PHT Morning Skate: On David Booth escaping death last summer


–The Flyers will be without Andrew MacDonald for a month. That might open the door for youngster Samuel Morin, who made the roster out of training camp. Morin’s NHL-ready, per the Flyers, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fits in. (Courier-Post)

–Team USA and Team Canada’s Women’s teams played the first game of the “The Time is Now Tour” in preparation for the 2018 Olympics. Team USA came out on top. (USA Hockey)

–The Score takes a look at three teams that made a big statement over the weekend. The Maple Leafs bandwagon has picked up a lot of steam since last season, but the Senators took care of them on Saturday night. (The Score)

–The Colorado Avalanche look better this year than they did all of last season, but they’ve been hit by injuries lately. Both Tyson Jost and J.T. Compher will miss an extended period of time. (Denver Post)

Riley Sheahan went 79 games without a goal last year, but the Penguins felt like a fresh start in a new city is exactly what he needed, so they went out and acquired him from Detroit over the weekend.  “It’s been a crazy last day, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity. I’m leaving behind a great organization and some great teammates, but I’m definitely excited for the change of scenery and to get started with such an awesome organization.” (Pittsburgh Tribune)

–David Booth, who is a trained pilot, had a scary experience last summer. After getting an invite to Ducks training camp at the last minute, he decided to fly to Anaheim on his own. Booth had some tense moments in the air after his engine failed. Thankfully, the story has a happy ending. (Sportsnet)

–Youngster Anthony Beauvillier has faced some adversity already this season. After a couple of mediocre performances, Beauvillier was made a healthy scratch. Now, he’s out to prove he belongs in the lineup every night. “You can always find positive things out of that but you never want to sit for a game,” Beauvillier said. “It’s kind of hard. You’ve just got to keep working hard when it does happen. You just have to go out there and make sure it doesn’t happen again.” (

–The Edmonton Oilers swapped Jordan Eberle to the Isles for Ryan Strome. Unfortunately for them, the deal hasn’t worked out so far, but there’s still plenty of time for Strome to figure things out. (

–The Golden Knights have had some tough luck when it comes to keeping goalies healthy. Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban are both out of the lineup right now. Don’t expect them to make a trade for a goalie because this season isn’t about wins and losses. It looks like Oscar Dansk will be their guy. (

Niklas Kronwall, who played in his 800th game on Saturday night, has had plenty of issues with his left knee. In an attempt to get healthy, Kronwall admitted to trying stem cell therapy. “When you get to this point, you’re basically trying everything. That’s definitely something that’s out there and I think it’s becoming more and more, I don’t know if popular is the word.” (Detroit Free Press)

Max Pacioretty and the Montreal Canadiens are off to an awful start. As the losses continue to pile up, so does trade speculation. But Habs Eyes on the Prize believes that trading Pacioretty away would be a huge mistake. (Habs Eyes on the Prize)

–Speaking of the Habs, Andrew Shaw was accused of using a homophobic slur in Anaheim on Friday night, but the NHL looked into the matter and decided he didn’t do what he was accused of doing. As you may remember, Shaw was suspended one game for using a homophobic slur a couple of years ago. (

Flyers could gain in lengthy loss of Andrew MacDonald


It’s not right to celebrate the injury of Andrew MacDonald, but it’s fair for Philadelphia Flyers fans to at least consider the silver linings.

The oft-criticized defenseman (who was booed during warm-ups during the Flyers’ season-opener) is expected to miss four-to-six weeks after blocking a shot by Edmonton Oilers forward Mark Letestu during Philly’s eventual win on Saturday.

MacDonald, 31, tried to fight through the pain and even briefly returned, gaining praise from teammates and coaches alike. Here’s the painful-looking play that caused the injury:

Flyers fans – and fans of other NHL teams, as almost all have a contract or two they’d like to give the “Men In Black” treatment to – should remember to hate the contract, not the player.

(If you’re going to boo anyone, do so to management, as that bad deal happened right around the time Ron Hextall was transitioning to GM. It’s probably not as much on Hextall, but it’s not inconceivable that he gave a thumbs up, too.)

Anyway, with the 31-year-old on the shelf and his $5M cap hit being IR-bound, the Flyers should have plenty of room to call someone up, if they’d like. That’s where things get interesting, as the Courier-Post’s Dave Isaac ranks among those pointing out intriguing defensive prospect Samuel Morin as a potential replacement.

Morin, 22, is a towering, Pronger-sized defenseman. He could slide into some of MacDonald’s roles, as both are going to be counted on for their own-zone work more than offense. Even in the AHL, Morin was known for stacking up penalty minutes more than points, although he’s off to a higher-scoring start so far this season.

While MacDonald has struggled from a possession stats perspective (as Flyers fans will likely tell you, possibly loudly), he’s far from alone in that regard. The team is middling in possession categories, and MacDonald doesn’t look all that out of place when you consider “relative” stats in 2017-18.

It will be fascinating to see if Morin can help in that regard, and really, how he fits into the modern NHL.

A defenseman his size will need to work harder to stay in position and not get burned against faster, attacking teams. With the Flyers’ host of fleet-footed, scoring blueliners, Morin could serve as a nice change-of-pace.

