With the 2023-24 NHL Regular season bearing down on us. The Flyers will open the season against the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 12th in Columbus. We here at EOP will spotlight a Flyers player every week. This week we will look at Noah Cates.
When you think about 2-way reliable play and the 2022-23 Flyers one name should pop into your head Noah Cates. There’s nothing flashy about his game. But that is what makes this 24-year-old forward very intriguing. His work ethic and hockey intelligence are the two biggest attributes he put on display last season.
He uses his big body and a big stick to aid in his positioning. His decision-making is what really made him stand out last year for the Flyers. What he did with and without the puck quickly made him a favorite of head coach John Tortorella. The Cates have a family affair with the Flyers. Both Noah and his brother Jackson are in the organization.
Training Camp 2022-23
Early in training camp last season one of the first big stories to emerge was the play of the Cates boys. Jackson was assigned to the Leigh Valley Phantoms and Noah made the Flyers out of camp. With the injury situation being what it was for the Flyers last year Cates was asked and put into situations not normally asked of first-year players. Tortorella used that philosophy with several young players to assess what he was working with. The result with Cates was a diamond in the rough that certainly worked his way into the future of the Flyers.
Bigger Role And A Gamble
The biggest area that Cates was asked to burden last year was a position change. Cates, normally a left wing was asked to switch to center as the ongoing injury situation with Sean Couturier was changing daily. Tortorella gambled on Cates’ ability to fill the role of Couturier for the team. Not only on offense but on defense as well. Cates was asked on a nightly basis to go head-to-head with the premier centers of the NHL. He was a regular on the 1st PK unit and a steady part-timer on the power play.
As the season wore on Cates completely won over his head coach. With the switch from wing to center this lessoned his offensive opportunities, especially on the rush up ice. Through the first 11 games of the 2022-23 season, Cates had only a single shot on goal (the game-winning tally in Tampa Bay in the third game of the season). More recently, however, Cates has had more chances — and shown more willingness — to shoot the puck. He was up to 70 shots on goal for the season after Game 59 in Edmonton on Feb. 21.
Cates cemented his role and place on the Flyers for at least this year and probably for years to come. His development as a center will continue, he probably will never grade out as a 1st line centerman but will most definitely be considered a reliable 2nd or 3rd line guy. On a team that is rebuilding that is one less headache to be addressed.
Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.