Playing the Kids in a Rebuild Is Not The End All Be All

Danielle Marie
September 30, 2023  (8:59 PM)

When a team is rebuilding it is more common for them to play more of their prospects throughout the regular season. However, playing them more does not mean any prospect should just be handed a roster spot they've not legitimately earned. If a prospect works hard, looks like they belong in the NHL, and has earned a roster spot then certainly they should play in the NHL.

On the other hand, giving a prospect a roster spot just because your team is in the middle of a rebuild is not productive or wise.
A team in a rebuild wants to surround its young players with vets who can hold their hands, so to speak. If all the young kids are thrown into a lineup and expected to learn from each other it would likely be a disaster. In every walk of life there are people around to guide the young whether it be parents, teachers, coaches, etc. there are always the older and wiser there to steer the young in the right direction. Does it always work? No, but that doesn't make it any less of a fact.
Sports work the same way.
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Regardless of where a team is, whether they're rebuilding from the ground up, or sitting at the top having just hoised the championship, the vets are always there to balance out a lineup.
The Flyers should be no different. Yes, they should play their kids more, but if a player has not legitimately earned a roster spot with the big club they should not be in one. The AHL exists for a reason. Even if all the prospect really needs is to build confidence. If they're on the cusp, but confidence is lacking, sending them down so they can play at a pace that allows them to regain confidence is not going to hurt anything, but keeping them up in an environment that is a bit rougher and doesn't allow them the same benefits could make or break a player.
The Flyers have already re-assigned Elliot Desnoyers to the Phantoms for AHL training camp. Tyson Foerster and Bobby Brink remain in Flyers main camp for now, but whether they make the team is still anybody's guess. With the exception of last nights game when Brink was a direct reason the Flyes found their first pre-season win, neither one of them has really set the world on fire in camp. If they don't, that's okay. They are the ones that may be considered right on the cusp. Let them go build confidence in the AHL and see where they sit come Christmas time. If they've found their confidence and look like they could succeed in the NHL, give them another chance to see if they can stick in the NHL.
The good thing about a rebuild is bringing a prospect up mid-season for no other reason than "because we want to" is totally acceptable.
Hockey is about confidence, team camaraderie, and chemistry on the ice. Let the kids build confidence where they're comfortable and see what they can do down the line. The Flyers are in a position to wait things out. There's no need to rush. Let things happen organically.
After all, rushing things in the previous "rebuild" is why they've ended up here in the first place.
Playing the Kids in a Rebuild Is Not The End All Be All

Would you be made if Brink and/or Foerster were sent down out of camp?

Yes, they should be playing in a rebuild5553.4 %
No, let them build confidence to succeed3130.1 %
Don't really care1716.5 %
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