Quick Hits: RFA Updates, Rookie Camp Notes and More
Quick Hits: Sept. 10, 2019
1) Speaking to the media after Tuesday's Rookie Camp session at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher discussed the progression of camp into preparations for the start of NHL camp on Friday. He was then asked for an update on the status of negotiations with unsigned restricted free agents Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny.
"I've been in situations where it seems like you are a long way away, and then something comes together quickly. But I've also been in situations where it feels like you are right there, and can't get to the finish line," Fletcher said.
Fletcher said he would speak with both players' agents later in the day. He did not tip his hand as to whether he felt optimistic of something getting done before the start of NHL camp on Sept. 13. However, he acknowledged that today is a very important day in the process.
The GM said that, logically, the three-year deal that Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski signed could be a comparable for Provorov but said he is open both to long-term possibilities as well as a bridge deal. He would not characterize which possibility seems more likely at present if something is to get done.
SN950's Rick Dalhiwal tweeted an update from the Provorov side via Todd Diamond; the agency partner of Mark Gandler. There was some optimism expressed by the agent.
2. On Day 3 of Rookie camp, the top forward trio of Isaac Ratcliffe, Morgan Frost and Joel Farabee had a dominating day during the drills. Apart from Phil Myers, his Rookie Camp defense partner Egor Zamula had another very strong day, as did 2019 fourth-round pick Mason Millman, who showed off his mobility, quick stick and ability to jump into the play several times during the session.
"I feel like my confidence has grown to just play my game and it's helped me a lot," Millman said. "I know, realistically, I'm not going to play [NHL] this year but I think I've gained a lot of things I can take to Saginaw this season. I feel really good."
3. I asked both Farabee and Frost about whether they eventually see themselves playing both ends of special teams at the pro level. The two players gave divergent but introspective and honest answers.
Said Farabee, "I believe that I think the game well. One of my assets is that I can outthink guys and be responsible. Honestly, I think as my career goes on, I'll be more of a PK guy than PP. I'd like to play power play, too, obviously, but I think PK is an area where I can be effective."
Frost was cognizant of the fact that he was largely an offensive-oriented penalty killer at the Ontario Hockey League level, which was much of the reason that he racked up 11 shorthanded points (four goals, seven assists) last year and eight (four goals, four assists) the previous year. He realizes that a shift in approach will be needed if PK participation becomes a regular part of his pro repertoire.
"It always helps you to be versatile. I've always been a PP guy but, as an older player with the Soo, I enjoyed playing PK, too. I'd like to do that eventually here but if I do kill penalties, I'll have to take less chances than I did in the Soo. I can't cheat as much," Frost said.
4. Gordon was asked about the adjustment process that young players -- most of whom were top-six forward or top-four blueliners and power play regulars by the end of their junior or collegiate careers -- have in adapting to the pro level. The Phantoms head coach said any forward who starts out his career in the AHL should have the mentality of trying to be able to be an effective bottom six player. It doesn't mean he won't get chance to play offense or advance to become a top six, but conquering the challenge opens up more fits for that player to find his initial niche as a pro.
"You have to beat someone out for a [power play/ top six] spot. So, OK, where am I am going to get my minutes? You get your minutes by excelling with process and structure, and then you find your opportunities increase," Gordon said.
5. Gordon indicated that that two goalies in Rookie Camp who are playing minor league hockey this season -- Felix Sandström and Kirill Ustimenko -- would be the goaltenders in Wednesday's Rookies Game in Allentown. It was unclear if 2019 sixth-round pick Roddy Ross would be kept around beyond the Rookies Game for the start of NHL camp on Friday.
6. Today in Flyers History: On Sept. 10, 1996, the Flyers came to terms with veteran defenseman Petr Svoboda on a four-year contract extension. Coming off an excellent 1995-96 campaign (29 points, +28, 108 PIM), Svoboda would be limited by injury (shoulder sprain, recurrent groin pulls) to 67 games in 1996-97 but remained highly effective when in the lineup.
7. Sept. 10 Flyers Alumni birthdays: Chris Joseph (1969), Corban Knight (1990).