(Isaac also points to Mark Alt as an option, if the Flyers feel like now isn’t the time for Morin.)

With three wins in their last four games and a five-game homestand wrapping up against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, the Flyers have a lot of good things going. As promising as the present can be at times, it’s still the future that makes this group most tantalizing. Perhaps we’ll get a glimpse at how Morin might fit into the puzzle, then?

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.


How many rookies will be on Flyers’ opening night roster?


The Philadelphia Flyers are coming into this season with arguably the best prospect pool of any team in the NHL.

They’ve done a terrific job of drafting and signing young talent over the last couple of years, and this preseason has just confirmed that.

There are a number of rookies vying for spots on their opening night roster, but how many of them will the Flyers actually keep?

It sounds like as many as six rookies could break camp with the team, which is remarkable.

Defensemen Travis Sanheim, Samuel Morin, Robert Hagg, and forwards Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom, and Taylor Leier all have an opportunity to stick with the big club in 2017-18.

Sanheim, Morin and Patrick were all selected in the first round of their respective drafts, while Robert Hagg (second round), Lindblom (fifth round), Leier (fourth round) were all selected with later picks.

Of the six players mentioned above, only Leier would have to clear waivers if he was sent to the minors.

After he scored a pair of goals during one of last week’s split-squad games, Leier received praise from head coach Dave Hakstol.

“That’s what you love about Taylor. You know what you’re going to get from him,” Hakstol said, per CSN Philly. “He’s the guy who knows and understands the detail of the game. He’s a pretty consistent performer in the role that you give him.”

As for Lindblom, he’s found a way to impress some of his teammates.

“He’s a smart player who knows where he has to be to put the puck in the net,” Voracek said earlier this month, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. “He was one of the best forwards in the Swedish League last year. I would say that’s pretty impressive at his age.”

It’ll be interesting to see how many youngsters they end up keeping around when it’s all said and done. Of course, most of these players can easily be sent to the minors even if they do break camp with the team.

Dressing three rookie defensemen probably isn’t a recipe for success in 2017-18, but the long-term benefits could be gigantic for the organization.

Flyers send big Samuel Morin to AHL


The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they’ve assigned defenseman Samuel Morin and forward Taylor Leier to the AHL.

Morin, 21, is the best known of the two, having been the 11th overall draft pick in 2013. A big, tall defensive defenseman, he’s coming off his first pro season, scoring four goals with 11 assists in 76 games for Lehigh Valley. (He also had 118 penalty minutes, which tells you something about his style.)

Though Morin has yet to play his first NHL game, and while he doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, the Flyers still like him as a prospect.

“First of all, Sammy skates well,” GM Ron Hextall said recently, per PhillyVoice. “Sam is not old school where he doesn’t skate very well. He moves well, he’s a big guy who has great range. You still have to get the puck back, so guys like Sammy are not going to go away. I think the guys that started to go away are the guys who aren’t very fleet of foot.”

The future of the Flyers’ blue line is still unfolding. Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov are both sure bets to be part of it, and management liked Radko Gudas enough to give him a four-year contract extension. But Mark Streit, Nick Schultz, and Michael Del Zotto are all pending unrestricted free agents, and Andrew MacDonald, despite his contract, will need to keep proving he belongs in the NHL.

So while Morin may be disappointed that he’s yet to establish himself with the Flyers, there are opportunities to be had down the line.

Related: Travis Konecny pushing for roster spot in Philly

Looking to make the leap: Ivan Provorov


This post is part of Flyers Day on PHT…

He wasn’t the first defenseman drafted in 2015 — that was Noah Hanifin, who went fifth overall to Carolina — but at least one prominent draft expert felt that Ivan Provorov was the “best defenseman” available.

“And I think there’s a clear separation,” added TSN’s Director of Scouting, Craig Button. “To me, he’s an elite, number-one defenseman. Offensively. Defensively. He’s got the precision of a Swiss watch.”

The Flyers got Provorov with the seventh pick, adding yet another talented defensive prospect to their growing stable. The targeting of d-men through the draft was intentional. It followed the club’s struggles to replace Chris Pronger, who last played an NHL game in 2011. The Flyers were also unsuccessful in their attempt to pry Shea Weber out of Nashville.

“We believe that you build from the back end out, and Ivan is going to be a big part of our defense moving forward,” GM Ron Hextall said after drafting Provorov. “We’re really excited to have him. Really good all around player, great hockey sense.”

Not surprisingly, Provorov did not make the Flyers as an 18-year-old. He was returned to the Brandon Wheat Kings, where he led all WHL d-men with 73 points and was named the league’s best blue-liner.

This season, he wants to make the NHL, and he thinks he’s ready.

But he’ll have plenty of competition at training camp. The Flyers already have six d-men signed to one-way deals, plus there’s Shayne Gostisbehere, who’s not going anywhere. In addition to those seven, there are the other young hopefuls like Samuel Morin, Travis Sanheim, and Robert Hagg.

“They have to come in and be better than someone else that’s here,” Hextall said of the youngsters that will be hoping to crack the lineup. “If that happens, we proved last year that we’ll make room in our roster for a young player that proves to us that he’s ready to play at this level and make our team better.”

Related: For the Flyers’ defense, the future is nearly here