Mike Testwuide and Philadelphia Flyers' Prospects Impressive in Rookie Game
The Flyers trailed for most of the contest, but rallied to tie the score with only four-and-a-half minutes remaining in the third period. However, they could not pull out the win, as the Caps scored the game-winning goal only three minutes later.
But the value of the prospect game does not lie in the final score. The game allows fans to witness the Flyers' young talent on a level playing field, allowing for legitimate evaluation.
So which players stood out for the Flyers during the rookie game?
Testwuide Lives Up to the Hype
During the past few weeks, Flyers fans have read numerous articles that have implied that Mike Testwuide has a legitimate shot at making the roster out of training camp.
This seems unlikely, to say the least. Testwuide is a free-agent signing out of Colorado College, a sought-after prospect that the Flyers were able to nab last season. But after taking a look at his statistics, it does not appear likely that the 23-year old is ready for the pros quite yet.
He scored 26 goals during his senior season in college. However, his numbers as a senior were not as impressive as James van Riemsdyk's statistics as a freshman and sophomore, and JVR struggled with consistency during his rookie year.
But more importantly, there's just no space.
With the addition of Bill Guerin on a tryout contract, Flyers will likely need to drop either Darroll Powe or Daniel Carcillo if Guerin is to make the team. The chances of Testwuide beating out both Guerin and an established veteran forward seem very unlikely.
Nevertheless, Testwuide had a very strong performance in the prospect game.
He took full advantage of his 6' 3" frame, and looked to have very good hockey sense. He had an assist on Ben Holmstrom's shorthanded goal on a two-on-one rush. His crisp passing throughout the game was very impressive as well.
Testwuide may not have a place on this 2010 roster. But after a year of seasoning in the AHL, he could be a an option as a top nine forward for the big club.
Bobrovsky a Mixed Bag
Sergei Bobrovsky, another free-agent prospect signed by the Flyers in the past year, has quickly turned into one of the team's top young talents.
With the position always in flux in Philadelphia, any young goalie prospect is greatly anticipated by the fans and management. While Joacim Eriksson may eventually prove to be the Flyers' best goalie in the pipeline, Bobrvosky is far more NHL-ready.
The young Russian has impressed in camp so far, showing off his athleticism and quickness.
However, the prospect game showed that he still has much to learn.
While he allowed only two goals on 30 shots for an impressive 0.933 save percentage, both of the goals that he allowed were fairly soft.
In particular, he struggled with traffic in front of his own net. He appeared to have serious difficulty keeping track of the puck through bodies perched in front of him.
Hopefully, Bobrovsky will adjust, because it appears that he has all the natural ability necessary to be a starting goalie in the NHL.
Bourdon Leads and Scores
Marc-Andre Bourdon, in his first professional season, was moderately disappointing. For a player that average almost a point per game in the QMJHL in his final two seasons, his 19 points in 61 games at Adirondack in the AHL was relatively unimpressive.
However, it appears that Bourdon is finding his way in his second professional season.
Although he has not been receiving the same degree of hype as his teammate Testwuide, scouts and observers have raved about Bourdon over the past few months.
The Hockey News writer Alan Bass praised his foot speed, physicality, hands, and vision. This was a very encouraging scouting report, especially after taking into account the fact that Bourdon had been criticized in the past for poor skating skills and defensive lapses.
Anthony San Filippo of the Delco Times also reported that a team source called him "the closest skater prospect to being NHL ready" in the Flyers' system right now.
Bourdon did nothing to quiet his supporters during the prospect game.
Right before the opening faceoff, Bourdon was named team captain. And then, like any good captain, he scored a goal at a pivotal point of the game. With the Flyers down 3-2 in the waning moments of the third period, Bourdon tied the game with a wicked wrist shot.
Bourdon is quickly making a case as the Flyers' top defenseman prospect, even over players such as Kevin Marshall and Joonas Lehtivuori.
Despite the loss, numerous prospects for the Flyers stood out. Testwuide and Bourdon performed admirably, and lived up to their advance billing. Less heralded players such as Eric Wellwood (one goal) and Ben Holmstrom (one goal) also impressed.
And while Sergei Bobrovsky certainly could have played better, his natural ability was obvious. He likely just needs more seasoning.
The Flyers' farm system isn't particularly deep. But it does have talent.
Pay attention to names like Bourdon, Bobrovsky, and Testwuide. They'll be wearing the orange and black on a regular basis soon enough.
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