|Captain Colin McDonald readies the team for the 2016-17 season, starting tonight at 7:05 p.m. ET. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey|
Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twitter/Facebook
The Philadelphia Flyers' AHL affiliate has failed to make the postseason in each of the previous seven seasons. You have to go back to the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs to see the Phantoms' name listed, and a year further back to the 2008 playoffs to find their last postseason win.
As another hockey season gets underway tonight, do the 2016-17 Lehigh Valley Phantoms fit the bill as a team that can push toward breaking the franchise's seven year hiatus from the postseason?
On paper, it's a resounding yes. But as we all know, the games are won on the ice.
"It's very exciting to see the guys that we have here, but it really doesn't matter how good you are on paper," Phantoms' captain Colin McDonald said. "We have to figure out how to play together. We have our sights set very high. We are thinking way past playoffs."
McDonald knows there are high expectations for this year's team given the amount of talented players on the roster, but he isn't concerned about the pressure that comes with those expectations.
"If you have pressure that means you are expected to win," McDonald answered, adding, "I just think there's a good excitement within this group about the guys that we have. I thought we made some big strides at the end of last season. It took pretty much all year, but we really started to figure out what it takes to be a pro and playing night and night out. I'm looking forward to see how that transfers over to this season."
Getting Familiar With the 2016-17 Phantoms
Here's a detailed, three-part preview series to get you caught up with anything you might've missed since last year's season ended.
Part 1 - Goaltenders: What to expect with the Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon duo, as well as the interesting situation goalies in the Flyers organization find themselves in as the season begins.
Part 2 - Defensemen: Tim Riday breaks down the blue line, which features elite AHL guys like T.J, Brennan and Will O'Neill as well as highly regarded prospects Travis Sanheim and Sam Morin.
Part 3 - Forwards: There's no questioning the depth and talent up front. The projected forward lines are downright scary at the AHL level.Here's a look at the 2016-17 Phantoms roster, which features 15 forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders. Lehigh Valley loaned Max Lamarche and Jesper Pettersson to ECHL Reading this afternoon.
Click on the links of those players with exclusive features done on our website already this season:
Goaltenders: 34-Alex Lyon and 41-Anthony Stolarz
Defensemen: 3-Sam Morin, 4-Robert Hagg, 6-Travis Sanheim, 8-Will O'Neill, 43-T.J. Brennan and 44-Reece Willcox
Forwards: 7-Mark Zengerle, 9-Cole Bardreau, 10-Greg Carey, 12-Tyrell Goulbourne, 13-Colin McDonald, 14-Corban Knight, 16-Nicolas Aube-Kubel. 18-Danick Martel, 19-Radel Fazleev, 21-Andy Miele, 22-Chris Conner, 23-Taylor Leier, 24-Petr Straka, 29-Derek Mathers and 40-Jordan Weal