The Flyers have missed the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, but an influx of promising rookies has given them a boost at the box office.
According to a club spokesman, when the Flyers recently put single-game tickets for sale, they quickly sold 10,000 — an increase of 5,000 over a similar period last year.
“We’re very appreciative and encouraged by the fans’ interest,” said Shawn Tilger, the Flyers’ executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Tilger said Flyers have about the same amount of season-ticket holders — nearly 16,000 — as a year ago. It varies based on the opponent, but about 2,000 tickets will be available for each home game, he added.
The Flyers are expected to have several rookies on their roster, led by center Nolan Patrick, the No. 2 overall pick in the June draft. Rookies Oskar Lindblom, Travis Sanheim, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, and Mike Vecchione are also battling for roster spots.
“You look at the speed and the youth, the energy level….We’re excited about it,” said Dave Scott, CEO of Comcast Spectacor, which owns the Flyers. “And it’s great seeing the vets like Wayne Simmonds excited about what is here. I couldn’t be happier about the mix. We have a great mix of players.”
Paul Holmgren, the Flyers’ president, said some look at this season’s team and it brings them back to the 1984-1985 season, when rookies Rick Tocchet, Peter Zezel, Derrick Smith, and Dave Brown cracked the lineup in coach Mike Keenan’s first season.
“But it’s hard to compare,” Holmgren said. “Hockey is so different than it was back then, but certainly in the number of players that we have coming up, it’s kind of like that. We have an impressive group of prospects.”
As in 1984-85, the Flyers had four rookies start the season with the club in 2005-06: Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, R.J. Umberger, and Antero Niittymaki.
The Flyers recalled Mikhail Vorobyov from the AHL’s Phantoms, and he was in the lineup in Tuesday’s exhibition game against the Rangers. When Vorobyov, 20, was trimmed from the roster Thursday, general manager Ron Hextall said it was the most difficult of the 18 cuts he made that day.
Vorobyov, a sturdy 6-foot-2, 206-pound center, excelled in camp before being sent to the Phantoms.
He was given a look Tuesday, but figures to start the season with Lehigh Valley.