The Flyers’ valuable assets reside on the defensive left

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In an offseason that has been overwhelmingly negative when it comes to the current state and future direction of the Philadelphia Flyers, it’s justifiable why the excitement is low heading into the 22-23 season. In all this gloom, there seems to be a silver lining regarding a certain position. This position is left defense.

The depth the Flyers have at left defense is solid and can pave the way for a promising future. Although talent is lacking in most positions on the roster, left defense is a position to keep hopeful and positive.

Current – ​​Provorov/Sanheim

Defensively, the left side is currently put forward by Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. Both players went in opposite directions from each other in ’21-’22. Provorov had another year of slight decline, while Sanheim exceeded expectations.

Provorov hasn’t been the player many hoped he would be at this stage of his career, but there should be no reason to throw in the towel. Sanheim have taken a big step forward after a modest 2020-21 season. He won the Barry Ashbee Trophy as Most Outstanding Defenseman and was the Flyers’ only player to end with a plus/minus positive. Maintaining this development is essential for this season.

Provorov can work out his flaws under John Tortorella and Brad Shaw. He is still the Flyers’ workhorse because he records the most minutes in each game. A more confident and relaxed Provorov will strengthen Philadelphia’s defense going forward.

Dawn – York/Zamula

Cam York played 30 games with the Flyers going 21-22 and scored 10 points (3G, 7A). He made major improvements after being recalled, earning him top-par minutes with Provorov. York completed Provorov well which is encouraging for next season.

York has top-four potential in Philadelphia and will be in contention for a roster spot during training camp in September. The partnership with Justin Braun currently makes the most sense.

Yegor Zamula played 10 games in ’21-’22, beneficial for his development. He kept pace with the NHL. Similar to York, Zamula has sometimes teamed up with Provorov. Flexible, Zamula is able to play defense on the right side of the ice.

He’s 6’5″ and 185 pounds with the skills to crack an NHL roster, but filling his frame more is a priority. Undrafted defenseman Zamula will earn most of his AHL minutes this season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

In the System – Andrae/Ginning

Emil Andrae sees his stock increase due to his recent performances at the World Junior Championships. Andrae has scored eight points (4G, 4A) in five games so far in the tournament. His elusive skating, puck-moving and shooting skills contributed to Sweden’s success, which placed them in the semi-finals against Finland.

Andrae has confidence and patience on the blue line. He can find space in traffic to shoot the puck towards the net.

Andrae is only 5’9″ and 187 pounds, but has the skills to change that. He will stay in Sweden for the ’22-’23 season to play for HV71 in the SHL. Last season, Andrae scored 33 points (9G, 24A) in 41 games with HV71.

Another Swede, Adam Ginning, will join the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the 22-23 season. Ginning signed his entry-level contract with the Flyers in May. He is above all a defensive defender.

Like Andrae, Ginning captained Sweden to the 19-20 World Junior Championships, leading his homeland to a bronze medal. His defensive style of play sets him apart from the current Flyers roster; offensive and two-way defenders. Ginning already breaks this mould.

(Photo credit: Alex McIntyre)

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