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Provorov and Konecny highlight Flyers development camp

For the Flyers, the focus of development camp - which started in Voorhees on Thursday - is on fundamentals, nutrition, and conditioning habits that will help the prospects in their pursuit of the NHL.

For the Flyers, the focus of development camp - which started in Voorhees on Thursday - is on fundamentals, nutrition, and conditioning habits that will help the prospects in their pursuit of the NHL.

The evaluation will come at a later date. For some, like touted defenseman Ivan Provorov and right winger Travis Konecny, the scrutiny will begin during training camp in September.

Both are 19 and have a legitimate shot to earn a roster spot with the Flyers this season. Both have dominated juniors and, because of their ages, would not be permitted to spend this season in the AHL with the Phantoms.

"If a young kid makes us a better team, and we don't think we're going to hurt him long-term, I'm going to keep him," general manager Ron Hextall said. "If not, we'll go with what we have."

Konecny has heard conjecture that he could be playing for the Orange and Black this season.

"I personally try not to think about it too much," said the fleet 5-foot-10 Konecny, who has bulked up to 183 pounds, nine more than at the end of the season. "I stay humble and just work hard. . . . But when I look at [trying to earn a spot with the Flyers], that's later on in the summer. Right now, we're here developing together, and I'm just trying to enjoy it and meet people and get better."

Konecny had a combined 30 goals, 101 points, and a plus-33 rating for Ottawa and Sarnia in the Ontario Hockey League last season, a year in which he became much more defensively responsible.

Provorov, who will turn 20 on Jan. 13, had 21 goals, 73 points, and a plus-64 rating in 62 games for Brandon last season, earning the Western Hockey League's defenseman of the year award.

"I improved in all areas of my game - offensively, defensively, and playing bigger minutes," he said. "I'm going to continue to keep growing as a player every day. That's my goal."

Is there anything Provorov or Konecny can gain by playing another year on the junior level?

Any player who goes back "can be the best player in junior hockey," Hextall said, adding that Konecny and Provorov made great strides last season "and that's exactly what we want to see."

Provorov sidestepped the question. Konecny didn't.

"It doesn't matter where you play. You can always better yourself," said Konecny, adding he feels much more comfortable than he did at last year's camp. "If I am back down there, I'll make sure I improve myself to the best of my abilities."

That said, Konecny added he would be disappointed if he was sent down.

"For sure," he said. "I want to be on the Flyers. That's my goal, and it's been my goal since last year when I came to camp."

Konecny was asked if the Flyers' offensive shortcomings might help him get to the NHL sooner rather than later.

"It's definitely nice to hear there's some need for some offensive help," he said. "But at the same time, I'm not trying to think about that. I'm just working my hardest and doing what I can do, and the rest kind of takes care of itself. I'll let them worry about whether I'm ready to play or not."

Provorov said the development camp, which runs through Tuesday, is about learning. "And after this camp, go back home and have a good summer, train, and get ready for September. . . . I think if I have a good summer, then I'll have a really good chance of making the team."

As part of his summer routine, the 6-1, 201-pound Provorov boxes to stay in shape. "It's a really good, well-rounded workout, and you work on your balance and your cardio, too," he said. "And you've got to be able to step up for yourself or your teammate on the ice when you have to."

Provorov and Flyers prospect Travis Sanheim got into a wrestling match in a WHL game last season. Sanheim was upset when Provorov leveled one of his teammates.

"Even though you're friends off the ice, there are no friends on the ice," Provorov said.