In one of the most surprising developments in the Flyers’ training camp, it appears Taylor Leier has made the team and Oskar Lindblom hasn’t.
Both are promising left wingers.
Nothing is guaranteed, but Leier was on the fourth line at practice Saturday in Voorhees, an indication he will start the season with the Flyers.
Lindblom was on a line with the extras, a unit that included Matt Read and Jori Lehtera.
The fleet Leier played on a line centered by Scott Laughton. The two have been longtime linemates with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
”This is the fourth year we’ve played with each other, so it’s definitely nice to be with a guy like that,” said Leier, who has two goals in his preseason three games. “I feel comfortable around him and know all his tendencies.”
The Flyers (3-1-3) finish their preseason schedule by hosting the Islanders at 5 p.m. Sunday.
“I wouldn’t say there’s more pressure than there’s been every day for the last three weeks,” Leier said about trying to make a final statement that he belongs on the team. “… There’s been anxiety through the whole camp. That comes with the territory and the business we’re in. Everyone goes through it and it’s just something you try to push aside.”
Leier, 23, said he felt more comfortable than he did at last year’s training camp.
“I feel like I’m ready,” he said.
Leier would have to clear waivers to be sent down to the Phantoms. Lindblom does not need waivers.
General manager Ron Hextall said that, barring injuries, he will announce roster cuts after Sunday’s game.
The Flyers have 25 healthy players in camp, and must get down to 23. They figure to trim a forward and a defenseman from the roster.
Based on the lines and pairings that were run Saturday, it appears Lindblom or Read could go to the Phantoms. The defense cut will probably come down to Sam Morin or Travis Sanheim. Brandon Manning would have to clear waivers if the Flyers tried to send him to Lehigh Valley, and that plays into the decision.
If it came down to Read or Lindblom as an extra (read: scratched) forward, the Flyers figure to keep Read because they want the 21-year-old Lindblom to play on a regular basis.
Lindblom, named the top forward in the Swedish Elite League last season, has had a solid but not spectacular camp, collecting two points (goal, assist) over four games and playing solid defense.
Sanheim, who shares the Flyers’ lead with three goals in the preseason, and Morin have had excellent camps. But it appears the Flyers are reluctant to start the season with three rookie defensemen. Rookie Robert Hagg was paired with Shayne Gostisbehere Saturday, an indication they will play Sunday, a game the Flyers view as a dress rehearsal for Wednesday’s season-opener in San Jose.
Here are the lines and pairings the Flyers used Saturday:
- Sean Couturier centering Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek.
- Nolan Patrick centering Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds.
- Val Filppula centering Dale Weise and Travis Konecny.
- Laughton centering Leier and Michael Raffl.
- Lehtera centering Lindblom and Read (extras).
- Defense (three pairings will play): Ivan Provorov and Andrew MacDonald; Gostisbehere and Hagg; Manning and Radko Gudas; Morin and Sanheim.