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Bobby Brink Has Key Role with Flyers; Risto May Play in Opener

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Bobby Brink, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo from Flyers' Twitter feed)
It appears right winger Bobby Brink will get a chance to play a key role for the Flyers at the start of their 2023-24 season. Photo: Flyers.

Based on Tuesday’s practice, Bobby Orr Brink will be in the Philadelphia Flyers’ starting lineup in Thursday’s opener in Columbus, and Tyson Foerster will be a healthy scratch.

The rookie right wingers have been in a spirited competition during training camp. Both played well.

Brink was on the top line Tuesday with Sean Couturier and Joel Farabee, and coach John Tortorella also had him on the No. 1 power-play unit.

“He had a really good camp, and he’s a player that we don’t have a lot of,” Tortorella said after practice in Voorhees, referring to Brink’s shiftiness, playmaking, and ability to see the ice. “He deserves to be here and we’ll see where it goes.”

Brink, who is wearing the No. 10 jersey because of his admiration for soccer star Leo Messi, said he was excited to play alongside Couturier and Farabee.

“Right now, I’m playing with two really good players, experienced players, and they’ll help me along,” he said. “I think that we can make a lot of plays together.”

This will be Brink’s first season-opener with the Flyers.

“Really excited. Really cool moment to make the opening-night roster,” he said.

General manager Danny Briere said Brink was probably the Flyers’ best forward during camp.

All during camp, Briere and Tortorella said roster openings were there for the taking. It wasn’t just lip service.

“Danny and Torts said there was going to be an opportunity at camp, and they put us in a lot of good positions,” said Brink, a 5-foot-8, 169-pounder. “I think there were some guys who really took advantage of the positions they put them in. And some guys are getting some early opportunities here.”

Brink, Foerster, defenseman Emil Andrae and goaltender Sam Ersson are rookies on the roster.

Brink’s middle name comes from Boston great Bobby Orr.

“My dad loved hockey and named his three kids after hockey players,” Brink said. “My middle brother is Joseph Henry after Maurice Richard, (whose full name is Joseph Henri Maurice Richard,) and the young one, Henry, was named after Henri Richard.”

Team’s lineup

Here were the Flyers’ lines, pairings and goaltenders¬† at Tuesday’s practice:

Lines

Couturier centering Farabee and Brink.

Morgan Frost centering Owen Tippett and Cam Atkinson.

Noah Cates centering Scott Laughton and Travis Konecny.

Ryan Poehling centering Nic Deslauriers and Garnet Hathaway.

Defense

Cam York and Travis Sanheim.

Marc Staal and Sean Walker.

Egor Zamula and Nick Seeler.

Emil Andrae and Rasmus Ristolainen.

Goalies

Carter Hart, Sam Ersson and Sandstrom.

Risto’s status

Ristolainen was placed on the injured reserve list Monday, but the 6-4, 221-pound defenseman was at practice Tuesday and Tortorella was “encouraged” he would play Thursday. The Flyers can backdate his seven-day IR stint, making him available to play.

If Ristolainen is activated, the Flyers will need to drop a player from their roster. It’s likely they would try to sneak Sandstrom through waivers.

Power play appears set

The Philadelphia Flyers’ power play was last in the NHL last season, connecting at just 15.6 percent. It will have a new look this season.

At practice Tuesday, the top unit had four players who weren’t with the team at the start of last season: Brink, Couturier, Atkinson, and York.¬† Konecny was also with the unit. Couturier and Atkinson, of course, missed last season with injuries.

The second unit Tuesday was composed of Farabee, Tippett, Frost, Cates, and Sanheim.

Clever nickname

Briere dubbed the unit of Delauriers, Poehling and Hathaway “the PhD line.” “Sounds like a lot of schooling,” Hathaway cracked.

Breakaways

Tortorella praised the steady play of the righthanded-shooting defenseman Walker and fourth-line right winger Hathaway. He also said Zamula has had an impressive camp. … Laughton called Tuesday’s energetic session “the best practice of camp.”

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