Sometimes, the little trades pay huge dividends.
The Flyers are hoping that’s what happens with the 2020 draft-day deal that general manager Chuck Fletcher made with Nashville. He sent the 202nd and 209th overall picks that year to the Predators for the 135th selection, then drafted relentless forward Elliott Desnoyers in that fifth-round.
So far, so good.
The 5-foot-11, 172-pound left winger, projected to be a third-round selection (89th overall) by McKeen’s Hockey before the draft, improved dramatically last season, attributing it to the work he did the previous summer to get faster. If he keeps progressing, he should help the Flyers down the road.
Desnoyers, a strong two-way player whose nickname is the Destroyer, had offseason hip surgery and was limited at the Flyers’ development camp, which ended Wednesday in Voorhees with a three-on-three tournament. Desnoyers did not play in the tourney, but he expects to be ready when the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s season starts. He excelled in the league last season.
Despite being limited in the development camp, Desnoyers, 19, said the experience was beneficial.
“Every moment was really special,” he said. “It was my first experience, camp wise, and it was really good to act like a sponge all week and meet everyone and learn from the best. It was a really good week.”
When the Flyers drafted Desnoyers, he was coming off a QMJHL season in which he had 11 goals and 35 points in 61 games.
Last year, he had 49 points (21 goals, 28 assists) while playing in just 37 games during a season shortened by COVID-19. The progression caused the Flyers to sign him to an entry-level contract in May.
“He played a strong, two-way game with lots of passion,” Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said. “As he matures physically and gets stronger, his game should continue to grow.”
Desnoyers’ hip problem is almost behind him, and Flahr said he should be cleared by the start of main camp Sept. 22.
“Right now I’m feeling awesome,” Desnoyers said. “I’m close to being back to 100 percent. I’m improving every day.”
Desnoyers twice scored four goals in games last season, but his confidence grew before those outbursts — specifically, during the summer of 2020, when he did workouts to improve his speed and become a more well-rounded player.
“I really worked hard. It was a summer I felt the best and I took it into the season,” he said.
Right winger Tyson Foerster, who owns a powerful shot and was the Flyers’ first-round selection in the 2020 draft, scored five goals and had a dazzling assist to lead Team Orange to the three-on-three tourney title. Three teams competed.
Team Black got three goals apiece from Isaac Ratcliffe and Linus Sandin, while Connor McClennon had three goals for Team White.
Goalie Samuel Ersson was solid in the nets, outplaying Kirill Ustimenko.
Defensemen Ethan Samson, a sixth-round draft pick in July, and Cooper Zech had two goals each. Zech, 22, is a free-agent signee who played 21 games with Providence in the AHL last season.
Center Jon-Randall Avon, a camp invitee, also had a pair of goals.
Rookie camp is tentatively schedule to start Sept. 15. ... Wade Allison and Tanner Laczynski had maintenance days and didn’t participate in the tourney. ... Mammoth defenseman Jackson van de Leest (6-7, 238) will attend rookie camp and hopes to be invited to the main camp. “I’m not going anywhere without a fight,” he said of his attempt at getting a pro contract, adding that he turned down offers to go to other development camps because the Flyers have a history of signing free agents (see Phil Myers, and Egor Zamula) after strong camp showings. ... Forward Owen McLaughlin, a Chester County native drafted in the seven round this summer, is a lifelong Flyers fan who called it “super cool” to be at their camp.