Flyers have roster to start season, Tortorella has ‘blueprint' for his build


John Tortorella isn't kidding himself.

He knows why he was brought in to be head coach of the Flyers.

To fix them. And the fixing could take time.

After all, when the Flyers omitted themselves from "the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes," Tortorella and general manager Chuck Fletcher mentioned the importance of stabilizing first.

"Is it time to sign a free agent like that?" Tortorella said in July. "I think we have a little bit of building to do here and a little bit of growing."

The Flyers will start their build Thursday night when they open the 2022-23 regular season against the Devils at the Wells Fargo Center. Following a grueling training camp and a 1-4-1 feeling-out process of a preseason, Tortorella has his season-opening roster.

But still plenty to figure out about his players.

"We're going to be patient in trying to build this team," Tortorella said Monday after practice.

The 64-year-old bench boss wants the Flyers to start stabilizing by dictating their effort and principles. Over the last two seasons combined, the club allowed 3.56 goals per game, tied for the worst mark in the NHL. Playing the right way and grinding out the opposition will be the Flyers' focus because Tortorella noted how it's not a team filled with goal scorers.

"Everybody's looking for skill. The game is that way now, the speed and skill," Tortorella said. "But you are who you are. I think it's important as a coaching staff that you're coaching the people to try to put them in the best situation to succeed.

"I do think we have to score by committee. I don't want the players that, I guess you'd call them maybe your third or fourth lines, resting on just keeping the other team off the board. We need to get something out of them. We need to get something out of our power play, to kick in a goal or two along the way here. Because I do believe that's how we're going to have to play. We're going to defend, we're going to try to defend the proper way in front of Carter [Hart] and whoever else plays, and work from there.

"How it all works out? I have no idea. But I know how we feel about what the blueprint is, how we want to approach this team as we start the season."

With the Flyers' roster decisions, Wade Allison, Tanner Laczynski and Egor Zamula were left off the submitted roster as paper moves. They've been recalled and added back to the roster.

So Allison, Laczynski, Noah Cates and Hayden Hodgson won jobs at forward. Nick Seeler earned his way into the season-opening lineup on defense. More on Cates and Hodgson here.

Zamula and Ronnie Attard, two prospects on the back end, could head to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley once the season starts. The Phantoms open their season Saturday night and the Flyers want their prospects playing games, not being NHL extras.

Zack MacEwen and Jackson Cates were among the final cuts. MacEwen and Cooper Marody cleared waivers Monday and reported to the Phantoms. Cates was loaned to Lehigh Valley before practice Monday.

Laczynski won the fourth-line center job. He was battling with Cates for the spot. The Flyers will open the regular season without centers Sean Couturier (back) and Patrick Brown (back).

Tortorella said Cates had a "really good camp."

"For me, not knowing him, just learning about his injury (at the end of last season), everybody raved about how he just improved, his conditioning level, everything about it," Tortorella said Monday. "He just improved so much. I thought he had a really good camp. I think we'll see him here eventually. So today's meeting, when we talked to him, I thought it was a very positive meeting for him because he took a step in the right direction."

In a span of about a year and a half, Laczynski underwent two hip surgeries and a core muscle procedure. He has worked hard to overcome those injuries. Being healthy for camp and to play five preseason games was refreshing for Laczynski.

"Going through that camp is tough on the body, but for me personally, I didn't really know how the body was going to hold up after all the surgeries and kind of taking time off," he said. "But I felt good, it feels good to still be here and I'm just ready to keep going at it, keep working."

The four-year Ohio State product is a two-way type of center with some offensive upside. With him being 25 years old, the Flyers know the time is now to see if he can be an NHL regular and a piece moving forward.

Laczynski has centered Hodgson and Nicolas Deslauriers on the fourth line.

"A bit of an identity line we're trying to develop there," Tortorella said.

Like Laczynski, Allison has also fought injuries in his career. When healthy, his ability to impact a game is obvious. The winger turns 25 years old on Friday.

"I feel good, man, I've put in the work, I've worked my ass off," Allison said Monday. "I do believe I deserve it, but I don't make the calls, so I'll wait and find out tonight."

He was happy to be in a position to find out with Laczynski.

"He's one of my good buddies, so to see one of your good buddies succeed like that, that's always something really cool," Allison said. "That's something special. It's good to see because I've seen him work so hard and go through so much."

The 29-year-old Seeler was pegged as the team's seventh defensemen to open camp but grabbed the final job on the blue line. He prides himself on hard work in the defensive zone and team-oriented qualities. Last year, with Rasmus Ristolainen injured, Seeler cracked the season-opening lineup. He re-signed with the club in May after the season.

"I think he's a guy that plays with a ton of energy, one of the best conditioned athletes we have," Tortorella said. "I think he rubs off on people, I think he brings people into the fight the way he plays. Want to see him. I think he deserves a look here in playing against top competition in the league."

Seeler felt there was a good chance he'd click with a coach like Tortorella.

"Not knowing him on a personal level, but just knowing him from watching him coach and the teams he's coached and how successful he's been as a coach, kind of what he brings, that mentality," Seeler said Monday. "I think we have similar mentalities, where it's like you earn everything you get, you be accountable for your teammates and you be accountable for yourself. I think that's winning hockey. I think it's going to rub off on everyone."

Samuel Ersson won the backup goalie job. The 22-year-old Swedish native had an excellent preseason and is needed with Felix Sandstrom nursing a lower-body injury. Sandstrom has practiced the last two days but apparently will need some more time.

Cam Atkinson (upper body) did not play in any of the Flyers' six preseason games and hasn't practiced with the club since the preseason ended. But Tortorella said Atkinson will practice Wednesday and he's optimistic about the winger's status for the opener.

Here's how the Flyers looked in practice Monday, sans Atkinson. If the club does have Atkinson on Thursday, a forward will have to come out.


Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny

James van Riemsdyk-Morgan Frost-Wade Allison

Joel Farabee-Noah Cates-Owen Tippett

Nicolas Deslauriers-Tanner Laczynski-Hayden Hodgson


Tony DeAngelo-Ivan Provorov

Travis Sanheim-Rasmus Ristolainen

Nick Seeler-Justin Braun

Egor Zamula-Ronnie Attard (extra pair)


Carter Hart

Felix Sandstrom

Samuel Ersson

"I think there could be some rotating people coming in and out of here until we kind of settle what they are when they're playing in a National Hockey League game or a couple of weeks that mean something in the National Hockey League," Tortorella said. "I can't make predictions. We're just going to see how they react."

Here's the Flyers' roster, with the additions of Allison, Laczynski and Zamula. It was submitted with 20 players and expanded to the max of 23.

Forwards (13)

Wade Allison

Cam Atkinson

Noah Cates

Nicolas Deslauriers

Joel Farabee

Morgan Frost

Kevin Hayes

Hayden Hodgson

Travis Konecny

Tanner Laczynski

Scott Laughton

Owen Tippett

James van Riemsdyk

Defensemen (8)

Ronnie Attard

Justin Braun

Tony DeAngelo

Ivan Provorov

Rasmus Ristolainen

Travis Sanheim

Nick Seeler

Egor Zamula

Goalies (2)

Samuel Ersson

Carter Hart

Injured reserve (1)

Sean Couturier

Long-term injured reserve (1)

Ryan Ellis

Injured non-roster (3)

Bobby Brink

Patrick Brown

Felix Sandstrom

Subscribe to and rate Flyers Talk

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Contact Us