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Sometimes, Players Need To Step Back Before Moving Forward



Helge Grans at Development Camp in Voorhees.
Helge Grans at Development Camp in Voorhees.

If you closely follow the Philadelphia Flyers, you’re aware not only of the players on the NHL roster but the prospects, too.

That’s just hockey fans being hockey fans, you know.

Philadelphia Flyers fans, of course, know Travis Konecny and Owen Tippett. They probably also know Helge Grans’ hometown (it’s Ljungby, Sweden, just in case).

And they also know Zayde Wisdom and Linus Hogberg.

Fans latch onto favorite players and want the best for them. But sometimes, the best for an individual is a trip to the minor leagues.

That’s what happened to Cam York after last year’s training camp. He went to Lehigh Valley and returned with a vengeance, turning his 20-game Phantoms voyage into establishing himself as a key defenseman in the Flyers’ future.

Big Jump From Draft To NHL

Hockey players are drafted when they’re 18 years old. Few make the jump from the draft into the NHL. But imagine these kids, stars in their hometown and on their Junior team or college teams — good enough to get drafted. And they immediately get demoted, in a sense.

Once training camp gets here in September, some players will make the Flyers, others will be sent down to the AHL Phantoms or back to their Juniors team. Some might be fan favorites.

“It’s a process,” Flyers assistant director of player development Nick Schultz said recently.

“The American [Hockey] League, for most kids, they think it’s terrible if they’re in the minors. It’s a development league. It’s the next best league in the world.

“They can’t get down that they’re in the minors. It is a process. We want to make sure when they get to the NHL, they stay at the NHL level. So I think they have to understand that.

“You saw with Cam York last year, you need a little bit of time. It’s not just a given. If you’re a first-round pick, second-round pick, high prospect, there’s these other guys that are going to push some of these kids in the fifth, sixth round.

“It’s a young draft. Getting picked at 18, there aren’t many kids who step in at 18 and are effective in the league unless you’re a high-end talent.”

Schultz’s job title is player development, a strong area of emphasis for general manager Daniel Briere and the organization.

“We’ve added a lot of people there to help in that department,” Briere said. “It’s something we take very seriously. Try to help these players become the best players that they can be.”


Coming at 10 a.m. — Sam Carchidi column on an area where the Flyers are surprisingly strong.


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Around The National Hockey Network:

Boston Hockey Now: Milan Lucic might “tear up” on his return to TD Garden.

Buffalo Hockey Now: Sabres reportedly lock up Jacksonville as affiliate in ECHL.

Calgary Hockey Now: Excitement returning to Flames’ locker room.

Chicago Hockey Now: Remembering the steal of a deal in acquiring Patrick Sharp from Flyers.

Colorado Hockey Now: Six bargain free agents the Avalanche could consider.

Detroit Hockey Now: New Red Wings disclose why Detroit was their choice.

Florida Hockey Now: University of Wisconsin’s Owen Lindmark balances studying and Panthers’ Development Camp.

Los Angeles Hockey Now: Kings’ Development Camp disappointments.

Montreal Hockey Now: Former Canadiens’ top pick Alex Galchenyuk placed on waivers.

Nashville Hockey Now: Predators’ Ryan O’Reilly not interested in a rebuild. Let’s contend.

New Jersey Hockey Now: Devils coach Lindy Ruff concerned about being too young on defense.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry says he’s 100 percent.

Vegas Hockey Now: Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy launches non-profit in honor of family friend who died in boating accident.

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