Philadelphia Flyers Training Camp is still a few weeks away, but that hasn’t stopped the players from getting to work. Several Flyers players have been spotted at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ, including a few of the newcomers.
The Flyers have a handful of new faces in Orange and Black this season. Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Cam Atkinson headline the group with Keith Yandle, Derick Brassard, Martin Jones, and Nate Thompson among the others.
Ellis & Ristolainen bulk up Flyers’ blue line
Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen were brought in to bulk up the Flyers’ blue line. By the looks of it, the Flyers are going to be a much harder team to play against this season. Both defensemen were acquired via trade in July.
Ellis, 30, was caught off guard by the trade. He is going into the third year of an eight-year contract that he signed with the Nashville Predators. But he’s ready to get started in Philadelphia.
“Little shocked with everything going on,” Ellis said after the trade. “First time going through it. It’s a bit of a shock to the system and to me and my family. Nothing but looking forward from here. We’re excited to get there, get settled, and start a chase for the Cup.”
Ellis is an established veteran that should bolster the Flyers’ top pair.
Ristolainen, on the other hand, is looking for a fresh start in Philadelphia. He didn’t have a great start to his career in Buffalo despite playing big minutes.
Ristolainen was surprised as well, but he sensed that something was coming.
“Yeah, I’m just home, enjoying my Friday night and I got a call from [Buffalo Sabres GM] Kevyn Adams. He told me I was traded,” Ristolainen said in July. “I was obviously a little bit surprised, but I knew that something might happen this off-season and this weekend.”
“Obviously, we had really, really tough years in Buffalo. I played a big part. I was one of the leaders there and we couldn’t make the playoffs. That’s not good. Obviously, when that’s the case, you get to make some moves and players gets traded,” Ristolainen said. “I’m very excited to go to Philadelphia and I’m going to do anything I can to help the team make the playoffs and have a run there. All I care is to win and I don’t care what my role will be. I just try to do anything to help the team win.”
The big Finnish defenseman is expected to slot in on the second pair with Travis Sanheim. A clean slate for Ristolainen with a lesser workload could do wonders for the defenseman.
But that wasn’t all.
Getting a handle on Yandle
The Flyers also signed Keith Yandle to a very team-friendly one-year, $900,00 contract. He’ll give the Flyers some extra depth on the left side and another power-play option.
Yandle was on the ice at the Skate Zone on Wednesday.
Yandle was more than excited to sign in Philadelphia.
“I think seeing what Chuck’s done even before free agency and making moves, making big moves. Just helping the team get better. I thought it was a no-brainer for me and being able to see what he did before today and tomorrow and see how active he was,” Yandle said after signing. “It just seems like it’s a win-now situation and that’s something that I’m all about. I thought it was the best fit.”
Keith “Ironman” Yandle has played in 922 straight games. That’s the longest active streak and second-longest all-time. He is only 42 games shy of tying Doug Jarvis’ 964-game streak from October 8th, 1975 to October 10th, 1987. Yandle’s streak started all the way back on March 26th, 2009.
“It’s one of those things I definitely take pride in it,” he said of the streak. “I’m blessed to be able to not only just play one game in this league, but I got my thousandth game last year. To play a bunch in a row is definitely something I take pride in, but it’s just one of those things you got to see how the next day comes.”
Yandle should slot in as the Flyers’ third left defenseman, but Cameron York is knocking on the door as well. The Flyers tweeted out a video of York mic’d up at Development Camp last week. The kid’s got a great personality that Flyers fans are going to love.
mic check, mic check. 🎤🔊
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) September 8, 2021
York may need some extra seasoning in the AHL, which couldn’t hurt, but when he’s ready to make the next step, the Flyers will call him up. “I think Cam’s play will dictate when he arrives in the NHL,” Chuck Fletcher said after signing Yandle.
Up front, Cam Atkinson was the team’s main acquisition. It was a one-for-one trade with Columbus for Jakub Voracek, who returns to the Blue Jackets. Atkinson has been enjoying Philly life.
“I love Columbus, but I couldn’t be more excited to join the Flyers organization. I personally think I’m going to fit in very well,” Atkinson said while donning a Gritty t-shirt after the trade. “Know a couple guys on the team already. Special teams, I think I’ll help out as well, especially with PK. I think I fit the mold pretty well. I’m super excited.”
Oskar back on the ice
It’s not just newcomers working out early, though. We’d be remiss if we didn’t include a shoutout to Oskar Lindblom.
Lindblom returned to the ice last season after his battle with cancer. He was rocking some purple stick tape this week in Voorhees.
Lindblom had 14 points (eight goals, six assists) last season, but the important number is the 50 games played. He was able to endure the season, even after dealing with COVID-19, and should be a key part of the Flyers’ forward depth this season.
Flyers players back on the ice is a sight for sore eyes. The 2020-21 Flyers season ended just over four months ago on May 10th. It was a frustrating season, but the team is re-energized with a few new faces in the room.
We are just five weeks away from the regular season and less than three weeks away from the Flyers’ first preseason game. Hockey is going to be back before you know it.
Photos via Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers