Philadelphia Flyers Players with the Most to Prove at 2013-14 Training Camp
The Philadelphia Flyers open up training camp for the 2013-14 season on September 12 at the Wells Fargo Center, and there are a number of players with a lot to prove.
Some young players will be looking to make the roster, while others hope to make a lasting impression that could result in a midseason call-up.
A couple of other veterans whose roster spots are firmly sealed also need to make an impact to solidify added playing time at the start of the season.
The reasons vary considerably, but these six Philadelphia Flyers have the most to prove at training camp.
Tye McGinn showed some signs of promise in his stint with Philadelphia last season, but an injury cut his rookie year short.
Now, the left winger arrives at camp with a crowded group of forwards ahead of him. If the Flyers bring Simon Gagne back, which is pretty likely at this point, McGinn will be fighting for a fourth-line spot.
Marc-Andre Bourdon has still not been cleared to play because of a concussion, but he needs to get back onto the ice during training camp and play well if he wants to stay relevant.
The Flyers have a logjam of veteran defensemen right now, and only Erik Gustafsson has managed to insert himself as a likely starter. If he does not have a good camp, Bourdon risks falling into complete obscurity behind guys like Mark Alt, Shayne Gostisbehere and Brandon Manning.
Matt Read will obviously make the team and be a top-nine winger for the Flyers this year, but his exact role is yet to be determined.
Head coach Peter Laviolette is known to juggle the lines when things are not working, and if Read has an impressive camp, there would be a strong case for him to play bigger minutes on the first or second line this season.
One year removed from being the Flyers' first-round selection, Scott Laughton comes into the 2013-14 season with a number of question marks.
The 19-year-old is a natural center, but the Flyers have too much depth at the position for Laughton to break into the NHL ranks now. He will have to move to left wing to make an impact in the NHL this year, and his role is uncertain at this point.
Petr Straka was signed by the Flyers in April after he failed to agree to a contract with Columbus, who originally drafted the right winger 55th overall in the 2010 draft.
He is an extremely gifted offensive player who had a breakout 2012-13 season with Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL after two consecutive down years. Considering he's already 21 years old, Straka will be looking to make some noise right away.
Steve Mason had a phenomenal but brief end to the 2013 season after being traded to the Flyers. Expectations are now worryingly high in Philadelphia for the former Calder Trophy winner.
He needs to start training camp on a positive note and prove he will be a reliable starting goaltender again, because the tide can shift dramatically between the pipes in Philly, and Ray Emery is there to steal playing time now.