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5 Storylines to watch as main camp opens

Players ready to battle for jobs, positions and get underway for the 2016-17 season

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

Main training camp is open and in three short days the Flyers slate of preseason games will get underway. Before that, a lot can certainly happen in three days and with over 60 players taking part in camp there certainly are many storylines to follow.

PhiladelphiaFlyers.com takes a look at five key areas of training camp you'll want to keep an eye on if you're making your way out to the Skate Zone in Voorhees. The first being perhaps the most obvious:

THE WORLD CUP EFFECT

Nearly a quarter of NHL players are participating in the World Cup of Hockey, which returns to the sport after 12 years. The Flyers have seven players who were immediately thrusted into competitive games and not present for the start of training camp.

 

The effect? An opportunity for players, young and veterans for playing time and being put into different situations will create a different look to the beginning of camp.

 

Four Flyers are already on their way back: Sean Couturier and Shayne Gostisbehere on Team North America were eliminated, as were Jakub Voracek and Michal Neuvirth.

 

Being a part of their own training camp, preliminary and round robin games, they won't be immediately put into mix as Flyers GM Ron Hextall stated that players returning will be given a few days off.

 

CAMP CARRY OVER

Much of the focus on camp the past few years have been which prospect, if any, will crack the roster. And this year is no different with many rookies playing well coming right to main camp having already a few on-ice sessions and game action under their belt from Rookie Camp. In addition, many prospects already having a year or two under their belt in the American Hockey League.

 

Talk is one thing, but with a full roster already in place, any player wishing to make the team must play well enough to bump a veteran from their spot and be able to help the team, not just on a nine-game loaner basis, but a full 82-game schedule.

 

Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol echoed GM Ron Hextall's philosophy in a recent radio interview on 97.5 The Fanatic:

 

"We're all excited about the ability level of all of our young players. There's a group of young prospects within the organization that are growing and getting closer to be ready to challenge to be an NHL player. There's a lot to being an NHL player over an 82-game schedule. It's not one game, five games, 10 games. It's an 82-game schedule. I think our evaluation of all or our young guys are, are they ready to do a better job than some of our veterans, who we feel really good about."

 

THE INTERNAL COMPETITION

There's not just competition among the prospects this year. Each player on the team will need to come into camp in top shape and form to earn their role on the team.

 

Flyers GM Ron Hextall put it best when asked about the competitive nature of this year's camp:

 

"Internal competition is good. We have competition going into camp. You look at our forwards, our defense and you kind of go 'yeah, there's some good competition there', That's a good thing. Right now, I bet the players are all looking and going 'wow, we have a pretty good team here, we got some competition here so I need to be sharp. That's a good thing no matter what position."

 

FITTING IN

Nearly the entire Flyers roster remains unchanged from last year, especially the leadership core, which everyone from the players, coaches and management see as a positive to build off of heading into the season.

 

That being said a few key additions will join that group. Dale Weise will be joining his third team in a span of seven months, however, he played a majority of his season with the Montreal Canadiens where he recorded all 14 of his goals and 26 of his 27 points in 56 regular season games.

 

Boyd Gordon was another free agent signing by the Flyers in July. He comes to the team from the Coyotes and brings a tough, gritty style game. He is also a veteran of 693 NHL games, recording 160 points over parts of 12 seasons with the Coyotes, Washington Capitals and Edmonton Oilers.

 

SECOND HAK AT IT

This season marks the second training camp with head coach Dave Hakstol, and with most of the core players returning, it's a benefit not only to the head coach himself, but the players who are already familiar with the system and expectations.

 

"I know a little bit more than last year, just about the level, being through it for a year," added Hakstol. "I still have a lot to learn in that regard, but no question I have a better grasp of what I'm looking for and really what I'm looking at in camp."

 

In addition, below is the breakdown of groups for the first two days of camp:

 

GROUP 1: 9:45-11:30 a.m.

 

FORWARDS

10 Brayden Schenn  

17 Wayne Simmonds  

19 Jordan Weal  

27 Boyd Gordon   

38 Chris Conner  

42 Petr Straka

46 Mark Zengerle  

54 Greg Carey  

60 Roman Lyubimov  

63 Travis Konecny  

70 Danick Martel  

75 Pascal Laberge

76 Chris VandeVelde  

82 Connor Bunnaman  

85 Anthony Salinitri  

87 Kevin Sundher

 

DEFENSE

03 Radko Gudas

43 TJ Brennan

45 Will O'Neill

47 Andrew MacDonald  

50 Sam Morin

59 Jesper Pettersson

61 Philippe Myers

64 Ivan Provorov

68 Reece Willcox

 

GOALIES  

35 Steve Mason  

79 Carter Hart

86 Mark Dekanich

 

 

GROUP 2: 1:15-3:00 p.m.

 

FORWARDS

12 Michael Raffl  

21 Scott Laughton  

22 Dale Weise  

24 Matt Read  

36 Colin McDonald

37 Andy Miele

40 Corban Knight

52 Nick Cousins  

56 Tyrell Goulbourne

58 Taylor Leier

62 Nicolas Aube-Kubel

65 Radel Fazleev

71 Samuel Dove-McFalls

72 Steven Swavely

74 Chris McCarthy

81 Carsen Twarynski  

 

DEFENSE

15 Michael Del Zotto  

23 Brandon Manning  

39 Mark Alt

48 Robert Hagg

55 Nick Schultz

57 Travis Sanheim

73 Maxim Lamarche

83 Garrett McFadden

84 Brennan Menell

 

GOALIES

41 Anthony Stolarz

49 Alex Lyon

67 Martin Ouellette

 

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