Flyers rookie training camp 2022: Tyson Foerster, Noah Cates ‘looking to dominate’

VOORHEES, NJ — Ian Laperriere said a player won’t earn a roster spot in a rookie game.

But one can certainly make an impression.

The Flyers’ 2022 rookie training camp kicked off Thursday. Day one gives way to a pair of prospect games for the Flyers at the PPL Center against the Rangers rookies.

Game action is always the best way to gauge and the Flyers will do it so close to the Phantoms’ home with main camp next week.

Although the club managed a 25-46-11 season in 2021-22, there is anxiety surrounding the Flyers Training Center. The organization turns to John Tortorella, a demanding head coach who historically runs a rigid training camp.

The players prepare.

“I think they had 40 players here two weeks ago,” Laperriere, the head coach of AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, said Thursday. “I’ve never seen that. I’ve been here 13 years, I’ve never seen that.”

Flyers-Rangers rookie games are Friday (7:05 p.m. ET) and Saturday (5:05 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).

Let’s go into three sightings from Day 1 in Voorhees, New Jersey.

“Looks like a different kid”

Tyson Foerster is healthy and, of course, can shoot that puck.

The 2020 first-round pick has always possessed an advanced shot. It’s still very good.

But what’s remarkable is that he’s starting to look more like an NHL player physically.

The 20-year-old winger missed most of last season after injuring his shoulder and undergoing surgery in November. After playing a few games at the junior level to end the year, Foerster headed to the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship this summer and won gold with Canada.

“I played the game long enough. If you’re not healthy from the start, it’s hard to build,” Laperriere said. “But he looks like a different kid. You look at him physically, he’s thicker. … I watched the world junior championships this summer and he looked like a man.”

Foerster said he now felt at his peak in terms of sharpness and strength after the injury.

He should open the season with the Phantoms.

“It’s not my decision, but I think I hope I can be with the Flyers,” Foerster said. “That’s my goal and that’s what I want to do.”

What does he want to show the camp besides his shot?

“I think about my physique,” he said. “I feel like a great player, I need to use my body a lot more.”

Foerster is listed at 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds.

“If he comes to me,” Laperriere said, “I’d be happy to work with him.”

Don’t play the numbers game

Noah Cates is the headliner of rookie camp given he has the most realistic chance of breaking into the big club’s season opener.

With a lost season, the Flyers had several auditions late last year. Cates had the most impressive performance, showing his intelligence, ability to move the lineup and score points to boot (five goals, four assists in 16 games).

“That’s obviously my goal,” Cates said of the Flyers roster fight. “I know it’s quite difficult, it’s a deep camp, a lot of good players coming back. I just focus on my game and improve.

“I know a lot of things change in training camp and throughout the year. I’m not going to get too emotional with it or go up and down looking at the guys or the numbers. Just a little focus on me myself and put my best foot forward every day.”

The 23-year-old striker looked good on Thursday. The 2017 fifth-round pick had to prove himself through hard work.

“The speed of the game and the stamina, in 82 games,” Cates said of his offseason training. “I really worked on the skating, I’m getting a little bit faster. … I try to go there every day, every other day, hard enough, to be ready to skate with the big guys.”

He should be alongside Foerster in at least one of the rookie games. Keep an eye on this line.

“Young big and strong with a good shot,” Cates said of Foerster. “Really excited to work with him. Try giving him the puck because he can really shoot it. Definitely a really good prospect for the Flyers.

“We’re definitely looking to dominate, do really well and put pucks in the back of the net. I think we have to do that, we’re older and that’s kind of what’s expected of us. I have really looking forward to it.”

Big wins for ‘Big Z’

Egor Zamula tends to smile whenever asked about his weight.

He knows that adding strength is important for his size and position.

What did he learn from his 10 NHL games last season?

“I need to build muscle,” Zamula said. “To be better in 1v1s, in front of the net, play harder every shift.”

He achieved that goal in the offseason. He gained 12 pounds of muscle. The 6-foot-3 defenseman now weighs 192 pounds. He weighed 160 pounds in 2018 when he was an undrafted product and invited to training camp on an amateur tryout.

Laperriere noticed the improved strength of Zamula and defender Wyatte Wylie.

“It’s good for them,” he said. “That means they put in the work in the summer. … They realized they had to gain weight and they did. For me, that’s part of being a pro, you have to recognize your weaknesses and there. remedy in the summer.”

Both are entering their third year at the professional level and will play significant minutes at Lehigh Valley.

Bonus Notes

Olle Lycksell, a talented 23-year-old Swedish striker, scored some fine goals during practice. He is ready for his first season with the Phantoms.

• Product of West Michigan Ronnie Attard posted his shot on a goal from the point. The 23-year-old defenseman is pushing for the Flyers after getting a taste of the NHL last season.

“Attard is a big boy,” Laperriere said. “I’m delighted to see him play on Saturday.”

Alexandre Gendron, a 2022 seventh-round pick, has shown his scoring touch at various times. His father Martin Gendron is on the Flyers’ amateur scouting staff.

Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers

Noah Cates, Tyson Foerster and Egor Zamula.

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