|The Phantoms will be practicing at PPL Center Saturday morning. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey|
Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twitter/Facebook
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms reported to training camp Friday, and will partake in their first on-ice practice of the season Saturday morning at the PPL Center as the first day of AHL training camp gets underway.
While the Philadelphia Flyers still appear to have about 10 expected AHL players still on the NHL roster, there will be at least 18 players expected to be on the ice Saturday at Phantoms camp. The Flyers put five players - defenseman T.J. Brennan and forwards Greg Carey, Chris Conner, Andy Miele and Petr Straka - on waivers. If they clear waivers tomorrow at noon, they'll be AHL-eligible and placed on the Phantoms roster.
Below is a look at who has been reassigned to the Phantoms already and is expected to be practicing tomorrow. After the jump, a full preview of the participants.
On The Phantoms Training Camp Roster
Goaltenders: Anthony Stolarz, Alex Lyon, Mark Dekanich (AHL contract) and Martin Ouellette (AHL contract)
Defensemen: Robert Hagg, Max Lamarche (AHL contract), Jesper Pettersson and Reece Willcox
Forwards: Radel Fazleev, Tyrell Goulbourne, Corban Knight (AHL contract), Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Danick Martel, Derek Mathers (AHL contract), Chris McCarthy (AHL contract) Kevin Sundher (AHL contract), Steven Swavely (AHL contract) and Mark Zengerle (AHL contract)
2015-16 AHL Stats: 47GP, 21-18-7, 2.60 GAA, .916 SV%, 0 SO
Stolarz knows the situation he is in entering his third season of professional hockey. The Jackson, New Jersey native sits third on the organization's depth chart behind Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth and is the clear number one goalie for the Phantoms entering the season. He looked sharp in both his preseason outings, especially the first half of last Wednesday night's game against the New Jersey Devils.
WATCH: Anthony Stolarz spoke to media following the Flyers' 2-0 win over New Jersey.
2015-16 ECAC Stats: 31GP, 19-8-4, 1.64 GAA, .936 SV%, 5 SO
Alex Lyon will be turning pro this fall in the Flyers organization, as the highly-regarded free agent from Yale University chose a one-year deal with Philadelphia. Similar to Stolarz, Lyon also had a strong preseason and looks to transition to the pro game in the AHL this year.
READ: Alex Lyon impresses Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol
2015-16 ECHL Stats: 35GP. 20-9-4, 2.16 GAA, .925 SV%, 2 SO
Dekanich is a former AHL All-Star goaltender who went overseas for two years and is now transitioning back to North America, having been in the ECHL with South Carolina - the Hershey Bears' affiliate.
2015-16 ECHL Stats: 31GP, 17-10-3, 2.10 GAA, .922 SV%, 4 SO
Ouellette was mainly an ECHL goaltender in Reading last year, but came up to Lehigh Valley late in the season and played very well at the AHL level. He and Dekanich look to form a formidable duo in Reading this year and provide added goaltending depth for the Flyers' minor league system.
2015-16 AHL Stats: 65GP, 5G-6A, -11, 42 PIM
Hagg's second year was a down year for the Swedish defenseman, having trouble from the onset as he tore his oblique in the beginning of the season. Head coach Scott Gordon really had to re-work Hagg's game and he showed improvement in the final 10-12 games of the season. It's a big year for Hagg in 2016-17 to prove that he's a legitimate prospect that has an NHL future with all the talented defensemen in the system.
READ: Deatiled breakdown of Hagg's second full year of pro hockey.
2015-16 AHL Stats: 29GP, 1G-5A, -4, 21 PIM
Lamarche split last season between Reading and Lehigh Valley, and was primarily a third pairing defensemen during his time with the Phantoms last year. Following the completion of his entry-level contract, Lamarche was signed to an AHL-only deal this offseason. With the depth the organization has on defense at the pro level this year, Lamarche projects to starting the year in the ECHL and joining the Phantoms when injuries arise.
EDIT: With Mark Alt injured and out indefinitely, Lamarche might end up battling for an AHL roster spot out of camp.
2015-16 ECHL Stats: 43GP, 4G-16A, +12, 20 PIM
Pettersson was primarily an ECHL defender last year after spending most of his rookie season of pro hockey in the AHL with the Phantoms. The undersized Swede plays bigger than his size might suggest, and will provide minor league depth on the blue line this season.
