Opening Acts: A Look into the Future

Posted: September 15, 2011 by Realdeal in AHL, Philadelphia Flyers, Preseason, Prospects
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Flyers’ prospects met the Capitals for the fifth season in a row, the first of the series at a major arena.  The game, especially in the third, was intense as the youngsters from both clubs battled to leave their impressions in front of the big bosses.  However, at times, it looked like a typical rookie game with some sloppy passing and bad positioning.

Brayden Schenn battles for a loose puck during a faceoff.

Of course the eyes were two big names of the night were Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier.  Schenn got a large ovation during introductions from the estimated 11,000 fans. While he wasn’t spectacular on offense, he was defensively responsible, including helping kill a Capitals 2 man advantage in the first period.  Couturier got an assist on Blake Kessel’s power play goal and also played some penalty kill. However, showed he needs to work on his skating and will have to gain some strength before making the jump to the NHL.  Both will get a longer look when they join the Flyers when training camp opens Saturday.

Newly signed Blake Kessel left his mark on the game, assisting on the Flyers’ first goal and scoring the team’s second, on the powerplay.  Kessel impressed the fans in attendance, earning third star of the game.  He easily stood out the most of all defensemen and showed why he was an Hockey East all-star last season with New Hampshire.

Undrafted free agent Jason Akeson was a surprise of the night. He was all over the place, and displayed some pretty good skating ability. He even played on the point for a Flyers powerplay. The Kitchener product had 108 points with the Rangers last season and showed that he is capable of being a producer.

Both Flyers goalies, Brad Phillips and Michael Houser, played well, only allowing one goal each.  Phillips played the first half of the game, making 13 saves.  Houser weathered a late Capitals storm with 11 saves, some very nice, to preserve the win.

Tyler Brown, who scored 25 goals last year with Plymouth (OHL), scored the first goal for the Flyers, splitting the Capitals defense with some nice moves.  He could be a surprise addition to the roster down the road.  Big Derek Mathers was a wrecking ball, hitting everything in his path and got into fisticuffs with the Caps’ Reid Edmondson after the Flyers took the lead.  The first star was given to Czech Tomas Hyka, who scored the eventual game winning goal near the end of the second period.

The Flyers’ prospect depth might be lacking overall, but they do have some very good players in the system, including some guys who weren’t in the lineup tonight.  The AHL Phantoms may have finished in last place last season, but this year they should be improved with the new influx of talent.


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