Note: This will be a season series, usually appearing on Thursdays, looking at the top three Flyers of the week and one dud.
Star #3: Travis Konecny
Konecny was one of the few locked forwards to play in two preseason games so far and he made the most of it.
Despite not scoring in Sunday’s opener, Konecny was heralded for his play with rookies Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick. HockeyBuzz’s Bill Meltzer called him “the biggest catalyst on the line” and said he played a “feisty and competitive game.”
On Wednesday night, Konecny played a part in both of the Flyers’ goals, scoring 52 seconds into the game and assisting on TJ Brennan’s power play goal late in the third period.
Star #2: Jori Lehtera
Before training camp, Lehtera was somewhere on the fence for making the Flyers. He may not have locked himself in as an everyday player yet, but he’s off to a great start.
Philly needs penalty killers and the Finn proved he can do that over the first two games of the preseason. He even showed an offensive flair on the man-disadvantage, scoring one shorthanded goal, and adding an assist Sunday afternoon.
Lehtera centered the first line in both games usually with Dale Weise and Matt Read providing some offensive capability too. That may start to diminish against NHL rosters but it was a good first two games for the former Blue.
Star #1: Taylor Leier
In the second period of last night’s game in Allentown, I was planning on including Leier somewhere on this list. Then he scored his second of the night and cemented himself as the number one star.
Besides the goals, Leier was the best Flyers forward Wednesday night, flying all over the ice and taking a number of quality shots that just missed by inches. It’s entirely possible that he could have ended with a hat trick.
Like most, I’m not sure this increases his stock much to make the team — it’s simply a numbers game at this point — but it’s earned him at least a longer look in camp and helps to keep his spot as one of the first Phantoms call-ups.
Dud: Brandon Manning
Manning led the Flyers defense in Allentown last night with most NHL games played, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by watching him. He made mistakes with the puck commonly, ran around a little too much and took two penalties (to be fair, in a heavily called game). He was also a part of scrums multiple times.
I see what Manning was doing by playing a tough game. He’ll likely be the seventh defenseman this year, but wants to do more. He’s trying to play a tough game to appeal to the fact that the Flyers have no enforcers and several rookies.
But it would have been better to see Manning play as the veteran he is with a calm demeanor and the ability to make the right move with the puck — especially against AHL and junior competition.