So, this is a bit out of nowhere, but we’ve got some late-breaking news on the injury front for your no-longer-on-a-losing-streak Philadelphia Flyers:
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) December 6, 2017
Per the release from the Flyers, Brennan (who will wear number 43) and Lyon (number 49) will both be available to the Flyers tonight as they square off with the Oilers in Edmonton.
I have questions. So may you! Let’s walk through them.
So modern technology is really at the point where we can not only get two individuals from Allentown, Pennsylvania to Edmonton, Alberta but also have them potentially ready to play in a hockey game that same night?
Indeed. So wait, what happened to Manning?
Good question! Manning was getting regular shifts through the entirety of the game on Monday in Calgary, and there’s been no word on a potential injury until just now. It’s unclear what’s ailing him, as the Flyers didn’t even bother to tell us whether his upper or lower-body was injured. In any case, he’s now unavailable for tonight’s and tomorrow’s games, though he can be activated prior to next Tuesday’s home date with the Maple Leafs.
I mean, Michal Neuvirth kind of just exists in a perpetual state of injury, doesn’t he?
In all seriousness, though, it’s also not clear what happened to Neuvirth, who last played on Tuesday, November 28 against San Jose (a game in which he did not look good). Assuming this IR designation is a retroactive one, I think that Neuvirth can actually be removed from it at any time, since it’s already been seven days since he last played in a game. But given the move to actually call up a goalie it seems safe to say, at the least, that he won’t play tonight or tomorrow.
How exciting is it that the Flyers now have a South Jersey Native actually on their team?
Extremely! But really, cool moment for T.J. Brennan, who has been great for the Phantoms for the past year-plus and will at least get to hang with the team that he grew up rooting for.
Is he actually going to play, though?
I would lean towards no, barring another injury or a horrendous performance tonight, and would think that Mark Alt is probably more likely to slide into the lineup tonight in Manning’s stead. He was the guy they called up first, after all. But we’ll see. They did rush him on a plane to Edmonton, after all.
Wait, why didn’t they call up Samuel Morin?
What about Phil Myers?
Do the Phantoms actually have any defensemen left on their roster?
Sucks for them. So what’s this mean for the Flyers’ defense?
Well, Ivan Provorov is probably going to play about 35 minutes tonight. And since he’s the only “veteran” currently in the lineup with Radko Gudas still suspended, Andrew MacDonald’s probably going to play about 30. Meanwhile, my guess is that whoever gets the lineup spot between Alt and Brennan will probably play with Travis Sanheim, and will get very little ice time.
The other big question this leaves lineup-wise is that of who will fill in for Manning on the penalty kill. Right now, the Flyers will pretty much have to put one of Sanheim, Shayne Gostisbehere, or their Phantoms fill-in out there when they go to kill penalties. Is Alt that guy? Or do they trust Sanheim to take on that role? We’ll find out.
Moving on, then: so is Lyon going to make his NHL debut?
It’s tough to say for certain and probably depends on how long Neuvirth is actually out for. My guess is that the Flyers are going to send Elliott out tonight against Edmonton, and unless it goes very poorly for him or he gets injured, he’s probably also going to play tomorrow in Vancouver. So if Neuvirth is only out for these two games, I doubt we see any Alex Lyon. Now, if Neuvirth’s actually out for a month or so, then yes, he’ll probably get in a game somewhere. We saw this all unfold with Steve Mason and Anthony Stolarz last season; if the Flyers have a young goalie that they’re clearly not comfortable giving NHL time to, they’re not afraid to ride their starter for as long as they possibly can.
Should they be comfortable giving NHL time to Lyon?
Meh. Lyon hasn’t exactly played well this year, in what had the potential to be a big season for him after Anthony Stolarz’s knee injury. With an acknowledgment to the fact that the pieces in front of him have changed a lot this year, particularly on defense, Lyon’s .894 save percentage isn’t something to write home about. This isn’t quite the same situation as it was last year with Stolarz, who was off to a great start before getting called up and was clearly pretty close to NHL-ready. I don’t think the Flyers would be calling him up unless they thought they had to.
Something like that.