Defenseman Bourdon seeks a spot with the Flyers

Marc-Andre Bourdon (left), with Matt Carle in 2011. Bourdon is trying to find a home in the Flyers defense after his rookie year was cut short by injury in the AHL last season. AP
Marc-Andre Bourdon (left), with Matt Carle in 2011. Bourdon is trying to find a home in the Flyers defense after his rookie year was cut short by injury in the AHL last season. AP
Posted: July 10, 2013

One of the most intriguing players at the Flyers' prospect camp in Voorhees is a defenseman who has already played 45 games in the NHL, Marc-Andre Bourdon.

Bourdon's 2012-13 season with the AHL's Phantoms was cut short by a concussion, and he is skating with the prospect of getting in shape. He hopes to be cleared for contact in about a week.

"I'm getting there," Bourdon said. "I'm much better and moving in the right direction. The doctors are optimistic."

Bourdon said his headaches have gone away and that his eyesight is improving. He said he has some blurred vision "maybe 10 percent" of the time, but that it has improved dramatically from when he was injured.

This is a big season for Bourdon, who will turn 24 during the Flyers' training camp at the Wells Fargo Center in September. He was impressive as a Flyers rookie, appearing in a little over half the games, collecting four goals and 52 penalty minutes, posting a plus-4 rating and showing the ability to clear bodies in front of the net.

After they sign restricted free agent Erik Gustafsson, the Flyers will have nine defensemen competing for seven roster spots - assuming that Andrej Meszaros and Bourdon are medically cleared to play.

Complicating matters is that Bourdon has a one-way contract, meaning he must clear waivers before being sent down to the Phantoms.

As for Gustafsson, he has a qualifying offer and a two-way contract on the bargaining table.

Barring a trade, the defense will include Kimmo Timonen, Luke Schenn, Braydon Coburn, Mark Streit, Nick Grossmann and Meszaros (if healthy). That leaves Bourdon, Gustafsson and Bruno Gervais battling for a roster spot.

"I just want to make sure I'm 100 percent" before returning, said Bourdon, who is also skating every day with assistant Joe Mullen and the coach's son, Pat. "I'm pretty confident I'll be ready for camp."

Straka in plans?

Right winger Petr Straka, a 6-foot, 195-pounder who signed as a free agent, has the size and speed to compete for a job with the Flyers in September.

"Who knows? We'll have a better assessment after seeing him in camp," said Chris Pryor, the Flyers' director of hockey operations, after the second day of the developmental camp on Monday.

Straka, 20, a second-round draft pick by Columbus in 2010, had 82 points, including 41 goals, in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season.


Shayne Gostisbehere on fellow defenseman Sam Morin, a 6-foot-6, 203-pounder who was the Flyers' No. 1 draft pick last week: "He's definitely a big guy. During all the testing, he knocked everything out of the park."

Morin excelled in the sprint and high jump, among other events.

More quotable

Gostisbehere, a Union (N.Y.) College defenseman who is a Florida native: "I'm an offensive defenseman, but I'm not a slouch on defense, either. I have that little snot - as everyone says, a little Flyer - in me. Everyone knows in World Juniors I stuck a kid in the groin. . . . My stick just floated up there."


Defenseman Robert Hagg (6-2, 205), taken in the second round, may be more advanced than Morin. He has a quick release and has faced better competition. . . . Center Scott Laughton has bulked up from 180 to 194 pounds since getting crushed in a board battle in camp last year by Nick Grossmann. . . . Former Flyers Rod Brind'Amour, Eric Lindros, John LeClair and Jeremy Roenick, along with ex-coach Fred Shero, will get consideration Tuesday for the hockey Hall of Fame. . . . The earliest the Flyers and Penguins will play at Penn State is in two years, a source said.

Contact Sam Carchidi at Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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