Philadelphia Flyers Prospect Camp: Day One Review


As over 30 young prospects came to Philadelphia Flyers’ Prospect Camp at the Flyers Skate Zone on Wednesday, careers were started and paths to the NHL were cleared. Those paths may be long and winding, but each of these players has a unique opportunity to one day play for a major league team in the best league in the world.”It’s an education for these kids,” said Chris Pryor, director of Hockey Operations. “Actually, it’s an education for all of us. We get the chance to evaluate, but also to set them on a path as far as training regiments go. It’s a conditioning camp, first and foremost.”

Here are some notes from the opening day of camp:

Best Player

Marc-Andre Bourdon

Defenseman

Drafted 3rd round, 67th overall in 2008

2009-10: Adirondack Phantoms (AHL)

One of the oldest players on the ice, Bourdon was incredible. During both drills and the scrimmage, he controlled the pace and other players seemed to look to him to show them how to act and what to do. His serious attitude and impressive skill set shined above anyone else on day one of prospect camp.

Bourdon’s game reminds me of a young, not as talented Chris Pronger. Don’t get me wrong, this guy won’t be winning any Hart Trophies in his career – and most likely won’t even get close to the Norris. But his style of play is very similar to that of Pronger. He is not the fastest player, but is big, strong, smart and is always in the right place. His vision on the ice is incredible and he always seems to make the right play on the ice. His defensive game is very strong. He will never leave his position for the sole purpose of making a hit, but don’t be mistaken – if given the perfect opportunity, he will slam an opposing player onto the ice.

Most of all, Bourdon is calm. At one point, he had two forecheckers converging on him. Instead of just throwing the puck away like many would do, he simply looked up, ricocheted the puck off the board to his defensive partner, then nimbly dodged a check. Because of the defensive depth on the Flyers blueline, Buordon will most likely not get an opportunity to make his NHL debut in the 2010-11 season. But don’t be surprised if you see him as an NHL regular in October 2011.

Surprise, Surprise!

Mike Testwuide

Right Wing

Undrafted (Signed with Flyers on March 19, 2010)

2009-10: Colorado College (WCHA)

To be honest, I had never heard of Mike Testwuide before I saw him at prospect camp. Having played for Waterloo in the USHL, he was a fairly talented player who had very little offensive upside. However, at 6-foot-2, 216 pounds, he is a very strong player – though he doesn’t always play like he is.

Nonetheless, he showed great speed during the scrimmage and was throwing his body around effectively. He also scored a goal during the scrimmage, throwing a shot in off a rebound in front of the net. Although he most likely will never be more than a checking-line forward, Testwuide showed real potential playing with other young players. The next step for him will be to continue honing his skills in the AHL after graduating from Colorado College this past season.

Looking Grim…

Adam Morrison

Goaltender

Drafted 3rd round, 81st overall in 2009

2009-10: Saskatoon Blades (WHL)

Morrison was a huge off-the-board pick by the Flyers at the 2009 draft. Having been ranked as the 24th best North American goalie (not a very thrilling accomplishment), the Flyers took him 81st overall in the third round. Having had a fair amount of success as a backup in the WHL in the 2008-09 season, Philadelphia believed he would only improve. However, his numbers fell and his team got worse as he faltered in net.

During the scrimmage at rookie camp, Morrison looked both weak and uncomfortable in net. Though his positioning was good, he looked slow, out of shape, and simply not up to the job. He gave up two goals in just one period of the scrimmage game – more than any other goalie that played. If Morrison hopes to become a goaltender in Philadelphia, he really needs to step up his game and improve his skill set.

Wild Card

Sergei Bobrovsky

Goaltender

Undrafted (Signed with the Flyers in May 2010)

2009-10: Novokuznetsk (KHL)

Bobrovsky had incredible numbers in the KHL, but had expressed a strong desire to play in the NHL, the best league in the world, as he called it. Having no grasp on the English language, Bobrovsky spoke to me through an interpreter and explained how he must work hard and continue to improve if he wants a chance in the NHL. He respects the KHL and the development that took place there, but he understands the prestige of playing North American hockey and becoming a star goaltender.

Bobrovsky looked okay from a technical standpoint, but he looked extremely uncomfortable playing on a North American sized rink – the first time he had ever done so. He explained that he must take time to get used to the difference in game style in order to improve himself.

Look for Bobrovsky to get significant playing time in the AHL this year with the Phantoms.

Alan Bass is a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com. In addition to writing for Inside Hockey and Pro Hockey News, he has also worked for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College hockey team as well. You can contact him at BergHockey24@gmail.com.

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