2015-16 ECAC Stats: 33GP, 2G-11A, -1, 2 PIM
Willcox joined the Phantoms late last season following the completion of his senior year at Cornell University. The stay at home defender will be turning pro for his first full season at the AHL level this fall, and will need to learn to use his size and strength to his advantage to make his mark.
READ: Willcox is excited for the pro experience
2015-16 WHL Stats: 59GP, 19G-52A, +17, 46 PIM
A teammate of Travis Sanheim's with the Calgary Hitmen last year, Fazleev broke his hand in the WHL playoffs and was unable to get into any AHL games with the Phantoms last spring. While he was unsure of what his role will be this season, he has played in the NHL preseason with bottom-six type players - perhaps a sign of things to come with Lehigh Valley this year.
2015-16 AHL Stats: 73GP, 7G-10A, -7, 75 PIM
Goulbourne was a tough customer in the AHL last season, with several strong showings with the gloves off in his rookie year with the Phantoms. When he plays his game, a simple hard-nosed grinding type that people hate to play against, he's very effective. Consistency and staying within his skill set are two things he's looking to accomplish in 2016-17.
READ: Breakdown of Goulbourne's rookie season and also a story on Goulbourne's thoughts on the AHL's new fighting rule.
2015-16 AHL Stats: 33GP, 4G-7A, -11, 8 PIM
A former University of North Dakota product under Dave Hakstol, Knight split time between the Portland Pirates (AHL) and Florida Panthers (NHL) last year, where his NHL number (2G-5A in 20 games) were arguably better than his AHL production. Crazy to think a guy who played 20 of his 29 career NHL games last season was signed to an AHL contract, but that's not going to stop Knight from being the reliable, two-way worker that he is for the Phantoms this season.
2015-16 QMJHL Stats: 61GP, 38G-46A, +38, 71 PIM
Aube-Kubel (commonly referred to as NAK) joined the Phantoms late last season following a shortened playoff run with the Val d'Or Foreurs. NAK possesses goal scoring ability, evidenced by his first career AHL goal in the waning games of the 2015-16 season. As is the case for most rookie forwards entering the pro realm from Canadian junior hockey, playing a full 200-foot game consistently on every shift and the physicality of pro hockey will be a challenge early on.
READ: Aube-Kubel gained valuable experience last spring.
2015-16 AHL Stats: 67GP, 22G-15A, -11, 68 PIM
The small, speedy Martel frustrated opposing defenders with not only his speed and skating but with his tenacity last season. While he's still working on his play without the puck and in the defensive zone, Martel's got the right workmanlike mentality and hopes for a more well-rounded, consistent sophomore campaign in the AHL.
2015-16 AHL Stats: 54GP, 6G-16A, -2, 19 PIM
A Collegeville, Pa native, McCarthy signed an AHL contract with the Phantoms this summer after two years with the Hartford Wolf Pack organization. He'll need to make a great impression from day one to make the Phantoms' opening night lineup.
2015-16 AHL Stats: 10GP, 3G-2A, -2, 8 PIM
Sundher joined the Phantoms last November and started to produce offensively before a scary looking leg injury basically ended his season. He returned in the spring and played in a few games in the ECHL with Reading, but admitted he couldn't skate well and was ineffective. The Phantoms brought him back on an AHL contract for 2016-17 and he's very thankful for another opportunity with the organization.
2015-16 H-EAST Stats: 38GP, 9G-10A, -12, 26 PIM
Reading, Pa native Steven Swavely joined the Phantoms on a PTO last spring following his senior season at the University of Maine, and was a strong penalty killer in the Phantoms bottom-six forward core in 15 AHL games last year. That experience should pay dividends this year - his first full season at the pro level, whether it's with Lehigh Valley or his hometown Reading Royals.
READ: Swavely excited to be in Flyers organization
2015-16 AHL Stats: 72GP, 9G-38A, +2, 34 PIM
Zengerle was arguably one of the top free agents on an AHL contract last year, and he chose the Phantoms this summer. He formed quite a duo with Andy Miele in Grand Rapids last year, and the two hope to re-connect in Lehigh Valley this fall.
- The Philadelphia Flyers put defenseman T.J. Brennan and forwards Greg Carey, Chris Conner, Andy Miele and Petr Straka on waivers. If they clear waivers tomorrow at noon, they can be reassigned to Lehigh Valley (AHL).
- Among those still in camp with the Flyers is 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). They're getting an extended look from Ron Hextall and the Flyers.
- Wednesday 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!