Gordon: "There Will Be A Lot Of Expectations"

Sunday, October 2, 2016
Phantoms are putting together a talented roster for the upcoming season. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
High Expectations for Phantoms in 2016-17

Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twitter/Facebook

Allentown - Lehigh Valley Phantoms training camp might have just opened this weekend, but that doesn't mean expectations for the team aren't already high.

"I think when you look at our group, there will be a lot of expectations from within the group as well as from outside the group," Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon said after Saturday's opening training camp practice. "To me, it's just putting it all together and how quickly we can get up to speed," he added, noting that the team needs to stay healthy this season.

They weren't on the ice Saturday, but the Phantoms received a significant boost as the practice came to an end when the five players the Flyers put on waivers - defenseman T.J. Brennan and forwards Greg Carey, Chris Conner, Andy Miele and Petr Straka - all cleared and were officially assigned to Lehigh Valley.

"Obviously there's still some players up in Philadelphia that we are waiting on," the Phantoms' head coach said. "Knock on wood, the key thing for us like any other team is to stay healthy and stay away from what we went through last year. We certainly have some quality people here, we just have to put it all together."

The opening day of training camp wasn't as strenuous as your typical first day. Instead, it was a chance for the coaching staff and players to get on the same page before a week of practices leading up to the preseason.

"Because of our veterans not being at development camp, there were some things I wanted to touch on so that as we move through the season and we talk about things they'll at least have an idea of what the prospects that were at development camp did and hopefully be able to get everyone on the same page with it," Gordon explained.

All the moves the organization has made over the summer in addition to the incoming rookies and the city of Allentown hosting this year's AHL All-Star Classic has the fans, players and coaches alike feeling a little extra buzz during camp this fall.

"It's been a long stretch here of not making the playoffs," Gordon said, adding, "I think that's something that everyone wants to do and it's long overdue."

Phantoms' Roster Taking Shape

The Philadelphia Flyers still have to make a few decisions on some players still on their NHL roster to get down to the 23-man roster, which is potentially good news for Lehigh Valley.

On Sunday, the Flyers reduced their roster by three - sending defenseman Philippe Myers back to juniors, Travis Sanheim to the Phantoms and placed Will O'Neill on waivers with the intent of assigning him to Lehigh Valley as well if/when he clears at noon on Monday. The moves leave the Flyers with 29 healthy bodies, meaning that six more players must be either loaned to their respective junior team (only Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov remain as junior-eligible players) or reassigned to the AHL with the Phantoms.

On the bubble: defensemen Andrew MacDonald, Sam Morin and Ivan Provorov and forwards Travis Konecny, Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier, Roman Lyubimov, Colin McDonald, Matt Read, Chris VandeVelde and Jordan Weal

While it may be easy to say that Morin, Leier and McDonald will be reassigned to Lehigh Valley, where they spent a majority of last season, there are still decisions to make on the final three cuts from the Flyers roster after that.

Best case scenario for the Phantoms is that both Provorov and Konecny make the Flyers roster and two extra players are waived and sent to Lehigh Valley to begin the season.


Goaltenders (4): Anthony Stolarz, Alex Lyon, Mark Dekanich and Martin Ouellette

Defensemen (7): Will O'Neill (on waivers until noon Monday), T.J. Brennan, Travis Sanheim, Robert Hagg, Max Lamarche, Jesper Pettersson and Reece Willcox

Forwards (14): Greg Carey, Chris Conner, Andy Miele, Petr Straka, Mark Zengerle, Steven Swavely, Tyrell Goulbourne, Corban Knight, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Danick Martel, Radel Fazleev, Chris McCarthy, Derek Mathers and Kevin Sundher


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