VOORHEES, N.J. — After the Flyers laid out an initial prognosis that defenseman Andrew MacDonald would miss the first few weeks of the regular season, it turns out the Flyers defenseman will be ready for the season opener on Oct. 4 in Las Vegas.
“He’s good to go,” general manager Ron Hextall said. “I’ve been watching him for awhile. He seems to have an ability to heal quickly and he’s done it again.”
The Flyers also expect to work MacDonald into a couple of the remaining preseason games.
MacDonald’s importance to the Flyers' blue line can’t be understated. Last season, he missed games with a lower-body injury, the result of a blocked shot, and the Flyers proceeded to win just three of their next 15 games, going 3-6-6 during that stretch.
MacDonald’s presence should also help stabilize the defensive pairings, as he’ll likely work with Robert Hägg, who has struggled recently, to start the season with Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere comprising the top pairing.
After losing Martel, Flyers fear there could be more
Organizationally, the Flyers appear stacked at the forward position, and so it didn’t come as much of a surprise to see the Tampa Bay Lightning claim 5-foot-9 forward Danick Martel off waivers Saturday (see story).
The move ensures Martel will be on the Lightning’s opening night roster, where there wasn’t much of a fit on the Flyers.
“The system is set up for guys like that,” Hextall said. “Good for Danick. It’s probably not the last time it’s going to happen to us in the next few years. We’ve got a lot of players and we’ve got a lot of good young players. We certainly would have liked to keep (Danick) in the system, but that’s the way the device is made for, to give a guy a chance.”
If prospects Mikhail Vorobyev, Carsen Twarynski or Phil Myers make the team’s final roster, the Flyers would have to make room by placing a veteran such as, Michael Raffl, Dale Weise or Jori Lehtera on waivers to create the necessary roster space.
Other injury updates
A day after coming off the ice prematurely, center Sean Couturier is dealing with soreness which kept him out of practice on Sunday. The Flyers still expect Couturier to play in at least one, if not two, preseason games.
Defenseman Travis Sanheim remains on track to resume skating this week. The Flyers' second-year defenseman has not practiced since sustaining an upper-body injury after he was driven into the boards by the Islanders' Matt Martin last Sunday in the Flyers' preseason opener.
Wayne Simmonds continues to maintain his diligent preseason regimen. The Flyers' power forward says he's “pretty antsy” to get in some needed game action. Simmonds was working with the top power play unit — a group that also included Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, Shayne Gostisbehere and Mikhail Vorobyev. The Flyers are aiming for Simmonds to see action in at least one of the final two preseason games.