Today was cut-down day at Flyers camp. The most notable name among the players notified that they will not be donning the orange and black anytime soon was veteran winger Mark Bell, who had his tryout agreement terminated.
Bell made a little wave last week in the press when he stated that a 2-way contract (enabling assignment to the Phantoms) would not be acceptable to him. He followed up his strong words with being invisible in practices and not impressing in his preseason action. Quite a showing by a guy who should consider himself lucky to be a free man let alone being able to continue his career as a professional athlete. (For his DUI story refer to my camp preview) Good riddance.
On the bright side, first round pick James Van Riemsdyk remains in pro camp and has been taking regular shifts with Mike Richards and Simon Gagne. The organization obviously wants him to succeed early and it appears that he has the inside track on winning a top 9 spot out of camp. The other fringe forwards battling James are fellow rookies Pat Maroon and the surprise of camp so far David Laliberte.
Laliberte, a 4th round pick by the Flyers in the ’04 draft was considered one of the most talented players coming out in his draft year but was later struck with a terrible neck injury. He was forced to sit out a full year and was told by doctors that he would always have to deal with some amount of pain throughout his entire life. When David rejoined his junior team he was named captain and netted a hat trick in his first game back. After he spent the 07-08 season splitting time between the Phantoms and the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers, Laliberte spent all of last season in the AHL in Philadelphia and totaled 28 goals and 20 assists. The strong camp showing almost assures that Laliberte will be a call-up at some point this season if he does not somehow sneak onto the opening night roster.
In other camp news, Blair Betts appears to be the frontrunner for the 4th line center spot while Phantoms top defenseman Danny Syvret has survived this round of cuts and is challenging Randy Jones and Ole-Kristian Tollefson for the 6th/7th spot on the blue line.