Taylor Leier has spent the offseason doing the typical stuff, giving his body a break from the grueling hockey schedule and spending time with his family.
He’s enjoying the final month or so of that now before the real challenge kicks in: making the Philadelphia Flyers opening night roster.
It won’t be an easy task for the 23-year-old, who signed a one-year contract extension on Friday, but don’t be the one to tell him that.
“I’m going to go in there with confidence and going to act like I’m taking that spot,” Leier said over the phone. “I think that’s what every person has to have for a mindset. There’s a lot of guys and only so many spots, but my mindset is that that’s my spot to lose.”
Leier is coming off a campaign that saw him play 48 games in the AHL, posting 37 points (13 G, 24 A) while appearing in a career-best 10 games with the Flyers, recording his first career NHL point. Aside from an injury that sidelined him for a little over a month, Leier was very pleased with his performance.
“I’m definitely excited to be back and be around an organization with a whole bunch of familiar faces,” Leier said. “I was happy with my year last year.
“Last year I got in a rhythm when I was up… I loved every moment of it and I felt a lot more comfortable than when I got called up two years ago.”
Leier received positive feedback from the Flyers’ management before being sent back to the Phantoms, and he felt he proved his “reliability” and “that I belonged.” He hopes that he turned a few heads in the process.
The fourth year pro will be competing with a surplus of skaters for possibly two open spots in the bottom six. Everyone from Scott Laughton, Mike Vecchione and newly acquired Jori Lehtera will be in the mix, along with a few prospects and veterans.
As Leier alluded to, he’ll be approaching this camp in September with his eye on winning a spot.
“I’ll be ready, physically and mentally,” Leier said. “I can’t wait.”