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Meltzer's Take: Vorobyev knocked down the door; Hart, others close behind

Flyers contributor gives his analysis on Vorobyev, Hart and the roster decisions

by Bill Meltzer @billmeltzer

There were no big surprises among the Flyers' roster cuts on Sunday. The team sent defense prospects Philippe Myers and Mark Friedman to the American Hockey League's Lehigh Valley Phantoms, along with highly touted goaltending prospect Carter Hart. 

There is still one cut to make among the forwards. However, that cut will not be center Mikhail Vorobyev. 

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall acknowledged that the 21-year has made the team.

"Quite frankly, he's knocked the door down," Hextall said on Thursday. 

On Sunday, Hextall elaborated on Vorobyev's excellent preseason.

"He came in and made an impact, and that's what you're looking for with young players. He's a real good two-way player. With many young players, you worry about the defensive side of the puck."

Offensively, Vorobyev produced seven points during the preseason, while dressing in seven of eight games.

With Vorobyev, there has never been a question about his talent or skill. As a rookie with the Phantoms last season, he showed high-end passing ability and ice vision. The question was one of day-in and day-out consistency, adapting to the North American game and grasping the related expectations of his coaches and teammates. Injuries were also a factor.

In camp this September, consistency has been one of Vorobyev's strongest traits. In both practices and games, he stood out. Not coincidentally, his English has also improved significantly over the last year.

Hart, coming off arguably the most decorated career by a goaltender in CHL history, showed during camp why he is considered to be unusually mentally mature for a 20-year-old goalie as well as physically skilled. However, making the direct jump from junior hockey to the NHL as a regular starting goalie is very rare.

No Flyers goalie in franchise history has ever done it without the intermediate step of some minor league seasoning; not even Bernie Parent, Pelle Lindbergh or Ron Hextall. 

Hextall praised Hart's performance in his first NHL camp.

"Carter had a real good camp. Played enough games obviously for us to get a feel for him," Hextall said. "These are all tough decisions toward the end."

Along with Hart, Myers and Friedman do not appear to be far away from being deemed NHL-ready. 

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