VOORHEES, N.J. — Flyers player development coaches John Reilly and Kjell Samulesson are running this year’s development camp, which kicked off Thursday at Skate Zone. And after Friday's morning session, Reilly met with the media to discuss what he’s seen so far out of the team’s prospects.
But Reilly again stressed the point general manager Ron Hextall has driven home numerous times recently — this is not an evaluation camp.
“[Hextall] has said several times and it’s been our mantra with the players throughout, not only today, but over the past few years, that we’re truly not evaluating them,” said Reilly, who worked as a scout for the Flyers for six years before moving to his current role in 2014.
“There are some things you can pick up. … You see physical differences. You see a guy who can skate a little bit better than someone else. Or you see, ‘Ok, there’s something we need to work on with this player.’“
Reilly was hesitant to pick out a specific player or two who has made an impression during the camp's early stages because he didn’t feel like that was a fair thing for an evaluation camp.
But he did say he’s looking forward to working with the recent draftees in their first development camp.
“The returning players and forwards I work with throughout the year — I have a pretty intimate knowledge of their game and their strengths and weaknesses. Nothing is going to jump out with them,” Reilly explained. “The guys who were drafted 10 days or so ago — I’m just getting to know them. First impressions are first impressions and then I’m trying to study their game and analyze their game.”
The new players’ first impressions continue throughout the weekend and end with the camp’s annual grand finale, Tuesday’s Trial on the Isle event in Stone Harbor, New Jersey.
Still no Sam
Towering defensive prospect Sam Morin, who will turn 21 on Tuesday, was once again absent from drills on Friday morning.
The 6-foot-7, 220-pounder was excused from Thursday’s sessions as Hextall said Morin was “under the weather.”
No further update was given on the 2013 first-round pick on Friday. His status for the rest of the development camp is still unknown.
Don’t try this at home
Flyers coaches put the forward prospects through a couple of unique drills on Friday morning.
First, the coaches had them put the toe of one skate blade down on a puck and use the other foot to skate down the ice. Everybody’s ankles came out unscathed.
Then the coaches broke the players off into pairings and had one player kneel with the toe of his stick on the ice so the rest of it was elevated. Think of it like a bridge. The other player then had to repeatedly jump back and forth over the elevated stick. This was done on both feet and just on each foot. Poor Mike Vecchione, a camp invitee from Union College, fell pretty hard on his back with an audible thump while attempting a one-footed leap. He shook it off and got right back into the drill. He is a hockey player, after all.