The Flyers are down to two exhibition games and a handful of decisions.
The role of sixth defenseman, for instance. Phil Myers’ grip on the job coming into camp is a little tenuous entering Thursday night’s game at the Rangers.
“Right now, the way Myers has played, he’s not a shoo-in,” coach Alain Vigneault said pointedly. “He can play better than he has. I think he’s been a little bit nervous, wants to do a little bit too much on the ice.”
Robert Hagg and Samuel Morin also are in the mix for what figures to be a revolving position. Myers is 22. Hagg and Morin are 24.
“We’re spending a lot of time with him off the ice showing him different clips and different areas where he can be [more effective],” Vigneault continued. “At the end of the day, he’s played 20-something games. He’s a young player. He’s going to learn. He’s going to get better.”
Up front, a hole has been created by center Nolan Patrick’s continued absence with an upper-body injury. It doesn’t appear as if he will make the trip to Europe on Friday for Monday’s exhibition finale in Switzerland.
Connor Bunnaman probably isn’t a top-9 forward, but he is making a push to be anchor the fourth line. Bunnaman played 62 games for the Phantoms last season, including 20 or so at center.
“I talked to [Phantoms coach] Scott Gordon about him,” Vigneault said. “He has a big body and sort of took off last year when they played him in the middle. Came to camp here in great shape. Has skated extremely well, extremely well. He’s really impressed us, really got our attention.”
Bunnaman had 19 goals for Lehigh Valley last season and scored Monday night when his pass deflected off a Boston player’s stick. He’s played well this preseason.
“We’re going to try him in the middle and see what the kid does,” Vigneault said.
The Flyers’ first regular-season game will be a week from Friday against Chicago in Prague, Czech Republic.
He just needs to hit someone
Tyler Pitlick put in a full practice Wednesday though he was not permitted to engage in contact as he makes his way back from left wrist surgery. His next medical evaluation will be Friday. Pitlick will be making the trip to Europe, which he says will be beneficial even if he doesn’t get to play.
“New team, new set of guys, you want to be with them and get to know them,” said Pitlick, who was acquired by the Flyers in June. “I’ve been doing my best to be around them. But for the most part, I’ve been at my own pace doing treatment and skating on my own.”
Pitlick had a career-high 14 goals in 2017-18 when he played in a career-high 80 games for the Dallas Stars and thinks he can give the Flyers similar production.
“I’m sure they’re wondering what they’re going to get out of me,” he said. “Once I feel like the wrist is 100 percent and I can go out there and hit someone, I think they’re going to like that even more.
Vigneault did not have an update on Patrick. … Morgan Frost (groin) skated for half of Wednesday’s 90-minute practice, including full-ice 2-on-1 drills. … The four players cut Tuesday who needed to clear waivers — Andy Andreoff, Chris Bigras, Kurtis Gabriel, and Nicolas Aube-Kubel — did so and have joined the Phantoms. ... Carter Hart will play Thursday’s exhibition game. Vignault has not decided who the goaltender will be on Monday. The team is taking three goalies to Europe: Hart, Brian Elliott and Alex Lyon.