From Monday to Tuesday, the Flyers roster went from 51 to 42 players. From Tuesday to Wednesday, the roster will undergo an even greater transformation as it drops from 42 to around 24.
The Flyers have played back-to-back games against the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders. With those games over and another pre-season game to play, coach Alain Vigneault wanted the roster to get as close as possible to opening night form.
Ahead of Tuesday’s game, Vigneault said he hoped he and his staff wouldn’t have to make the decisions themselves.
“The players usually do them for us by the way they play,” he said. “So whoever catches our attention with their performance, whether positively or negatively, makes the decisions for us. “
A group of Flyers comprised mostly of prospects faced a veteran-laden Islander team and lost 3-0 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. But there were still some winners – the individual Flyers who showed they deserve a spot on the list.
“I’m obviously going to sit down with Chuck and his team and see what they see from above,” said Vigneault. “We see it from the ice level. But there are definitely some decisions we need to make moving forward.
For the first time since joining the Flyers and starting training camp, Adam Clendening and Nick Seeler played together, forming the third defensive pair. With little time to build up the chemistry, Seeler said he didn’t know much about Clendening’s playstyle, but he hoped they “would feed off each other well.”
While they played as teammates, seeking to help the Flyers win, they also played as competitors. As Vigneault reduces his roster, the two new Flyers are the main names in the conversation for the seventh defenseman position. The two bring different attributes to the job.
“Seeler is a bit better skater,” said Vigneault. “It seems to be a little more physical. Adam is a bit more of a puck passer. So we’ll see how it works out.
Both players fired a shot. Seeler also blocked a shot, while Clendening showed some growl in a particular melee. Clendening said Seeler was an “easy dude to skate with” and felt they both played solid.
Clendening also has a previous relationship with Vigneault since playing for the Rangers. He felt that it had “gone quite well” and he showed that he had become more balanced since then.
While Vigneault remained coy after the game about who has the advantage in this battle, Seeler and Clendening hope they have made a lasting impression at Bridgeport.
“They were both playing hard,” said Vigneault. “It was a physical game there. You had to pay a price to play and you had to move your feet. I thought these two guys did this tonight.
Connor Bunnaman was not impressed with his own performance at this training camp. He looks for more consistency and more confidence as he tries to show his versatility. Nonetheless, his name is in the conversation for the 13th forward, according to Vigneault.
“We have a few different options that we’re looking at here right now,” Vigneault said.
Bunnaman got the chance to play alongside Nic Dawn-Kubel and Nate Thompson, two guys he said he had good chemistry with on and off the ice, as he tried to prove he was was the player on the bubble who should win the final. place the list. However, Bunnaman finished a minus-1 and did not attempt a shot on goal.
Thompson said he believes Bunnaman is “pretty solid”, bringing energy and creating chances for his teammates. He described him as a “player of the north and south” who can make a forward check and protect the pucks.
Bunnaman, however, is far from the only striker to have made an impact.
After a training camp where he was locked up with Cam Atkinson and Oskar Lindblom, Derick Brassard found himself between two new faces on Tuesday. The team delegated a number of veterans to play each night while Vigneault experimented with combinations and evaluated the players.
As a result, Armband’s line changed, even throughout the game itself. He started the night playing between Scott Laughton and Tyson Foerster before Vigneault moved Gerry Mayhew and passed Foerster to a line with Isaac Ratcliffe and Cal O’Reilly. Vigneault also alternated Bunnaman and Garrett Wilson between veterans Thompson and Aube-Kubel. Bunnaman played with Linus Sandin and German Rubtsov when he was not with the veterans.
Vigneault said he initially decided to move Wilson because he “thought he was skating well” and wanted to see him with a “big, big line”. He also liked Mayhew’s game, so he made a change. Vigneault said there were “a few guys” competing for that last forward position, but didn’t say who.
Defensive pairs have remained consistent against the shifting front lines.
By Thursday, Vigneault’s thoughts on his experiences will be revealed when the list is reduced to 24 or 22 people.
The Flyers have a day off after the two back-to-back games. They will be back in action on Friday when they play their final preseason game, a 7 p.m. game against the Washington Capitals. It will be held at the Capital One Arena and will air on NHLN and NBCSP.