Note: This is a season series running on Thursday mornings looking at three Flyers stars and one dud for the past week. The first edition was published last week.
3rd Star: Scott Laughton
Travis Konecny may be the most impressive forward in Philadelphia Flyers camp (more on that later) but Scott Laughton is the most improved.
He played two of the three preseason games this week and in both looked like a genuine NHL player. He was hard on the forecheck, strong defensively and even scored a goal against the New York Rangers Tuesday night.
After a few years of “will he, won’t he” questions regarding Laughton’s reputation as an NHL player, it’s great to see him contributing at both ends of the ice. He should be locked for the fourth-line center, but if he keeps playing like this, more is in store for the 23 year old.
2nd Star: Travis Konecny
I’ve said before that I don’t believe Konecny will have a breakout season this year. If he keeps playing like he is in preseason, though, I’ll be wrong.
The 20 year old looks faster, is protecting the puck even better than he did in his rookie season and is continuing to get under the opposition’s skin. Konecny played in all three preseason games this week and his lines were consistently one of the Flyers’ best.
It’s almost shocking that he only has two points (both scored Tuesday) over this past week. However, those were crucial points. The first was a secondary assist on Oskar Lindblom’s goal before Konecny scored the game-winner in overtime, attacking the net with abandon.
1st Star: Travis Sanheim
In the past week, Sanheim has accounted for 43 percent of the Flyers’ goals, or three out of the seven the team has scored over the last three games.
Late last week, I wrote about how Sanheim was making a case to stick with the Flyers, but after the two other games he looks even closer. Against the Boston Bruins, he scored the lone Philly goal on somewhat of a lucky shot. Tuukka Rask never saw the puck.
But his two goals against the New York Rangers Monday were pure skill. The first was a blast of a shot that beat Henrik Lundqvist clean and the second was an offensive move in front of the Swedish goalie.
Tuesday night, Sanheim struggled a bit at the start. He was forced into a turnover on the Rangers’ first goal, but defended afterwards well. On the second, he screened Brian Elliott but was playing the front of the net on the penalty kill. However, by the second period he was back to his usual self.
Sanheim has created a very good problem for general manager Ron Hextall to decide over the next week.
Dud: Jake Voracek
I wrote yesterday that Voracek is off to a slow start this preseason, and while I think it’s just working out the offseason kinks, there’s no denying he hasn’t looked like his usual self.
The Czech Republic native has turned the puck over way too often on the power play and his passes have been off slightly at all situations. He has shown some promise with Claude Giroux but neither have much to show for it.
However, Voracek is too good of a player to not get through this. It’s simply an early season bump that he should be over by the time the season starts next week.