Tortorella makes his way to Flyers’ bench, has plenty to watch originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
VOORHEES, N.J. — John Tortorella is ready for a closer look at Bobby Brink, Tyson Foerster and Wade Allison, three players trying to win what appears to be the last job remaining up front in the Flyers’ season-opening lineup.
With two preseason games left, the head coach’s vantage point will change to ice level. Tortorella evaluated the first four exhibition games from up top alongside general manager Danny Briere. Now he’ll head to the bench Monday as the roster construction nears the final stages with the Flyers’ game against the Bruins (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
Brink, a 22-year-old winger, has forced his way into the late picture. He leads the Flyers in preseason scoring with three points (one goal, two assists) over three games and also has a shootout marker.
His 2022-23 season was abbreviated and hampered because of a recovery from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. He joined AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley in January and never played for the Flyers.
He has Tortorella’s attention.
“He hasn’t been safe, he has tried to make plays, made some mistakes along the way, but goes right back and tries to make another play,” Tortorella said Monday at morning skate. “Really good on the power play. You can see he thinks the next play, you can see that. This is what he is, this is why he was drafted.
“Gets banged up, doesn’t have a really good year because of all of that, has had a good summer of training and has come in and put himself into a conversation with us as far as what we do with him.”
The Flyers pushed Brink over the weekend and he answered the challenge. He shined Friday in the team’s 4-3 shootout win over the Bruins and then found Allison for a goal just 2:04 minutes into Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Devils.
Brink was the only player to suit up for both games, which included travel. He also played in both rookie games prior to a busy main training camp.
“When we put him in the back-to-back, we all talked that we need to be careful here,” Tortorella said. “And then what does he do? He makes a great play right away in the game and did some other good things, too.”
Allison, who turns 26 years old this month, played 60 games for the Flyers last season. He’s coming off his best preseason performance despite playing bottom-six minutes. He knows he’s battling to be the team’s 12th and final forward in the lineup instead of being an extra come the Oct. 12 regular-season opener.
“I don’t want anything handed to me,” Allison said nine days ago. “I want to work for it. That’s what I’ve got here at this camp, that’s what I got at last camp, it’s what I’ve had my whole life. This is just part of it now, this is just how it goes, it’s how I expect it to be.”
It looks like tonight Foerster will have his best chance to impress, playing on an NHL line with Noah Cates and Scott Laughton. After opening eyes in his eight-game audition last season, the 21-year-old Foerster hasn’t jumped out in the preseason. The shoot-first winger didn’t score in the two rookie games, was solid overall in the camp scrimmages and has an assist through two exhibition contests.
“I’m not sure how it’s being written out there, but I don’t think it has been as bad as … because you’re always looking at numbers, everybody looks at numbers,” Tortorella said. “If I thought he was on the wrong side of preparing and arrogance, it’d be a concern. I think he’s just adding pressure to himself. I think that’s what has happened a little bit to him offensively. So that’s something he has just got to work through. Where it falls, I don’t know.”
How can Foerster relieve some of the pressure?
“Play good [in the] D-zone and I think the goals will come,” he said. “I’m an offensive guy, so I think they’ll come.”
Entering camp, the Flyers’ biggest question marks were on defense. Roles within the pairs and a couple of roster spots are open.
The club has said it wants to see more youth on the back end over the course of the season.
“That’s a position, we’ve been in front of it,” Tortorella said. “We’re going to have some aches and pains after games, but we have to look at our kids and see how we go about it as we keep on building the team. Nothing’s locked in as far as pairs by any means.”
Cam York will be back in the lineup Monday night for his first game action since the preseason opener. He had missed a couple of practices last week with an undisclosed injury.
“I had never dealt with that type of injury before, so it was a little new to me,” York said. “But the guys did a great job working on me and I feel really good right now. Just excited to get going.”
The Flyers whittled their roster down to 31 players Monday afternoon.
Matt Brown and Brendan Furry also headed to the Phantoms after being released from their professional tryouts.
Prospect Matteo Mann, who had been recovering from an upper-body injury, was cleared and sent to his junior club.
Samu Tuomaala didn’t practice with the non-game group Monday but took part in J.R. Avon’s rehab skate. Both prospects remain on the roster.
Here is Flyers’ updated roster, which has 31 players, presumably 30 healthy.
Two preseason games left.
There could be five jobs up for grabs: 12th and 13th forwards, sixth and seventh D and backup goalie.
We’ll see if Flyers carry eight D or maybe 14 F. pic.twitter.com/wXAlL7WHAl
— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) October 2, 2023
Joel Farabee-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
Owen Tippett-Morgan Frost-Cam Atkinson
Scott Laughton-Noah Cates-Tyson Foerster
Bobby Brink-Ryan Poehling-Wade Allison
Cam York-Rasmus Ristolainen
Egor Zamula-Travis Sanheim
Adam Ginning-Ronnie Attard
Samuel Ersson (full game)
Source: Yahoo Sports