In advance of the home opener for this strange 2021 shortened AHL season, let’s get a look at the Lehigh Valley Phantoms roster.
Part of my involvement here in the blogosphere goes back to trying to know who the players are, and where they come from. The mission continues. And, as we know, the roster can be ever-changing. Before we start with some player capsules, here are some resources you can use going forward:
- Phantoms site and app may not always be updated. You can usually look to the “Media Kit” in my game-day “Hockey Night” post when available, to see the most current roster. Or, you can click through to the AHL site, which they keep pretty up-to-date. Here’s a link.
- Even looking at the up-to-date roster may raise the question, “Where is that guy?” Next, check the transactions list, isolating for Phantoms. Here’s a link.
- This year, there’s a sort of “purgatory” between the NHL and AHL, in order to provide the senior club with game-ready, local and virus-tested players on a moments notice. This “Taxi Squad” trains with the team in Voorhees, NJ, but does not get NHL pay or service time. Here are some additional rules and guidelines about the taxi squad, while we’re here–it’s only for this shortened season:
- You must have a minimum of four skaters but no more than six.
- Waivers are required for those who require them.
- Recalls for the NHL must occur before 5PM of a game-day.
- One goalie must be added unless there are 3 goalies on the active roster at the time.
- Members can practice with their respected NHL Club, join in on team activities and travel with the team (However this is not required).
- Members can’t practice or join in any AHL activities at any time with their respected AHL Club.
- If any or all six players are deemed what the NHL is calling “unfit” to play they can request that the player or players not count towards one of the six skaters.
- If a player is on a two way contract he will receive Minor League Salary.
- It’s difficult to find an exact list of which players are in this group. But, by looking at the transactions, and the NHL roster, we can parse it out. Right now, to the best of my knowledge:
- F Carsen Twarynski
- F Sam Morin Yes, he’s a forward now, and has played a couple early games with the Phantoms. He’ll sub on defense sometimes on the PK, we’ve seen.
- F Connor Bunnaman
- F Andy Andreoff
- D Derrick Pouliot A guy we know from Scranton, has played for the Phantoms already and was running the power play unit up top.
- D Nate Prosser
- G Felix Sandstrom Another guy who has appeared for the Phantoms already, and played well. Presumably, he was added when Alex Lyon was needed on the Flyers roster, and a goalie always has to be here.
Now see, I have more than the maximum six, listed. Some of those players are probably on the Flyers right now, and with them not playing, it’s difficult to tell. Here’s another site with some good roster and transaction information.
There are some other players who seem to be fixtures with the Flyers now: D Philippe Myers, D Travis Sanheim, F Morgan Frost (injured), F Joel Farabee, and F Nic Aube-Kubel.
7 Tanner Macmaster 25yo has played with Toronto and Utica but does not qualify as an AHL “veteran.” He’s a lefty shot who can be commonly found on the left wing. Tallied 30 points in 56 games last season.
9 Cal O’Reilly After 67 points in 67 games with Iowa two years ago, Cal notched 29 points in 52 games with the Phantoms last season. A closer look will reveal that Cal is an assist man, and much of his scoring will likely be connected to what he’s asked to do, and with whom he’s playing. It could be a very different season this year–or it could be more of the same, depending on what Coach Gordon desires. (AHL Veteran)
10 Tanner Laczynski The Flyers prospect out of Ohio State appears to be making his pro debut in 2021. He’s currently nursing a groin injury, but should return shortly.
13 Ryan Fitzgerald The diminutive left wing and veteran of four seasons as a Providence Bruin comes to the Phantoms this season. He’s not an AHL veteran for rules purposes, but he can motor, and we’ll hope for even more than 27/61 he scored last season.
14 Zayde Wisdom With the OHL non-operational, the 18yo is trying his hand in the professional game. The 2020 fourth round pick, right-handed shooter, has played in both games so far, and looked good doing it. It will be interesting going forward to see how much ice time they give the junior players in the AHL. It’s certainly good experience for them.
15 Maxim Sushko The lefty shooting right wing returns. You could see how some of the players who had been playing internationally really had the skates under them better in the early games.
16 Matthew Strome It’s officially the third campaign for the Ontario native. He’ll look to get on the ice more than just the 19 games he played in last season for the Phantoms.
20 Max Willman After 20 games with Reading last season, he came to the Phantoms as a replacement and not only earned his way into 24 games, but earned an contract to boot. He plays hard, he plays fast, and already has an assist on this young season. He’s fun to watch.
21 Linus Sandin Undrafted, the 24 year old had become a star in the Swedish Leagues as a native. He was highly sought-after and signed with the Flyers on an entry-level deal. The righty-shooting forward has played in both games thus far this season. He’s one to watch, and should get plenty of opportunity.
