Flyers' Claude Giroux staying at center vs. Boston

Flyers Camp Hockey
The Flyers experimented with Claude Giroux at left wing in Tuesday’s practice, but he will be at center Thursday in Boston.

BOSTON — The Flyers will use a veteran lineup when the play an exhibition game in Boston on Thursday night, but there are a handful of exceptions.

The lineup will also include six rookies trying to make the team: defensemen Travis Sanheim, Sam Morin and Robert Hagg, speedy left winger Taylor Leier, center Nolan Patrick, and left winger Oskar Lindblom.

Lindblom has had a strong camp and is a cinch to secure a roster spot.

“There’s a lot of little parts to Oskar’s game that are sound,” coach Dave Hakstol said.

General manager Ron Hextall challenged Patrick to do more offensively before Wednesday’s exhibition. After a slow start in the game, Patrick created some quality chances and set up Shayne Gostisbehere’s overtime goal in a 3-2 split-squad win over the Islanders.

Leier, who had two power-play goals in the victory, is trying to take a roster spot from a veteran like Matt Read. The three aforementioned defensemen appear to be battling for two openings.

“He’s coming off a really good performance,” Hakstol said of Leier. “That’s the type of impact you want to see out of the young players that are working to make our hockey team.”

The Flyers figure to carry seven defensemen, and there could be a third opening if Brandon Manning, who is coming off back surgery, isn’t at 100 percent by the Oct. 4 opener.

Claude Giroux will center Oskar Lindblom and Jake Voracek on Thursday. Hakstol said he wants to experiment with Giroux at left wing at some point in the preseason, but it won’t be tonight.

The other forwards who will play tonight: Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds, Michael Raffl, Colin McDonald, Valtteri Filppula, Jordan Weal, Patrick, and Leier.

Ivan Provorov, Radko Gudas, and McDonald will join rookies Hagg, Morin, and Sanheim on defense. The latter three were impressive in Wednesday’s win.

Goalie Brian Elliott, a free-agent signing in the off-season, will make his first appearance for the Orange and Black, and Alex Lyon will be his backup.

TV and radio. Thursday’s 7:05 p.m. game will be televised by the NHL Network and it can be heard on 97.5 The Fanatic.

Roster cuts. The Flyers made 18 cuts Thursday, reducing their roster to 36 players. They will carry 22 or 23 players when the season starts Oct 4.

Center German Rubtsov and defenseman Phil Myers were among the rosters trims.

Rubtsov was one of five players sent back to their junior team, along with forwards Connor Bunnaman, Pascal Laberge, Ivan Kosorenkov, and goalie Carter Hart.

The Flyers could have sent the 19-year-old Rubtsov, a first-round selection in the 2016 draft, to the AHL’s Phantoms, but they decided he needed a full season in juniors. He will play for Chicoutimi in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

After playing 15 games in Russia’s KHL last season, Rubtsov spent 16 games with Chicoutimi and collected 22 points, including nine goals.

Myers, one of the organization’s top prospects, was among 13 players sent to the Phantoms, along with  forwards Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Radel Fazleev, Tyrell Goulbourne, Danick Martel, Carsen Twarynski, and Mikhail Vorobyev; defensemen James de Haas, Mark Friedman, Maxim Lamarche, Reece Willcox; and goalies Leland Irving and John Muse.

Of the players sent to Lehigh Valley, Vorobyev arguably had the most impressive training camp.

“Today will be a separation as in terms of where we go in camp,” Hakstol said. “….Really, today is a day where the competition starts to rise in terms of some of the tougher decisions that are coming down the road here.”