SanFilippo, Inside Reporter for philadelphiaflyers.com
GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – At one point in his
career with the Flyers organization, Rob Bordson
was considered a throw away. Now, he’s starting
to make the organization think differently.
When the Flyers traded Mike Richards to Los Angeles
in the summer of 2011 and brought back two contracts
– Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn –
they needed to add another contract to the deal
so they could stay within the 50-contract limit
for NHL teams.
Bordson was a guy that was lost in the shuffle
with the Adirondack Phantoms, so he was added
to the deal.
It didn’t matter to the Kings, who had
no intention of signing Bordson anyway, and a
few weeks later Bordson became an unrestricted
The native of Duluth, Minnesota was at a crossroads
of his young career and needed to figure out what
to do. With no NHL team interested and no AHL
team even willing to offer a tryout contract,
Bordson had little choice but try to start over
in the ECHL.
“It felt like I was starting the sport
all over again,” he said.
So Bordson latched on with the Trenton Titans.
At the start of last season, and had a renewed
focus to committing himself to a better focus
on the sport.
While at Trenton, a few scouts got to see him
play, including those from the Flyers.
“We were keeping tabs on him,” said
Flyers Director of Hockey Operations Chris Pryor.
“There was always something about him that
we liked, so we wanted to see if that would come
together for him.”
Did they ever.
While at Trenton last season, Bordson posted
the best offensive numbers of his career including
his time in the AHL, collegiately at the University
of Minnesota-Dultuth and even his one season in
the USHL – the top junior hockey league
in the United States.
Bordson, 24, played just 38 games for the Titans
but in that time amassed 51 points (17 goals,
34 assists). It was enough to earn him an amateur
tryout contract with the Rochester Americans.
He only played eight games with Rochester, before
that tryout contract expired and it wasn’t
renewed. But that’s when the Flyers came
calling again and said they’d like to give
Bordson another chance.
So they signed him to a new deal and he finished
out the season playing 24 games with the Phantoms.
But now he was going to be used differently.
The Phantoms wanted to see how he would look as
a shut down forward, playing against the top players
on the opposing team.
He did a decent enough job to finish the 11-12
season that he was brought back for training camp
However, with the trickle down effect of NHL
talent in the AHL, many believed Bordson’s
ticket was going to once again be punched for
Except he stuck with the Phantoms.
And through the first nine games he’s really
impressed coach Terry Murray.
“He’s a player that really thinks
the game,” said Murray, who certainly has
an appreciation for players with a strong background
in the mental part of the sport. “He plays
really well within the system and he knows his
role and plays it well. He’s a guy that
you can trust to do his job the right way. And
he is always willing to learn. He asks a lot of
good questions in practice. You can see that he
really embraces his role.”
And it’s a role that’s difficult
for some players to undertake because when you’re
a forward and your good enough to make it to the
AHL, your background is usually one rooted in
So, to suddenly accept a role where you have
to unselfishly put aside that skill to provide
the team with the kind of hard work and energy
that is often overlooked by fans because it’s
not easily measured statistically takes a real
understanding and commitment that often is lost
on young players at this level.
“There are three zones on the ice and you
have to be responsible in all three,” Bordson
said. “Everyone at this level has played
power play or top line minutes at some point previously
and they still want to do that. I’m not
really worried about that. I like playing a defensive
role. I just want to play hard and be a team-oriented
“It’s been a lifelong goal to get
to the NHL. I’m one league away. I’m
playing in the best league in North America at
the moment and with all the talent that’s
down here, it’s awesome. If that’s
my ticket to the NHL – to be a defensive
forward, a shut down guy and a penalty killer,
then that’s what I’m going to do.”
The notion of Bordson being an NHL caliber player
was definitely a long shot a year ago, and while
he’s still not considered an elite prospect,
he’s at least on the radar as a guy who
might be able to develop into a fourth line type/penalty
kill specialist in the future.
“He’s a guy that grows on you,”
Pryor said. “He does a lot of little things
really well. When you don’t see how he is
day in and day out, you maybe don’t see
it, but as a coach you get to see it every day
and a guy like that grows on you and they know
they can rely on them. A player like him is very
“You have to find an identity and sometimes
that takes awhile. He’s been through a lot
with different organizations, but he’s figured
it out and will do whatever it takes to play.
He’s a versatile guy.”
But will that translate to getting a chance in
“There’s an opportunity here for
sure,” Pryor said. “It ultimately
depends on what he does himself but people in
the organization do like him because of what he
does. You never really know, but I agree with
Terry. What Sean (Couturier) did really well for
the Flyers last year, Rob is doing at this level
for the Phantoms this year.
“Down the road, whether that would be this
year, next year, or whenever the time might come,
I don’t think it’s outside the realm
of possibility that he be able to do that [reach
And that’s all Bordson wants is a chance.
“I just want to keep learning from Terry
Murray,” Bordson said. “He’s
got a lot of experience and knows what it takes
to make it to the NHL. I just want to listen to
what he says, learn from him and get better.
“I take pride in playing in both ends of
the rink. There’s something that makes you
feel good about shutting down the other team’s
top line, or killing off a penalty. I’ll
do that any day.”
And who knows, “any day” may turn
into “today” some day soon for Bordson
when it comes to fulfilling that dream if he maintains
his selflessness and work ethic.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37
Monday, November 12 (7:00) -
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and Garrett Roe. Tweet your questions for the
players to @phantomshockey and we'll read the
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Wednesday, November 14 (10:00 am)
- Adirondack Phantoms at Manchester
Friday, November 16 (7:00) - Adirondack
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Saturday, November 17 (7:30) -
Adirondack Phantoms at Syracuse Crunch
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Wednesday, November 21 (7:00) -
Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Adirondack Phantoms
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Friday, November 23 (7:00) - Norfolk
Admirals at Adirondack Phantoms - Annual Black
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Saturday, November 24 (7:00) - Hershey
Bears at Adirondack Phantoms - Men's Cancer Awareness
Includes Phantoms Youth Jersey Giveaway presented
by Glens Falls Hospital Rehabilitation Team. Phantoms
Mustache Jerseys and post-game auction presented
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of proceeds to benefit C.R. Wood Cancer Center
at Glens Falls Hospital.
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