‘He’s a goal scorer’: Flyers forward Tyson Foerster’s snipe the highlight of Day 2 of rookie camp
Phantoms head coach Ian Laperriere lauded the 2020 first-round pick for his shooting prowess on Friday.
Flyers right winger Tyson Foerster is no friend of water bottles.
When the 2020 first-round pick walked the puck to the middle of the offensive zone during a five-on-five drill on Day 2 of rookie camp, he ripped a shot past the blade of defenseman Jackson van de Leest and over the right shoulder of goaltender Kirill Ustimenko. Foerster’s puck found the top corner the net and struck Ustimenko’s water bottle that was nestled in the mesh.
Foerster one, water bottle zero.
“Wow,” Phantoms coach Ian Laperriere said. “Not too many kids can score that goal.
“[Foerster] just grabbed that puck and sniped it. He’s a goal scorer.”
» READ MORE: Tennage defenseman Brian Zanetti the surprise of Day 1 of Flyers rookie camp
Foerster isn’t like “too many kids.” He’s a 19-year-old who already has 24 professional games on his resume after he spent part of the 2020-21 season with the Phantoms. When the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the Barrie Colts’ season in the Ontario Hockey League, Foerster shipped off to Allentown to continue his development.
His season was cut short on both ends after he sustained a right tibia fracture to start his AHL stint and suffered a separated collarbone to conclude it. That said, Foerster showed up on the stat sheet in those 24 games — he registered 10 goals and seven assists. His most significant achievement, however, was simply getting comfortable playing with pro-caliber skaters compared to those at the major junior level.
“It’s a lot different game from junior,” Foerster said. “Everyone’s big and strong and fast, so you’ve just got to adapt. I felt like I did that.”
At the end of the Phantoms’ season, Foerster went home to Alliston, Ontario to train for the upcoming season. He said he shed some fat over the summer, helping him move faster on the ice than he did last year. Although Laperriere didn’t see much of Foerster last season while working as an assistant coach with the Flyers, he was impressed with Foerster’s speed at rookie camp.
“[He] looks great,” Laperriere said. “People were talking about his skating. I don’t see any problem with his skating.”
While Foerster provided answers to questions about his skating ability with his performance on the ice, there’s one question he can’t answer yet: Where will he play in 2021-22? Foerster was allowed to skate with the Phantoms last year after the pandemic interrupted the Colts’ season. Typically, Foerster would be required to play in the OHL until he turns 20 or makes an NHL roster. Now, after playing in the AHL last season, it’s possible that he could receive an exemption to return to the Phantoms this year.
» READ MORE: Prospects Cam York, Morgan Frost, Wade Allison, and Tanner Laczysnki focused on making the Flyers
Foerster said he hopes he’ll be able to stay with the Phantoms this season. Regardless, he’s determined to impress the coaches and front-office staff in the scrimmages against New York Rangers prospects on Saturday and Sunday.
“For camp here, Lappy [Laperriere] could be our coach,” Foerster said. “So we all want to make a good impression on him. We’re all working 10 times harder and playing a lot better.”
The water bottle might not approve of Foerster’s play through two days of rookie camp, but so far, Laperriere does.
Laczynski given the green light
After spending the summer in Voorhees recovering from surgery on a torn labrum in his right hip, center Tanner Laczynski was cleared for contact by the Flyers medical staff on Friday.
“Good to go,” Laczynski said. “I’ll be playing I think one game this weekend. I’m excited. It’s been a long summer. But I’m happy to be cleared.”
His long summer started in April when he had his surgery, shortly after his five-game call-up from the Phantoms to the Flyers. Laczynski said the progress he’s made in his recovery since the start of development camp three weeks ago is “day and night.”
Now, he’s focused on getting back in game shape under the auspices of Laperriere as he looks ahead to participating in a rookie exhibition game this weekend.
“Honestly, I don’t think I’ll know [my fitness] until you play the first game,” Laczynski said. “I feel like you can train as hard as you want, but once you play your first game, I feel like it’s just a different sort of pace that isn’t comparable to any training that you’ve done.”
Laperriere emphasized how meaningful it is that prospects like Laczynski spent their offseason training at the Flyers’ facilities. Their decisions to stay in Voorhees could bode well for them when the team looks to call Phantoms players up during the season.
“If a kid comes to camp and barely shows his face in the summer, and the other kid was here all summer and they’re even, guess who the team’s going to take?” Laperriere said. “I’m not telling you what they got to do, but I know what I would do. I know what the team’s done in the past.”
On Day 2 of rookie camp, Laperriere placed an emphasis on breakouts and forechecking. “It’s not perfect, but again, what I’m looking for is if they pay attention to what I’m telling them and what I’m teaching them. So far, they’ve been doing that which is great.” ... With training camp less than a week away, 23 veteran Flyers took part in a voluntary skate Friday morning. Players such as Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk, and Carter Hart took part in the session led by skills coach Angelo Ricci and goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh. ... Flyers radio analyst Steve Coates attended practice Friday and is recovering well after undergoing quadruple bypass heart surgery in July. ... The Flyers prospects will travel to Tarrytown, N.Y., on Saturday to play in their first exhibition game against Rangers rookies. The Rangers are expected to live stream the game on their website. Fans are not permitted to attend the game.