Tyson Foerster has been the Philadelphia Flyers’ prospect getting all of the offseason buzz.
He would be the preseason All-American, if hockey had such a thing. Some publications even mentioned him as a contender for the Calder Trophy, given to the league’s top rookie.
His strong season at Lehigh Valley and eight statement games with the Flyers — scoring three goals and four assists — have generated a bunch of attention from media across North America.
The consensus: He was Philadelphia bound and he wasn’t looking back.
“Personally, I know a lot of things can happen, but I’m not expecting him back in the Valley,” Phantoms coach Ian Laperrière said at Flyers Rookie Camp in Voorhees on Thursday.
“He’s got his mind set. You walk around him, he’s confident, he’s got that swagger about him that I love, everybody loves. He’s probably going to be at the next level and be there for a while.”
Foerster spent most of the summer training in Voorhees. “I went home [Alliston, Ontario] for a couple of weekends here and there,” Foerster said at Rookie Camp.
Foerster knows he’s on the cusp of an NHL career and he was determined to work this summer to get there. “Speed and strength; just getting bigger,” Foerster said about his workout goals this summer.
“Everybody in the league is really big and you just want to be strong and battle strong on your stick.”
His brief NHL exposure all but convinced experts he has the game to compete at the sport’s highest level.
“Scoring goals you’re going to get confidence no matter what, no matter where you are,” said Foerster, the 23rd overall pick in the 2020 draft.
“Just being able to do that and the guys have helped me so much, especially Joel [Farabee], being welcoming. It’s been good and I’m looking forward to the season.”
Foerster, who has been living in Farabee’s house, has taken on a leadership role with the rookies and prospects at camp.
“This is also a spot where I can show what I can do,” Foerster said. “It’s a little bit of both, a little leadership but also pushing the guys to get better.”
Laperrière coached Foerster for 20 games last season with the Phantoms. Foerster scored 20 goals and 28 assists. Laperrière sees the growth in the 21-year-old right wing’s game.
“He had the swagger all year,” Laperrière said. “He carried a load, especially offensively.
“Every time a kid gets called up, I watch their games. We all do, as a staff. We’re proud of those kids and we want to see how well they do.
“When the Flyers called him up, he was a different player than he was two years ago and that’s great. He was managing the puck like a veteran out there.
“We all know he can shoot the puck. We all know he can make plays. But there’s more to that in this league. A lot of guys can shoot the puck and they can score but they can’t play in this league because there’s other things around that. Tyson improved so much last year.”
The knock on Foerster has been his skating. Not to worry say the player and his coach.
“I think I proved myself a bit last year and I don’t think my skating is bad at all,” Foerster said. “I think I’m a pretty good skater now and I want to show that.”
Said Laperrière: “He works. He’s not a bad skater. He’s not a smooth skater like other kids you’ll see out there. He’s not gliding out there. He works.
“I’m not worried about the skating. He’ll never be a TK [Travis Konecny]. TK’s a helluva skater. But he works. He’ll probably get at the same point at the same time because of his work ethic. I’m not worried about that at all.”
Laperrière said the next two weeks — Rookie Camp and Training Camp — are important for Foerster as he tries to secure his roster spot.
“It’s one thing to make the NHL, but you have to stay here,” Laperrière said.
“The way the Flyers are doing things right now, it’s a rebuilding like Danny [Briere] said it. So, those kids are going to have to be on their toes every day when they’re here. I’m not worried about Tyson. I think he’s going to be here.”
Foerster thinks so, too. Or, at least he thinks he’s up for the challenge.
“Yeah, I think that’s everybody’s goal that’s here to make the Flyers,” he said. “That’s for sure my goal and yeah I think I’m ready.”