Defenseman Phil Myers is expected to be a Flyers regular this season, but he didn’t feel slighted to be one of the 26 players at the opening of the team’s rookie camp Saturday in Voorhees.
After all, he pointed out, he technically is still a rookie, even though he played in the NHL late last season.
“It doesn’t really bother me that I’m playing in rookie camp,” he said. “It’ll put me in shape a little bit and get me going for main camp,” which starts Friday. “I’m looking at it in a positive way.”
Of all the players at rookie camp, Myers, 22, has the best chance to be in the lineup when the Flyers open their season Oct. 4 against Chicago in the Czech Republic.
The 6-foot-5, 218-pound Myers, a right-handed shooter, was impressive in his 21-game stint last season with the Flyers.
“I know a little bit more what to expect now,” he said. “When the time comes, I’m going to get the opportunity and I’m going to be ready. Less nerves and all that stuff. I got my first game and first goal out of the way, so I’m feeling a little better and a little more confident this year.”
On Saturday, Myers impressed Phantoms coach Scott Gordon, who had him at Lehigh Valley and while he was the Flyers’ interim coach last season.
“His comfort level, you can tell that this is nothing for him,” Gordon said after directing the camp session. “He just goes out there effortlessly and he’s so sure of himself and confident.”
In his time with the Flyers, Myers said, he learned "you have to try to be in control a lot more in what you’re doing instead of going 100 miles per hour all the time. Just try to stay calm and composed with the puck.”
“There’s always going to be a period of time where you’re not sure how they’re going to handle the size, the speed, the pace of play," Gordon said of the transition from the AHL to the NHL. "But from his very first game to the end, he stepped in and was comfortable. ... He showed good intelligence to pick his spots” in jumping into the attack.
Myers, who signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015, has made strides in slowing down his game and showing more poise over the last two seasons. It is why he could be ticketed for a third-pairing assignment with Shayne Gostisbehere, his frequent partner last season.
“We get along well,” Myers said. “We talk a lot out there.”
“My first couple games, I wasn’t talking that much, and so we worked on it a bit,” he said, smiling. “We got to know each other and he’s an easy guy to talk to and he’s a good guy. I really liked playing with him last year and hopefully we can do it this year.”
Myers, Carter Hart and Sean Couturier were the Flyers who played for new coach Alain Vigneault when he directed Team Canada during the IIHF World Championship in Slovakia in May.
“I’m a big fan of what I saw of him. He’s a real laid-back guy and easy to talk to,” Myers said.