The hiring of John Tortorella and the early arrival of so many veterans have created good vibes among the Philadelphia Flyers.
Veteran camp starts Sept. 22, but most of the veterans have been working out and skating at the Flyers Training Center for at least a couple weeks.
“Just having everyone here shows the excitement for this upcoming season,” defenseman Travis Sanheim said during a news conference Tuesday at the team’s practice facility in Voorhees. “Everyone’s happy to have all the bodies back and see what we can do being at full strength.”
Full strength? Does that mean Sanheim knows something about the team’s No. 1 defenseman, Ryan Ellis, that no one else has revealed?
Sanheim, who won the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Philadelphia Flyers’ best defenseman last season, was asked if he had talked with Ellis — and if the veteran was optimistic he could play early this year.
“I haven’t spoken with him recently. I spoke with him the summer, and most of the things sounded positive,” Sanheim said. “We’re hoping for the best for him and hoping he can get back out there. Obviously, he’s a big piece for our group, and if we can add him this season, that would would be a big add for our D corps.”
Ah, but last month, Tortorella said he didn’t believe Ellis would be ready when training camp started.
Ellis played just four games last season because of a pelvic injury.
“I’ve had several conversations with Ryan, as far as how he’s doing,” Tortorella told NHL.com. “That’s been an up-and-down process for him.”
He said Ellis was “doing everything he possibly can to get ready for camp,” but that “I’m doubtful that’s going to happen.”
That means Tony DeAngelo figures to join Ivan Provorov on the top pairing when the season starts. Sanheim is expected to again be together with Rasmus Ristolainen on the No. 2 pairing.
The Flyers are expected to give a medical update on Ellis next week. Make no mistake, his condition is the key to the season.
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