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Preseason Game Preview #4: New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers

Another day, another step closer to regular season hockey.

NHL: SEP 25 Flyers at Devils (split squad)
Can Alexander Holtz continue to show he can hang with the top six tonight?

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (3-0-0) at the Philadelphia Flyers (1-2-0).

The Time: 7:00 PM

The Broadcast - TV - No MSG broadcast that I can see, because MSG is terrible (both MSG and MSGSN being used for Rangers-Islanders).

Cuts and Devils Lines

As expected, after their win against the Rangers, the Devils cut 13 players from their camp. Overall, it’s not a shocking list. The forwards included Josh Filmon, Filip Engaras, T.J. Friedmann, Joe Gambardella, Timur Ibragimov, Xavier Parent, and Ryan Schmelzer. The defeneman included Topias Vilen, Robbie Russo, Colin Felix, Will MacKinnon, and Tyler Wotherspoon. Tyler Brennan was the sole goalie to be cut. I am a bit surprised that they did not keep Filmon and Vilen around a game or two longer, but they had no shot to make the team at the moment, anyway.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at what the lines for tonight should be.

According to Stein, preseason fourth-liner Kyle Criscuolo went crashing into the boards during practice yesterday and had to leave the ice for awhile. He was able to return. Criscuolo, 31, and a native of Southampton Township, New Jersey, has only played in 16 NHL games during his career (he had a goal in his last one), so it would be surprising if he made the roster.

The big position battle to watch here is among the defensemen. Brendan Smith, Santeri Hatakka, Cal Foote, Michael Vukojevic, and Daniil Misyul are all fighting to take spots as extra defensemen on the roster. Smith, of course, has an edge and then some to be the seventh defenseman, but the “next-man-up” role is up for the taking if the Devils are still intent on keeping Nemec in Utica.

On the offensive end, I think there is less room to give among the forward spots, but there are depth options going tonight. Chris Tierney, Curtis Lazar, and Tyce Thompson are trying to be the 13th forward for the team, but again I would have to give a very clear edge to Lazar, who only won’t make the team if he plays disastrously for the rest of camp while someone like Nolan Foote or Tyce Thompson lights it up.

The Flyers

Similarly to the Devils, the Flyers cut their camp roster yesterday, cutting seven players. And given that the Flyers played a game last night in Boston, we should have a pretty good idea of who will be seeing the ice tonight. While the Flyers probably won’t be sending out Bobby Brink, Morgan Frost, Nic Deslauriers (thankfully), Garnet Hathaway, Joel Farabee, or Travis Sanheim for a second game in a row, that leaves plenty of NHLers for the Devils to see tonight. Cam Atkinson, Sean Couturier, Travis Konecny, and Owen Tippett should be with the forwards, while the Devils’ forwards will have the pleasure of going against Rasmus Ristolainen, Marc Staal, and Cam York, while the Flyers have Carter Hart in goal.

The Goal For Tonight

Tonight should be another pretty easy night for the Devils. The Flyers are an extremely thin organization at this moment, and we saw the results when the Devils thrashed them, 6-0, in their split-squad game. It will be nice to not be playing any of the Devils’ smaller players against the Flyers, who are still known for playing foolishly from time to time. So, I am not really too worried about anyone getting hurt, and the team should be able to focus on playing hockey tonight. That said, I would really like to see big games from the bottom sixers and the second and third defensive pairings. I want to know there are options in Utica for later this year.

Your Thoughts

What do you think of tonight’s game? What do you think of the Flyers this year? How do you think the depth spots will shake out on the team? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and thanks for reading.