For much of the preseason, the major roster question was who general manager Paul Holmgren was going to decide to keep with the big club — James van Riemsdyk, Mika Pyorala or Blair Betts. But according to Holmgren, the Flyers want all three.
“If we were submitting rosters tomorrow, yeah, (Pyorala, JVR and Betts) would probably would be on it,” said Holmgren.
General manager Paul Holmgren told the media that he expects to make a decision on the fate of Blair Betts sometime after Saturday’s preseason game in New Jersey. He also mentioned that the status of James van Riemsdyk and Mika Pyorala will be decided later in the week, possibly after the final preseason game versus the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
In tonight’s preseason debut at the Wachovia Center against the Detroit Red Wings, the Flyers have slimmed down their roster and will be presenting a squad that will look very similar to the one on opening day.
For the first time all preseason, the team will stack its defense with its top-two pairings, partnering Kimmo Timonen with Braydon Coburn and Chris Pronger and Matt Carle.
Simon Gagne will also be making his preseason debut and a groin tweak slowed down his participation in training camp. The longest tenured Flyer will play on a line with Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk.
Goaltender Ray Emery is expected to play the entire game.
Projected line combos
Simon Gagne – Mike Richards – James van Riemsdyk
Scott Hartnell – Jeff Carter – Danny Briere
Lukas Kaspar – Claude Giroux – Mika Pyorala
Dan Carcillo – Darroll Powe – Jason Ward
Kimmo Timonen – Braydon Coburn
Chris Pronger – Matt Carle
Ryan Parent – Danny Syvret
Ray Emery – Brian Boucher
Tim Pannacio of CSNphilly.com is reporting that forward try out Mark Bell has been cut by the Flyers.
Bell, a former Ranger and Blackhawk, signed on as an early try out just weeks before training camp began. However, soft play and being quoted as saying “a two-way contract is unacceptable to me,” surely did not help his chances with the Flyers, who need roster flexibility.
After the three-game preseason road trip in which the team went 0-3, Flyers’ coach John Stevens made it public that he was unimpressed with Bell’s play, saying he played “Just OK.”
The cutting of Bell increases the chances that utility forward Blair Betts makes the team. The Flyers will likely begin to slim down their roster very shortly.
In last night’s 4-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in London, Ontario, the Flyers chased the puck and achieved very little offensively. This, matched with Tuesday’s lifeless 3-1 loss to Detroit, has some of the Flyers’ brass unnerved.
“I think (Toronto) outworked us to be quite honest with you and that’s somewhat disturbing from a Flyers’ standpoint,” Flyers’ General Manager Paul Holmgren told the Fan 590 in Toronto. “Obviously (Toronto) has a lot of guys fighting for a spot and they had a lot of fight and spirit last night.”
After a 3-1 loss to Detroit at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday, the Flyers bused to London, Ontario to take the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. The sold out game will be shown on the NHL network, however the Maple Leafs are holding back most of their tough guys, while the Flyers sit Chris Pronger, Scott Hartnell, Simon Gagne and Ray Emery. Other Flyers’ scratches will be declared at game time.
The Flyers will dress 20 in Detroit tonight as they take on the Red Wings in the 2009-10 preseason opener at Joe Louis Arena. The contest will not be aired on TV, but can be heard on 610 WIP at 7 P.M.
The likely forward lines will be..
James van Riemsdyk – Claude Giroux – Danny Briere
Scott Hartnell – Jeff Carter – Mika Pyorala
Andreas Nodl – Jared Ross – Krys Kolanos
Mark Bell – Blair Betts – Ian Laperriere
On defense, the pairs will look like this…
Matt Carle – Chris Pronger
Randy Jones – Ryan Parent
Oskars Bartulis – Joonas Lehtivuori
Ray Emery will start the game for the Flyers, being backed up by Brian Boucher.
If you were in a Voorhees, N.J. GameStop late Monday night, the dejected future NHLer you saw walking away empty-handed was Flyers’ prospect and former second-overall pick James van Riemsdyk. Van Riemsdyk tried his best to pick up a copy of EA Sports’ highly anticipated title NHL 10. But let it be known that even potential future cover models for the game don’t get early copies.
VOORHEES — With all but one forward roster spot filled for the 2009-10 season, the biggest question for the Flyers becomes … who is with who?
“I like the combination of forwards we have now,” said defenseman Kimmo Timonen. “We have three really good lines and we have a ton of guys who are competing for a spot on the team. And that’s a good situation to have going into training camp.”
The Flyers open training camp on Sept. 13 at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J. And although the team is primarily keeping the same line chemistry as last season, there will be some changes.
Hockeysfuture.com has ranked the Flyers’ top 20 prospects for the 2009-10 season, with Claude Giroux leading off the group followed by James vanRiemsdyk, Ryan Parent, Kevin Marshall and Patrick Maroon. However, after Marc-Andre Bourdon at six, the list gets somewhat erratic.