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Injuries present Erik Gustafsson with a golden opportunity

Erik Gustafsson

Erik Gustafsson #26 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates during an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets at Wells Fargo Center on January 31, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

After losing Matt Carle to the Tampa Bay Lightning and with Chris Pronger, Andrej Meszaros, and Andreas Lilja all injured, the Philadelphia Flyers’ defense is a big question mark going into the 2012-13 campaign. At the same time, as the Flyers’ official website pointed out, it’s also an opportunity for Erik Gustafsson to earn a permanent spot on he Philadelphia Flyers’ roster.

Gustafsson made a good impression early in the 2011-12 campaign, but his season was derailed due to a wrist injury that required surgery. He ended up missing nine weeks and wasn’t the same when he returned.

Still, Gustafsson has had the off-season to get ready for a fresh start.

“It’s been a great summer,” he said. “I’ve had no setbacks at all. I’ve been working a little bit on strengthening the wrist, but otherwise I’ve just been working on the strength schedule (assistant strength and conditioning coach) Ryan Podell gave me and I feel like I’m in really good shape.”

Gustafsson sees this as the best opportunity he’s had with the Philadelphia Flyers. GM Paul Holmgren is pleased with his development and, given the situation that the Flyers are in, they might need a guy like Gustafsson to step up.