VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers Skate Zone parking lot was filled to the brim.
Among the fans, Tuesday was easily the most popular and heavily-attended day of Flyers development camp, as a 3-on-3 tournament brought a close to the on-ice portion of this year's youth gathering.
Wednesday wraps up development camp with the team's annual AAA Trial on the Isle in Stone Harbor, New Jersey — also a fun and fan-friendly event.
As for the 3-on-3 competition, the Flyers split a full sheet of ice in half, allowing two games to be played at once. That, along with other media availability during the action, makes it difficult to observe everything that happened on the ice.
But with that said, let's give you the highlights from what we saw and heard on the final day at Flyers Skate Zone.
German, German, German!
German Rubtsov, the Flyers' 2016 first-round pick, was head and shoulders above most of the 40 prospects in camp.
He was a treat to watch Tuesday.
The 19-year-old center looks like he already has NHL hands and control. He's nifty with the puck and put a pretty move on Carter Hart to score one of his three goals on the afternoon.
Rubtsov's team, which also featured Radel Fazleev and Tanner Laczynski, won the tournament. Here's the bunch celebrating.
Men among boys
While Flyers general manager Ron Hextall claims development camp is not for evaluation, it’s hard not to look at a couple players who are obviously ready to no longer be a part of it.
During the 3-on-3 tournament, defensemen Travis Sanheim and Phil Myers both looked far too advanced to be playing with players their ages. Sanheim was on Team Grey and Myers was on Team Black. When the two played against each other, it was a pleasure to watch.
Sanheim scored twice in about a minute against Team Black. He ripped a slap shot from 10-feet out on Felix Sandstrom and then tucked a rebound past Sandstrom. Overall, Sanheim scored four times. Myers scored just once but definitely looks above his age level.
Matthew Strome possesses skills of a first- or second-rounder, but his skating flaws are what dropped him to the fourth round, where the Flyers snagged the winger at 106th overall last month.
Yes, Strome's skating will be a bit of a project, but he can do a lot of other things that jump out in a positive way.
Strome put his stickhandling on display with a sweet goal on Hart.
Another player that showed his stuff was camp invite Ivan Kosorenkov, who scored a goal while also exhibiting quick skates and talented hands.
Don't be surprised to see him in September's training camp. Sure, development camp isn't for evaluation, but the undrafted winger showed that much at Flyers Skate Zone.
West Coast livin'
As is the life in minor league hockey, Hart is used to long bus rides.
With air travel permitted just for the WHL championship round, travel can be a grind. From Everett, Washington, to Brandon, Manitoba, it’s about a 21-hour drive without traffic.
“Some guys bring Xboxes, TVs in the back and you have a little bit of shelter,” Hart said. “We’re right on the coast there and [Brandon is] in the boonies. It’s a grilling bus ride, but it’s a good way to spend some time with your teammates. It’s a good way to come together.”
When asked Tuesday about Nolan Patrick, Hart said their paths haven’t crossed much.
“It’s a 20-, 25-hour bus ride if we go over there to play,” Hart said. “We only play them once a year. I've only played Nolan three times in my career. So I don’t really know him too well. He seems like a nice guy from when I met him and from what I’ve heard, he’s very skilled.
“Well, he went second overall so he's definitely skilled. Seems like a down-to-earth guy and I think the Flyers are lucky to have a high-skilled prospect like him."
Patrick did not participate in on-ice activities during development camp after undergoing abdominal surgery June 13 but was at camp all five days.
Hakstol on Lindblom
Oskar Lindblom scored a goal and was impressive all camp.
You could really see his growth.
As a raw 2014 fifth-round pick, these development sessions have been important to the Swedish winger and now he's ready to push for a roster spot in September.
"I just think about it by myself, like fifth-rounder, I just felt like I can play and I can be on this level," Lindblom said last Friday. "So I'm just trying to push myself every day and be better."
Lindblom attracted the eyes of many at development camp. He'll have the eyes of Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol in training camp.
"As you look at some of the completeness of his game, when you look at the skill package — and let's be clear, it's just a skill package because we're not in a competitive situation here," Hakstol said Tuesday. "Even the 3-on-3 games, that's a half-ice 3-on-3 game. That's not the competitiveness that training camp will bring, but I like the maturity that I see in his game on the ice … and the same thing off the ice."
Three-on-three tournaments are not exactly goaltender-friendly, but Sandstrom was quite impressive.
Sandstrom had a bit of a rough go in the first game against Team White, allowing four goals. But from Game 2 on, he was solid. He made several nice stops from a 20-year-old goalie with no defense in front of him against Team Orange in the second game. For fans of goaltenders, the matchup that was most enticing was Team Black vs. Team Orange, when it was Sandstrom (Black) vs. Hart (Orange). For the record, Sandstrom shut out Hart's team, 4-0.
Who got the better on Tuesday in a totally meaningless tournament? Our pick would be Sandstrom.
Results and what's next
Here are the Flyers' official scoring results from the 3-on-3 tournament.
Olle Lycksell — 5
Travis Sanheim — 4
David Kase — 4
Nicolas Aube-Kubel — 3
Radel Fazleev — 3
German Rubtsov — 3
Linus Hogberg — 3
David Bernhardt — 2
Brendan Warren — 2
Maksim Sushko — 2
Wyatt Kalynuk — 2
Mark Friedman — 1
Cam Lee — 1
Oskar Lindblom — 1
Wade Allison — 1
Phil Myers — 1
Matthew Strome — 1
Noah Cates — 1
Isaac Ratcliffe — 1
David Drake — 1
Tanner Laczynski — 1
Ivan Kosorenkov — 1
Connor Bunnaman — 1
Derek Lodermeier — 1
And if you're interested in heading to the beach to see the prospects on Wednesday, here's the schedule.