With 35 players gone for a 5-day adventure in Detroit, London and Toronto, Ontario, that left 24 guys stuck at the Skate Zone some 500-miles away in Voorhees, N.J., battling for the remaining spots.
Flyers coach John Stevens said that the players that traveled for the first road trip of the season “had the best chance to make the team.”
Let’s take a look at some of the other players still in camp and what the future might hold for them:
Matt Clackson: Clackson actually travelled on the trip but he was the only player to not play in any of the three road games. But he had a good skate at the John Labatt Centre on Friday morning. He is not a very fluid skater but is tough as nails and loves the physical game. He beat Ray Emery at least 3 or 4 times with surprisingly good wrist shots, too. He is a lock for the Phantoms, where he will do well.
Ryan Dingle: Dingle is a small (5’10”) but feisty player and is a quick skater. He has good hands and will fit in nicely with the Phantoms. Dingle had an excellent college career but it hasn’t translated to the pro game, yet. He was a restricted free agent after the Pronger deal, so the fact that the Flyers’ both traded and signed him means they like him.
Jon Matsumoto: Aside from Jared Ross, Matsumoto was the Phantoms’ top point getter last season with 63 in 78 games. Last year – his 3rd as a pro – was by far his best. For him, it’s simply a numbers issue. He will get his shot, it just probably won’t be in Philly.
Pat Maroon: If you listened closely in the days leading up to training camp, there were a lot of whispers about Pat Maroon making the big club. While he still has a chance, it became a serious outside chance after not being chosen to travel with the team. Maroon hasn’t looked bad in camp but he also hasn’t been particularly noticeable. He has lost the baby fat the Flyers said he needed to and had a breakout year with the Phantoms last year. He has great hands and can put the puck in the net when called upon.
Tomas Sinisalo: As noted in the Daily News, Sinisalo – son of former Flyer and current scout Ilkka Sinisalo – will probably be heading back to the Finnish Elite League where has played for TPS Turku for the last four seasons. He isn’t bad but he isn’t going to be earning the Flyers’ final available contract.
Jason Ward: A guy with NHL experience, Ward will not get a sniff to make the Flyers. What he will be able to do, however, is teach younger players with the Phantoms. Ward has played in 336 NHL games and will be a solid player in Glens Falls, N.Y.
Michael Ratchuk: Ratchuk may be the fastest player in the Flyers’ camp. I’d love to see a race between him and Claude Giroux or Darroll Powe. He can really motor. Along the way, he has developed poise and a solid shot from the point. He isn’t that far away… there are just so many players ahead of him.
Zac Rinaldo: I was a little disappointed to not see Rinaldo make the trip. Not that his play has earned it – he has been fine, nothing spectacular – but just because he made a splash during his short time in London with the Knights (OHL) this past season. The people in London were clamoring for him.
Joey Mormina: Mormina is a former Flyers draft pick (6th round in 2002) that never played with the Phantoms or Flyers. He ended up in Manchester, Albany and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and saw one game of action with the Hurricanes in 2007-08. He is a HUGE physical specimen (6-6, 220) and had a monster year with the little Penguins last season. He netted 11 points but was second on the team with a plus-37 rating, which is very impressive for a defender. Stevens has said that he is pleasantly surprised with Mormina.
Have a good week.
Homework: If you enjoy reading about the drama in Toronto as much as I do, you’ll enjoy this book excerpt from the Toronto Star website. Fascinating.
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