|Forward Andy Miele signed with the Flyers on July 1st. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey|
Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twitter/Facebook
On the surface, Andy Miele looks to be an elite offensive forward - small, speedy and skilled. He's a former Hobey Baker winner, and in his five years at the professional level he's been a near point-per-game player (311 points in 355 AHL games).
Despite terrific numbers in the AHL, Miele has yet to be given a legitimate chance to prove his worth in an NHL setting - totaling just 15 career NHL games with the Arizona Coyotes organization.
After two years with the Detroit Red Wings organizations saw him play entirely with Grand Rapids in the AHL, Miele chose a change of scenery this summer when he signed with the Philadelphia Flyers.
"It seems like there's an opportunity here whether if its out of camp or to get a call up, it's pretty good," Miele said, adding that the Flyers showed interest and had nothing but good things to say. "I've heard nothing but great things about the organization and great things about Lehigh Valley, so both situations are ideal."
"I said at the beginning of camp that you only get one first impression," Miele explained of his situation. "I'm trying to take advantage of that and get on their good side right away. Just continue to get better everyday and do what they're expecting me to do."
Miele isn't the only former Grand Rapids Griffins forward joining the Flyers organization for the 2016-17. Funny enough, according to Miele, one of his closest companions signed with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms just a few weeks after he did when Mark Zengerle inked an AHL contract with the Phantoms over the summer.
"We played together for the last two years," Miele said of his familiarity with Zengerle. "I love playing with Mark. He sees the ice amazingly and he competes and wants to win."
The two formed what Miele called a pretty close bond last year, traveling on the road as roommates throughout the season. Both could be on the Phantoms' roster this fall.
"We did really well on the power play together - I loved having him on the power play with me," Miele said of the duo he formed with Zengerle on the ice. "He's a great addition and makes players around him better. That's what you have to love in a teammate."
Miele knew a few other guys on the Flyers training camp roster coming in, but having that familiar face in Zengerle in the locker room has to make the transition to a new organization that much smoother.
It's kind of funny how it all worked out that way," Miele explained. "[Zengerle] and I joked that we were a package deal going into the summer. He called me right away when he was about to sign with them so we were excited."
Looking Ahead to 2016-17
Having familiar faces and a close friend on the team isn't the only thing Miele is excited about as the 2016-17 season is just around the corner.
"In the summer, every time I saw another signing it just made me even more excited," Miele said, adding, "There's nothing better than being on a winning team that can make a playoff push. That's why you play and it should be an exciting year."
The Phantoms franchise has missed the AHL's Calder Cup Playoffs each of the last seven years, but Miele is confident he can be part of that group that extends the season past mid-April.
"I can only imagine what a great town it would be with a playoff team," Miele answered. "All I have heard was how great the support is there, so to be a part of something special to be on that first playoff team in seven years is going to be exciting."
In Case You Missed It
- The Philadelphia Flyers today announced another 10 roster cuts, sending goaltenders Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon, defensemen Robert Hagg and Reece Willcox and forwards Radel Fazleev, Tyrell Goulbourne, Corban Knight, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Danick Martel and Mark Zengerle to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
- Among those still in camp with the Flyers are Miele (featured above), forward Taylor Leier (whose mindset is to make the Flyers this year) and defenseman Will O'Neill (who looks forward to being on the other side of the Pennsylvania hockey rivalry). While all three are projected to begin the season in the AHL, they're getting an extended look from Ron Hextall and the Flyers.
- Last night, Travis Konecny was the star of the show as the Philadelphia Flyers shutout the New Jersey Devils 2-0 in NHL preseason action at the PPL Center in downtown, Allentown - home of the Flyers' AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
- In case you missed it, I launched Highland Park Hockey's YouTube channel and posted my first video interview of the season last night - catching up with goaltender Anthony Stolarz. Be sure to check that out and make you're subscribed to stay up to date with all the latest news!