VOORHEES, N.J. -- Marcel Noebels was 16 when his German U-18 club, Jungadler Manheim, won the DNL Cup in Germany.
It wasn’t like winning a Stanley Cup, but the tradition of taking it home with you, showing it off, and just having fun, was exactly like what NHLers do.
“It was the best junior league in Germany and a really big honor to win that Cup,” said Noebels, the Flyers' 21-year-old left wing prospect.
“We won it two years in a row. I had it at a great time. You do stuff maybe you are not supposed to. We took the cup home a couple days. Everyone had it.
“Everyone was so happy. I showed my grandpa and grandma. She said, ‘What is this?’ It’s not a Stanley Cup, but everyone was happy.”
Noebels made the leap out of Germany to North America at age 17 and hasn’t looked back.
He’s not projected to make the Flyers' roster, but there is no question the 6-foot-3, 207-pound forward, who never slacks on offense, is essentially vying to become one of the Flyers’ roster call-ups this season.
“I’m not expecting to make the team out of this camp,” Noebels said. “Realistically, my goal is be one of the first guys to get called up when someone gets injured. So I try to make a good first impression.”
John Paddock, the Flyers' director of player personnel, likes what he has seen of Noebels in this camp, especially measured against where he was last season, first playing for the Trenton Titans, then later finishing with 43 games for the Phantoms.
“He’s scored wherever he has gone,” Paddock said. “He’s scored with a poor team in the Western League [and] a good team in the Western League.
“He’s scored in Greenville and Glens Falls. And he’s improved his overall game. He’s gotten stronger. He’s made good progression.”
Indeed, in 202 games overall, Noebels has amassed 165 points. He gets his goals, whether it be with Seattle, Portland, Trenton or Adirondack.
“He’s not a great skater, but he is a player and personality that when he came over, it was a big advantage for him to see the North American game and the transition to it,” Paddock said. “Everyday thing and not play weekends. It was good for him that way.”
Noebels admits he has things to improve upon.
“I had to improve on my skating, my first two or three steps, the quickness,” Noebels said. “That is what I tried to do over the summer. Last two summers have been really good for me.
“I worked hard to get to that point where I can say I am where I want to be. I am getting close to being a complete player.”
On Saturday, he used his quickness in down-low, odd-man offensive drills against rookie defensemen Mark Alt and Samuel Morin. Noebels twice eluded them for plays at the net.
“No matter who it is, you have to compete against anyone,” he said of going up against two D-men the organization is keen upon. “Maybe up here I would play against [Zdeno] Chara and what do you say then? He’s pretty big, too.
“It’s good in practice to play against big guys if they have long reach. Some guys are quicker and stronger. It’s fun to see how one-on-one battles go.”
That was an initial knock on him last season in the AHL -- that he didn’t always use his size to be physical on the ice.
“I sorta know what they mean,” Paddock said. “To me, he’s not going to be Tye McGinn in that element of the game. But he can protect the puck in the corners and along the walls just as good or better than Tye McGinn.
“He has a way of getting his [butt] out there, and twisting and turning, and is very good that way. He’s improved that way. And his quickness has improved.”
Noebels says everything has been a learning experience since he came over to North America.
Especially the jump from the ECHL to the AHL.
“It was quicker and faster -- everything happened faster,” he said. “When I came up from Trenton, I wanted to bring the same game I had down there. Bring my offense and ability to make plays. The next level up here I want to be the same guy. If I changed my style I wouldn’t be here.”
He’s done some homework, asking for advice from Mark Streit, and even Buffalo’s Christian Ehrhoff, who was born in the same town of Germany -- Toenisvorst.
Noebels came into this camp very fit, too. He won the Flyers’ “Trial on the Isle” two summers ago.
“That is one point you have to have in your head,” he said. “If you are not fit or in shape, up here against guys. It’s a goal you have to set in the summer. I work hard every summer.”
He watches the roster, too. McGinn and Scott Laughton are expected to make the final roster.
“You look at the roster all the time and hope there is a spot you can fit in,” Noebels said. “Right now, it’s not impossible to make.
“Even on the right [side]. I think I’m ready and I’ve worked hard. Hopefully, the day is coming quick.”
He’ll know soon enough.