We’ve known the situation the entire offseason. Flyers president Keith Jones told us. General manager Daniel Briere said so. At the opening day of training camp, Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella confirmed it.
More than that, Tortorella all but gave his all-important seal of approval.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ rebuild means there could be jobs available with the big club when the regular season starts on Oct. 12. And not just one or two jobs.
“This thing’s wide open,” Tortorella said Thursday at the opening of Flyers Training Camp. “We certainly don’t have all the answers as far as what our lineup is. I thought guys progressed last year, some of our kids, especially our forwards ended progressing quite a bit.
“It’s a land of opportunity here.”
Jones and Briere have emphasized the necessity of young players getting their chance to play in the NHL.
“When you’re a team that has very publicly stated that we are starting over and trying to get this right — there is opportunity,” Tortorella said. “It’s always interesting to see what happens in a camp when there is that type of opportunity.”
Tortorella arrived in Philadelphia before the 2022-23 season with a reputation for depending on veterans and especially when the going got rough. The kids? Not so much.
“I think it’s a perception out there that is not quite right about Torts,” Briere said.
“I was one of those, too, before we hired him — I thought Torts was gonna just lean on the vets. The more I talked to him, the more I got to know him.
“First of all, you look what he did last year. He wasn’t afraid to use rookies or young players in tough situations. In talking to him, he’s excited about this. He’s excited about working with the young guys.
“He doesn’t care if it’s a veteran or a young guy. He’ll use the player that’s deserving and the players that he feels is ready for it, rookie or not they’ll get the chance.
“Look how he used Noah Cates last year. He put him in really tough matchups all year long. He wasn’t afraid to.”
Tortorella sounds encouraging and welcoming about playing the young players. He recognizes the potential importance of young players to the Flyers’ future success. It’s a rebuild. Gotta take your lumps along the way.
“The team’s probably going to be younger just as you look at the layout, especially our back end. That is definitely young,” Tortorella said.
“We’re going to have some horror shows at night in certain games with our young back end. But we’re going to work with them. We’re going to live through some of the mistakes and see what we have there.
“When veteran guys leave, it opens up more spots for the young guys to grow. The last 25-30 games last year, I was playing kids all over the place.
“I told you guys and I told the players: They’re getting the time. We’re going to continue to grow it that way. There’s always a next step.
“In my mind, we were rebuilding last year. I don’t care what we said or what was allowed to be said. In my mind, we were rebuilding.”