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The Reading Royals announced they extended their multi-year affiliation agreement with Philadelphia Flyers. I’m glad to see both organizations come together for a longer term. It didn’t make much sense to me for Reading to be part of the Los Angeles Kings for years.
Royals Renew Affiliation Agreement with Philadelphia Flyers
Reading and Philadelphia Ink Multi-Year Extension to Player Development Arrangement
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals of the ECHL and Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League today jointly announced that the two organizations have extended their working arrangement with a multi-year affiliation agreement. Under the affiliation extension, which was originally signed in June of 2014, the Royals will receive players designated for assignment within the professional hockey operations development system of the Flyers.
“We’re very excited to extend our affiliation relationship with the Flyers,” said Royals President Drew Bell. “We believe that the philosophy, culture and goals of the Royals and Flyers are consistent with one another—an unwavering dedication to excellence in all phases of our operations and ultimately, of course, winning hockey games. There is no question that the relationship with the Flyers has paid positive dividends for the Royals over the past two seasons, and we anticipate that our position within the Flyers’ player development pipeline is only going to get stronger over the next several seasons. We look forward to this opportunity to expand our role in the effort to develop young prospects and grow the interest in and support for professional hockey in Southeast Pennsylvania.”
“We are pleased to extend and continue our relationship with the Royals,” said Flyers’ General Manager Ron Hextall. “Reading has created a long-term culture of success and has provided our prospects a positive environment that is important in the development of their careers. The geographic proximity of our minor league affiliations in Lehigh Valley and Reading gives our coaches and scouting department the best possible platform to evaluate and promote the advancement of our prospects within the Flyers system.”
“I’m looking forward to continuing our working relationship with the Flyers,” said Royals’ Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Larry Courville. “There is no question that our team’s success is directly tied with that of our affiliate, and we believe that we have built a positive working arrangement with the Flyers over the last couple of years. We’re dedicated to continuing our effort to help young prospects pursue their goal of advancing to the highest level of the game, while engaging those same young players in our team’s goal to win another ECHL championship.”
The Flyers, who celebrated their fiftieth anniversary of being awarded an NHL franchise this past February, joined the NHL as part of the six team expansion which began play in the 1967-68 season. The Flyers, who play their home games at Wells Fargo Center in south Philadelphia, hold an overall, historic win percentage at .577, which is second only to the Montreal Canadiens as the best ever in the NHL. The Flyers, who won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975, have qualified for playoffs in thirty-eight of the team’s forty-eight seasons and have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals eight times, most recently in 2010 when the Flyers were defeated by the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Flyers American Hockey League affiliate, are slated to play their third season in Allentown, Pennsylvania, this fall. As has been the case over the past two seasons, it is expected that the Royals will work closely with the Phantoms with respect to player movement within the Flyers’ minor professional development system.
The Royals, who are entering the team’s sixteenth season in Reading, have qualified for the post-season eleven times, including the last seven consecutively. The Royals won the league’s Kelly Cup Championship in 2013. Last year, Reading advanced to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals prior to being knocked out in Game Seven (in overtime) by the Wheeling Nailers in the second round playoff series. In 2015-16, no fewer that fourteen players, including two goaltenders, played for the Royals under either an NHL or AHL contract with the Flyers. Two players who were under ECHL contract with Reading last season, Joe Rehkamp and Kevin Sundher, were also called up to the Phantoms, and Sundher ultimately signed an AHL deal with the Flyers.
From the Royals’ inception in 2001 through 2008, the team was primarily affiliated with the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL and the Manchester Monarchs, who were in the AHL during that time period. From 2008-09 through 2011-12, the Royals were affiliated with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL and the Toronto Marlies of the AHL and, beginning in 2009-10, the Royals added a secondary affiliation with the Boston Bruins of the NHL. From 2012 through 2014, Reading was affiliated with the Washington Capitals of the NHL and the Hershey Bears of the AHL.
Short answer? Simply not as much as one would think. Improvement from the defense i.e. consistent pressure on Qb’s in passing situations which should vastly improve the secondary’s effectiveness.Progression and subsequent execution of the 3-4 defense installed last year by coach Bill Davis. Look for young players such as LB Michal Kendricks and S Earl Wolff to stand out. Special Teams need to display improvement in coverage. Remember the playoff game vs the Saints? Nick Foles and the offense leave the field late in the 4th quarter with the lead and the kickoff coverage unit fails to contain Darren Sproles forcing CB Cary Wiiliams to horsecollar and that penalty places the Saints 15 yards shy of the game clinching field goal. We all know how that concluded. As for punt return situations, they absolutey need to give the offense better field position. Last year it became painfully apparent Desean Jackson was indifferent to returning punts. Finally the offense…Qb Nick Foles needs to look sharp and the O-line should look to prove it can protect Foles without the services of OT Lane Johnson while he serves a four game suspension. The WR’s need to display the ability to get open and make plays without Desean Jackson demenading additional safety help. Count on Philly and national media placing the offense under the microscope early and often until it shows it can be as explosive and at times overwhelming as it was last year. (It says here it will be.) All of the preceding things we are looking for starting tomorrow night mean absolutely little, if anything at all, if key players get hurt. Thus team health is also something we look for. That is the obvious thing at the beginning and especially the end of every preseason. Look for your team to emerge healthy or relatively so.
Before the tidal wave of malcontents reach the bleachers of Lincolon Financial Field later this year perhaps we all should take a deep breath and consider what Malcolm Jenkins means to the secondary. He is a good football player.Period. Not very good. Not great. Good. Will he improve as a player? Perhaps Just to evaluate him on what he has accomplished up until now on the football field I would have no problem to say he is a good player. Now placing that into the context of what the Eagles have had at safety the last five years; we havent had any good players at that position since B. Dawk was shown the door and handed his hat and coat by Joe “bean counting’ Banner. I believe that to be the concise version of the facts. Jenkins excels in coverage. He is a solid tackler ( but not so much last year) and is as fast a safety as there is in football. He takes good angles to the ball and is often in right position to make a play on the ball. He is not a punishing hitter nor is he an elite play maker in regards to turnovers. Like I stated earlier, Good player. not very good..not great.. As for Darren Sproles, at this point in his career he is still a very good player especially on special teams and as a receiver out of the back field. Again as with safety the Eagles have not had a dynamic player at this position since all time great Brian Mitchell left as a free agent. Unlike Jenkins at safety, Sproles is dynamic. In my opinion, when Andy Reid was very successful it was in part because of Jim Johnson’s great defense and because special teams consistently shortened the field for his offense. Sproles should often provide offensive guru and coach Chip Kelly and QB Nick Foles with good field position. He will also threaten to return punts and kicks to the house every time he touches the ball. Now, the offense isn’t the only facet of the game which is dangerous…Sproles makes the special teams dangerous. Look for Sproles to replace WR Desean Jackson on punts where he looked disinterested most of last year.Sproles will also get a spot carry at running back and be a dangerous receiver out of the back field with teams already spread out thin trying to defend all the game breaking weapons the Eagles already have on offense.The offense should be historic this year as long as Nick Foles continues to play well at QB. With these two moves at safety and Special teams/offense the Eagles are a much better team than they were two days ago.Period.