24 Ralph Cuddemi You may recognize the name from Reading last year, but the 28 year old has played plenty of ECHL hockey over the years. He got his feet wet in the AHL with Laval last season, and makes his way back to Pennsylvania in 2021 with the Phantoms. 34 points in 25 games is what got him noticed in Reading last season.
26 Brennan Saulnier The 27 year old Alabama-Huntsville product has some experience in the ECHL, but hasn’t appeared in the AHL yet. He slots in as a lefty-shooting center it seems. We’ll await his debut.
29 Pascal Laberge Officially his fourth campaign, it appears he may get some opportunity with the big club this season–or perhaps at least the taxi squad. He’s looked good in early action with the Phantoms.
38 David Kase He’s back and he’s better than ever. He was tearing up the Czech league as a center before the North American leagues started up, so Gordon is keeping him there. He’s another player that you can tell early-on has his hockey legs ready to go. Could be a big year for the young Czech.
49 Garrett Wilson The big lefty played with Toronto last season, but we all remember him from the four seasons before that when he played in Wilkes-Barre. He’s a veteran presence, and isn’t afraid to drop them, if need be. (AHL Veteran)
71 Tyson Foerster The 2020 first-round pick is another of the “Juniors” players to be invited to the Phantoms this season. He looked absolutely electric early on, although perhaps a bit raw. An unfortunate collision in the regular season opener has him on the shelf with a leg. We do hope to see him back later this season.
86 Chris Mueller The veteran center you may recognize from Toronto, Syracuse or Hartford, was added on the PTO early on as Coach Gordon was in need of centers. He was then signed to an AHL contract. His leadership (not to mention his ability to win every face-off) will be important for this young team–both on and off the ice. (AHL Veteran, twice over?)
4 Egor Zamula Turns 21 in March. The native of Chelyabinsk Russia has four years of experience in Canadian Juniors. He’s a left-hand shot, and a puck-mover. He could be quite a find as a non-drafted signee. He may be a bit raw right now, but he should be fun to watch develop.
5 Tyler Wotherspoon Lefty AHL Veteran returns to the Phantoms for a second year. He was in the western division of the AHL for six previous seasons.
6 Linus Hogberg The 22 year-old is another Flyers prospect from Sweden. The lefty D-man was drafted in the fifth round in 2016.
8 Mason Millman The 19yo has three seasons experience in the OHL and is making his AHL debut as I write this. He was a fourth round pick in 2019.
22 Logan Day AHL experience in Bakersfield the past three seasons, the right-hand shot comes over to the Phantoms. He’s 26.
27 Chris Bigras Another lefty-shot D-man, Chris comes back for a second go-round in Allentown. I believe he may be just above the limit for AHL Veteran Rule–perhaps the so-called “tweener.”
28 Wyatte Wylie The 21yo native of Everette, WA, played four seasons for his hometown Silvertips in the WHL Juniors. He was a fifth round pick in 2018. He had 64 points (50 assists) in 62 games last season. He’s a righty shot and already has a goal and an assist on this young season.
31 Zane McIntyre He played for Utica and Binghamton last season, but you probably remember him mostly from Providence the previous four campaigns. He’s been really solid this far this season, carrying most of the water while Sandstrom and Lyon have been serving time on the Taxi Squad.
35 Eamon McAdam The Perkasie, PA native and Penn State product has had some AHL time with Bridgeport the past three seasons. He’ll serve as goalie #6 in the Flyers system
These players remain on the Flyers roster as they weren’t healthy enough to be sent to the AHL following training camp:
F Wade Allison The RW out of Western Michigan was a second-round pick in 2016 and was due to make his pro debut. My understanding is that he’s suffered a difficult ankle injury and may not make it back in this short season. Stay tuned, though.
F Isaac Ratcliffe A rib injury and a collapsed lung have the prospect on the shelf. He’s been skating, though, and I hope we’ll see him back sooner rather than later–but that remains to be seen as I haven’t heard a time frame.
On any given night–and especially when they’re at home (not that Hershey, Wilkes-Barre or Newark are that far away, but to minimize bus travel) expect to see guys shuffled through the lineup from the Taxi Squad as well, as they’ll look to keep them sharp with game action.
The “Veteran Rule” is still in effect, but given a COVID issue there is the possibility to petition the league for an exception if need be, to play a game. We’re pretty young, so I don’t think it will be an issue unless a bunch of players are added from the Taxi Squad.
I’ll have more for you on the team’s outlook for 2021, plus a review of the opening games on the road, as well as the setup for the game next Saturday in my “Hockey Night in Allentown” column, returning soon.
Please leave any corrections, additions, etc in the comments below. Use a fake name if you want. Let’s try to keep them in one place.
See you at the arena???