September 22 Philadelphia Daily News:
“Last June, just a day after the Flyers were ousted in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, general manager Paul Holmgren mentioned four names to watch in training camp – four relatively unknowns signed as undrafted free agents.
Ben Holmstrom, an unheralded speedster who the Flyers plucked from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, was the first of the four to officially make his mark in the preseason.
Last night, Holmstrom’s stat line, one shot on goal, two hits and one blocked shot, was unremarkable. But Holmstrom’s energy, speed and physicality were unmistakable, even with limited ice time in a checking role.
“He’s just a noticeable player in that role that we used him [last night],” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “He finished all of his hits. We noticed him in the rookie game, he did a good job. He did the same thing; he scored a goal. He came in and played a solid game and he finished a lot of hits tonight.”
Holmstrom said he was fortunate to have so many veterans dressed in the Flyers‘ 4-3 shootout win at the Wells Fargo Center, a preseason game that received less attention from the announced 19,288 in attendance than the Phillies updates shown on the big screen.
Holmstrom centered Ian Laperriere and Jody Shelley on the fourth line, winning five of eight draws. Holmstrom had a scoring opportunity midway through the game but fanned on a one-timer toward an empty net.
“I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” Holmstrom said. “All of those guys took real good care of me, before the game and after the game. How I played is a lot of them taking care of me and making feel comfortable.”
Some of his comfort level also came from training with Eric Wellwood, Andrew Rowe, Erik Gustafsson and Mike Testwuide all summer in South Jersey under the watchful eye of trainer Jim McCrossin.
“There was a few of us that hung around in a little group,” Holmstrom said. “It was a good support system. It’s just easy when you got guys around you going through the same thing. You can kind of lean on each other. Those couple months in the summer were huge.”
Laviolette said it showed a “really good commitment” and gives players the “best opportunity to become a Philadelphia Flyer.””
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