BOSTON — The Flyers’ roster is starting to come into focus.
They trimmed 18 players from their roster Thursday, including centers German Rubtsov and Mikhail Vorobyev and highly regarded defenseman Phil Myers.
That left the Flyers with 35 healthy players in camp. They will carry 22 or 23 players when the season starts Oct 4.
Rubtsov, 19, was one of five players sent back to their junior team, along with forwards Connor Bunnaman, Pascal Laberge, and Ivan Kosorenkov and goalie Carter Hart.
The Flyers could have sent Rubtsov, a first-round selection in the 2016 draft, to the AHL’s Lehigh Valley 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.
“We want him to be a top player,” general manager Ron Hextall said of the decision to send Rubtsov to juniors. “I thought he had a good camp, but in saying that, the jump to the American League is big.”
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, and Reece Willcox; and goalies Leland Irving and John Muse.
Cutting the 20-year-old Vorobyev, a sturdy 6-foot-2, 206-pound center who excelled in camp, was the most difficult decision, Hextall said.
“We thought long and hard about it,” Hextall said. “If you said, ‘Of all the guys you sent down, who was the most deserving [to stay]?’ it was probably him.”
If a call-up is necessary, Vorobyev, selected in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, will be high on his list, Hextall said.
As for Kosorenkov, the Flyers have until Oct. 4 to offer him an entry-level deal. If they don’t, he will go into the draft. A training-camp invitee, the right winger had 34 goals in the QMJHL last season.
“We talked about it,” Hextall said, “but we have a lot of forwards coming up next year. He probably deserves an NHL contract, but we have a lot of young players, and when you start to rank them,” he’s behind.
The Flyers have 46 of their 50 contract spots filled.