Manning Trying To Make The Most Of Opportunity

Saturday, September 19, 2015
Brandon Manning works a puck out of danger from Flyers' forward Matt Read Friday at Virtua Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ. Photo credit: Nina Weiss
Brandon Manning had to have felt pretty good about things as the 2014-15 season ended.

He had re-signed a one-year, one-way NHL contract with the Philadelphia Flyers and appeared to be poised to earn a spot on the Flyers blue line this fall, especially after GM Ron Hextall traded defenseman Nicklas Grossmann to the Arizona Coyotes - thinning the depth chart to seven guys on the back end on one-way deals.

The addition of Evgeni Medvedev to a one-year deal worth $3 million this summer puts Manning back into a fierce battle among seven other defensemen to not only make the NHL roster, but to get some regular ice time. Manning practiced with the main group Friday as Flyers training camp opened, but he knows his work is cut out for him if they don't make a trade and move another defenseman.

"I just want to keep proving that I belong at this level," Manning told The Home News in an exclusive interview after practice Friday, adding, "Whether that’s playing for a spot on this team, or proving to the organization that I belong here. Every day I’m just trying to get better, learn from the older guys and do what I can to stick around here as long as I can."

Manning was on a 4th pairing with Luke Schenn Friday, while Medvedev along with Mark Streit, Nick Schultz, Michael Del Zotto, Andrew MacDonald and Radko Gudas comprised the first look at the top-six defensemen in training camp. While he's on the outside looking in currently, it didn't stop Manning from training extensively to come into camp in better physical shape than last year.

"It was right back into it," Manning said after he took a little time away from the game after last season ended. "I probably dropped 4 or 5 pounds this summer to get a little quicker/faster out there," he added. "I feel a lot better out there too. Obviously I played a lot of minutes last year and if I’m around here that won’t be the same. I feel the better shape you are in the easier the game is. It kind of slows down for you, so I just tried to come in in as best shape as I could."

The first day of training camp was rigorous, but Manning said everyone was expecting that. Just like every player, Manning looks forward to the preseason. It is, after all, another chance for Manning to make an impression.

"You want every chance to be able to prove yourself," Manning said about looking forward to the preseason. "When you’re practicing against your own players there is only so much you can do or show the staff/management. The games are where you can prove you belong against NHL players."

Manning seems to be doing and saying all the right things at Flyers training camp so far, but ultimately it will be his job to make the management's decision a tough one regarding what roster to put him on.
"The longer you stick around here the more opportunities you’ll have."


Post a Comment