97.5 The Fanatic Flyers Weekly Roundup: Defining The Rebuild
Training camp is underway, and 97.5 The Fanatic has the Flyers Weekly Roundup to catch you up on everything going on over in Vorhees.
Danny Briere and John Tortorella spoke to the media about the steps of the rebuild and expectations heading into 2023-24. A newfound sense of optimism based on the long-term future just might help the sentiment around the team under a new organizational structure.
The Philadelphia Flyers certainly have a long way until they’re back to Stanley Cup contention. Will they continue to take the beginning steps this season?
Danny Briere on Season Expectations, Rebuild
The rookie GM has openly admitted the dreaded “rebuild” that was off limits during the Chuck Fletcher era. He spoke about overall expectations for 2023-24, a season with very low expectations on the ice.
“It’s about the future. It’s about the development. It’s about how we come together as a team. That’s how we’re going to judge success…We’re not trying to lose. We’re trying to develop our guys, hopefully in a winning culture, but (in) an environment where they leave everything they have on the ice every single night. I hope and think that our fans will respect that.” -Danny Briere
The city of Philadelphia is all too familiar with tanking. “The Process” hasn’t led to success for the 76ers, and the Flyers plan to handle the rebuild a lot differently.
The plan is to develop young players as part of the future without short-term expectations in the standings, but also without prioritizing a poor final record for the sake of lottery odds and draft positioning.
“It’s a fine line where you want to give the young guys a chance, and Torts did a tremendous job of that last year, but at the same time not putting them in position to fail. That’s the part that we have to gauge. Put them in good position so they can grow and get better.” -Briere
Regardless of how fans feel about tanking, Briere and the organization won’t deliberately use the strategy.
A finish with the NHL’s fourth-worst record (like in 2021-22) or the seventh-worst record (like 2022-23) is more likely than a last-place finish and the highest odds in the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery, for better or for worse.
John Tortorella Setting The Standard
The head coach is a key piece of the rebuild, which isn’t true in most comparable situations. John Tortorella set the standard for performance on and off the ice in 2022-23. He plans to take the next step in 2023-24, and he pointed out on Sept. 21 that young players have a golden opportunity right in front of them.
“It’s a land of opportunity here. When you’re a team that has very publicly stated that we’re starting over and trying to get this right, there is opportunity. It’s always interesting to see what happens in a camp when there is that opportunity.” -John Tortorella
Tortorella employed his expected Herb Brooks-esque strategy with the infamous “bag skate” on the first day of camp. It wasn’t his intention to dump the pucks out of the bag. It was time for sprints.
“It’s more of a test. I felt our guys could handle it, and they did,” the former Stanley Cup winner said winner said. “That’s the key. That’s building a standard of what you have to do.”
A coach who has won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL Coach of the Year twice brings a track record that players must respect. He runs as tight of a ship as you’ll find in the modern era of professional sports.
Briere is quick to explain the whole story about a head coach who has a reputation among some people around the NHL for striking fear into players.
“Torts is a demanding coach, no doubt about it. He’s fair and to the point, but he has a knack to let the players know that he cares about (them). He has a knack because it’s genuine. He cares about his players. When you hear him talk about his players, he really cares about them. He wants the best out of them. He doesn’t care what they think of him. He just wants to get the most out of them because he knows how far he can push them.” -Briere
Flyers Roster Outlook From 97.5 The Fanatic
One preseason injury will throw pretty much all lineup projections out the window. However, there are a lot of things to watch before the Flyers meet the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 12.
Locks: Sean Couturier, Morgan Frost, Noah Cates
In the Mix: Ryan Poehling, Tanner Laczynski, Elliot Desnoyers
Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson will look to regain rhythm coming off long-term injury absences. They’ll need to develop chemistry with emerging centerpieces like Owen Tippett, Noah Cates, and Joel Farabee. Tyson Foerster hopes to mark his claim as a long-term building block.
Locks: Travis Sanheim, Rasmus Ristolainen, Cam York, Sean Walker, Marc Staal
In the Mix: Nick Seeler, Egor Zamula, Emil Andrae, Ronnie Attard, Adam Ginning
Young defensemen like Egor Zamula, Emil Andrae, and Adam Ginning will look to earn spots in the lineup against veterans Marc Staal, Sean Walker, and Nick Seeler.
Locks: Carter Hart
In the Mix: Sam Ersson, Felix Sandstrom, Cal Petersen
Carter Hart will unquestionably own the crease based solely on performance. No news about the Hockey Canada investigation has advanced the plot on an incredibly murky and unfortunate situation. Sam Ersson, Felix Sandstrom, and Cal Petersen will compete for the backup spot during camp and the preseason.
Get ready to hear about the demands of Flyers training camp over and over “AGAIN!”