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Parent Impresses at Rookie Camp

by Kevin Kurz / Philadelphia Flyers
Defenseman among small group with chance to crack Flyers lineup

(Voorhees, NJ, September 10) – With the Philadelphia Flyers’ rookie camp now underway, which includes 30 prospects all trying to leave an impression on the teams’ brass, there is a very small group within the camp that has a chance to begin the season with the big club.

Among them is defenseman Ryan Parent, one of the main components of the Peter Forsberg trade with the Nashville Predators in February. Although there have been just two scrimmages among the prospects, Parent clearly stands out among the group due to his skating and physical play.

The 6’2’’, 205-pounder will stick around when training camp officially begins on Friday. So, does he have a chance to start the season in the orange and black?

“I think it would be really premature at this point to even comment on his chances,” said Head Coach John Stevens. “He’s a great kid, and for a young kid he’s got a great fitness level. He’s got some great fundamentals in terms of his ability to play the game and think the game for a kid his age.

“This will be a very important training camp for him. He will be given every opportunity to play and perform to see how he does. This rookie camp will be a good week for him to get on the ice and get acclimated.”
Ryan Parent made his NHL debut for the Flyers on April 3 last season against the New Jersey Devils. (Getty Images)

A former first round pick of the Predators, Parent’s resume is an impressive one for a player just 20 years of age. In addition to being a member of Canada’s 2006 World Junior Championship team, Parent captained his country to a silver medal in the 2005 Under-18 tournament. He was named as a second-team OHL All-Star following the 2006 season while a member of the Guelph Storm.

After he was acquired by Philadelphia last year, Parent joined the Philadelphia Phantoms for six games in the American Hockey League (registering one goal and four penalty minutes), and made his NHL debut on April 5 in his one and only game so far at that level.

“It was good to kind of see what the next level is, and get a taste of it,” said Parent. “You kind of know what to expect coming into camp now, even with that little bit of experience.”

In a testament to his competitiveness, Parent only has one thing in mind when camp begins: making the NHL roster.

“I’m not thinking of anything but that, but I’m not thinking too far ahead, either,” he said. “Coming into camp, I just want to play my own game, and play the best I can. Whatever it takes.”

Stevens is excited to see what Parent brings to the table during training camp.

“He’s really one of the guys we’re anxious to get into training camp and have a look at, because we haven’t seen a whole lot of him. He’s certainly off to a great start in terms of his fitness and fundamentals of being a pro.”

Downie Fully Recovered

Another player with an outside chance of cracking the lineup is 2005 first round draft choice Steve Downie. Downie had shoulder surgery in the summer, but is back to 100 percent for rookie camp.

While Downie hopes to make the Flyers from the start, the number of veterans and established NHL forwards on the team could mean he begins his first pro season in the AHL with the Phantoms.

“Obviously my goal is to play on [the Flyers], but you have to look at reality,” he said. “They have a lot of veterans there and you have to earn your spot.” 

Said Stevens: “We think the world of him. He’s a good kid, and an ultra-competitive kid. He’s not a big guy, but he makes up for it with his competitiveness. He’s got good hockey sense and good vision, and a lot of really good instincts offensively, but it’s his competitiveness that makes him such a good player for his size.

“He’s a lot like Ryan; in terms of this is an important camp for him. He’s going to get a real good opportunity to be evaluated at the NHL level and see where he’s at.”

Giroux Arriving Tuesday Night

Flyers 2006 first round pick Claude Giroux is due to arrive in Philadelphia on Monday afternoon, and may or may not take part in Tuesday’s 10:00 a.m. skate. Giroux recently competed for Canada in its Super Series with Russia, in which the Canadians went 7-0-1 in the eight-game series.

Giroux finished with three goals and five assists in the series.

REMINDER: The Flyers rookies will skate beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, and rookie camp will conclude with a game against the Washington Capitals rookies on Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone.
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