With a huge overhaul of the Flyers roster from the 2010-11 season that saw the Flyers part ways with nine members of the team that took to the ice in their 2011 Stanley Cup Playoff run, Flyers fans, coaches and management knew there would be opportunity for a couple fresh new faces to earn a job with the Flyers.
NUMBER OF NHL GAMES PLAYED BY ROOKIES
TOP 5 TEAMS:346 - Philadelphia Flyers
277 - Ottawa Senators
265 - Minnesota Wild
246 - Nashville Predators
209 - Buffalo Sabres BOTTOM 5 TEAMS:
31 - St. Louis Blues
42 - Phoenix Coyotes
43 - Pittsburgh Penguins
45 - Winnipeg Jets
58 - Boston Bruins SCHEDULE & RESULTS FOLLOW: @NHLFlyers
But who knew it would be this many? And who knew they would make this much of an impact and fill key roles on team hit with injuries.
“I’ve never been in a situation where there have been this many rookies available every game," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. "There’s lots of reasons why a team has success, but certainly they are a contributing factor. Where we’re at right now, they’ve all been given roles and what we expect of them, they’ve done a really nice job.”
Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning is the latest proof of that. Manning's NHL debut last night saw him record nearly 15 minutes of ice-time on the blueline (14:59). The 21-year-old, who had received his first NHL recall less than 24 hours earlier, took 18 shifts, including one on the power-play and posted three shots on net.
"When I get an opportunity, I want to jump in there," said Manning after his debut. "It's part of my game. [That's what] I want [do] to contribute to the game."
According to Laviolette. Manning did that, and then some.
"He moved the puck, he generated some offense and defensively he held his own out there. Coming in for the first time is never an easy thing and I thought he did a terrific job. Played regular shifts, regular minutes and he looked good out there doing it.”
Not only did last night's game feature seven rookies, but three of the five goals, including the game-winner, were all scored by the freshmen core.
Following last night's NHL schedule, Matt Read
's 19 goals leads all NHL rookies, while also ranking fourth among rookies in overall scoring with 39 points.Sean Couturier
is second among Flyers rookies with 22 points (11G-11A) and his defensive talents have earned him a plus-minus rating of plus-16, good enough for third among all NHL rookies.
Read and Couturier were even recognized by the NHL by earning a trip to All-Star weekend after being named to the group of 12 rookies chosen to participate in the Skills Competition and other festivities.
However, contributions aren't just coming from Read or Couturier. The Flyers have had six rookies make their NHL debut this season and double that amount to play in a game so far.Eric Wellwood
has come in and recorded three goals and five points in just eight games, while producing a plus-7 rating.
Wellwood joins Couturier, Read, Manning, Brayden Schenn
, Zac Rinaldo
, Tom Sestito
, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Kevin Marshall, Harry Zolnierczyk, Ben Holmstrom and Erik Gustafsson who have all made an impact, not only on the ice, but with their veteran teammates as well.
The Flyers rookies have accounted for 49 of the team's 216 goals (22.7%), which leads all other NHL teams. They also lead the NHL with most games played by rookies (346) by nearly 70 games, with the closest the Ottawa Senators at 277. The Flyers record for most games played is 480 set during the 1968-69 season.