseman, and winger Aube-Kubel both had tremendous first NHL camps, showing excellent speed, poise with the puck and high-end overall upsides. The extremely likable Fazleev, a center, also showed promise for the future with good two-way awareness and a deft passing touch.

The Flyers assigned 19 players to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ training camp. It is worth noting that, even when a player is officially loaned to the farm team, he can still dress for an NHL preseason game at the direction of the parent club.

The AHL-designated players were as follows: Brandon Alderson (RW), Mark Alt (D), Nick Cousins (C), Steven Delisle (D), Brett Flemming (D), Austin Fyten (LW), Kevin Goumas (C), Robert Hägg (D), Matt Hatch (LW), Brett Hextall (LW), Andrew Johnston (C/W), Connor Knapp (G), Maxim Lamarche (D), Derek Mathers (RW), Marcel Noebels (LW), Martin Ouellette (G), Jesper Pettersson (D), Anthony Stolarz (G), and Petr Straka (LW).

Potential Phantoms players who remain in the Flyers’ NHL camp include 2012 first-round pick Scott Laughton (C), veteran forwards Darroll Powe, Blair Jones, Andrew Gordon and Chris VandeVelde, rookie offensive defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, defenseman Brandon Manning, tough guy forward Zack Stortini and veteran goaltender Rob Zepp.

Samuel Morin, the Flyers’ 2013 first-round pick, also remains in the club’s NHL camp. The 19-year-old Morin is not yet eligible to play. If and when he gets cut from the Flyers’ NHL roster, he will return to the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic.

********** QUICK HITS: SEPTEMBER 25

* The Calgary Hitmen return to Western Hockey League regular season action tomorrow night against the Medicine Hat Tigers. Sanheim and Fazleev may be available for the Hitmen in the game.

* The Val-d’Or Foreurs, Aube-Kubel’s team, are in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League regular season action tonight against the Victoriaville Tigers. Before leaving for the Flyers training camp, Aube-Kubel scored two goals in the Foreurs’ regular season opener after racking up six goals and seven points in four preseason matches.

* Brynäs IF Gävle, featuring Flyers 2014 fifth-round pick Oskar Lindblom, returns to Swedish Hockey League action tomorrow with a road game against Skellefteå AIK. Lindblom, who is skating on BIF’s fourth line but has seen increased ice time the last few games, has one goal in his first four matches this season.

* Avangard Omsk, featuring Flyers 2012 seventh-round pick Valeri Vasilev and former Flyers defenseman Erik Gustafsson, is off to 6-1-2 start in the Kontinental Hockey League regular season. Defenseman Vasiliev has dressed in six of the nine games thus far, averaging 10:35 of ice time. He had zero points and nine penalty minutes (including a fighting major). Gustafsson, who is Avangard’s number one defenseman, is fifth in ice time in the KHL with an average 25:30 per game. Gustafsson has one goal and four assists to date.

This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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