Will 6-foot-7 Samuel Morin earn a roster spot and make a smooth transition from defense to left wing?
Who will take the spot held by Matt Niskaken, who has retired, and play alongside Ivan Provorov on the top defensive pairing?
Can any of the prospects, such as Morgan Frost, Connor Bunnaman, and Linus Sandin, find their way into the lineup?
Are forwards Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom ready to make significant contributions after health-related hardships last season?
Those are just some of the questions the Flyers will try to answer when the on-ice portion of their abbreviated training camp starts Monday at their Voorhees practice facility. The 56-game season opens Jan. 13 against visiting Pittsburgh.
The Flyers will have 41 players at the six-day camp, which ends Jan. 10 at the Wells Fargo Center. Because of coronavirus restrictions, fans are not allowed to attend camp sessions.
Most of the Flyers have been skating and working out on their own for the last several months; some of them, like Provorov, have been working out and skating in Voorhees since shortly after the season ended Sept. 5.
“A lot of them are around, so I’ve been able to see a few of them,” general manager Chuck Fletcher said the other day. “They look to be in great shape. We’re going to have to have a good camp like everybody else. I think a good start to the season will be good for every club in a shortened season. You don’t want to fall behind.”
Fletcher said the conditioning level of his players “looks very good. I think the way last season ended, there’s a lot of disappointment that we weren’t able to beat the Islanders and move on. Guys, from what I can see at least, worked extremely hard in the offseason. I think they’re excited to come back and take another step this year.”
The Flyers went 41-21-7 last season, beat Montreal in the opening round to win their first playoff series since 2012, and then lost to the New York Islanders, four games to three, in the conference semifinals.
“I really like our depth,” said Fletcher, whose team will be minus two key players from last season, Niskanen and feisty winger Tyler Pitlick, who signed a two-year deal with Arizona that has an annual $1.75 million salary-cap hit. “I think we have a pretty good mix of veteran players and young players. I think we’re a really well-rounded team. It’s going to be a competitive camp.”
The Flyers had fitness and medical testing Sunday. Because of the shortened camp and no exhibition games, there will be lots of scrimmages.
“We’re just excited to get going,” Fletcher said.
Because the Flyers made few offseason roster moves, Fletcher thinks that the team’s continuity will be helpful in a shortened camp and that the chemistry will be easier to develop.
“Last year if you go back to our camp, AV and the coaching staff were implementing systems and there was a lot of teaching going on,” Fletcher said, referring to Alain Vigneault’s first season with the Flyers and his mostly new staff. “I think this year, the vast majority of our players are returning players. They have a pretty good feel of what is expected of them. I’m sure the coaches will make some tweaks. I think we’ll be able to spend a little more time on competition and scrimmaging versus just drills and teaching. Hopefully that will allow us to get our conditioning back quicker, get into game situations a little quicker, and we’ll all be on the same page.”