Michael Raffl's injury didn't look good Monday night when the Flyers' winger skated off the ice without putting any pressure on his left leg.
What didn't look good turned out to be the reality Tuesday.
Raffl will miss approximately four to six weeks with a lower-body injury, which appears to be to his left knee.
During the second period of the Flyers' 4-1 loss to the Avalanche, Raffl was checked into the backboards by defenseman Patrik Nemeth. He dropped to both knees and was unable to get up before being attended to by head trainer Jim McCrossin.
As the Flyers have gotten deeper at forward, Raffl has gone more unnoticed, dropping to a bottom-six role. However, he is an underrated player because of his experience, penalty-kill work and strength on the puck.
Among Flyers forwards, Raffl was playing the third-most shorthanded minutes, behind only Scott Laughton and Sean Couturier. He had just one giveaway and was fifth on the team in hits with 16.
The Flyers' penalty kill, which entered Tuesday with an NHL-worst 10 goals allowed and a 30th-ranked percentage (68.8.), will now be without one of its better pieces.
"This is a team of togetherness, it's not one or two guys doing everything," goalie Brian Elliott said Monday. "He's a big player for us."
The Flyers are already without winger James van Riemsdyk, who was ruled out Oct. 8 for five to six weeks because of a lower-body injury. An upper-body injury also kept center Nolan Patrick out for three games from Oct. 13-18.
The likely replacements for Raffl are centers Corban Knight and Mikhail Vorobyev (see story). Both can play winger if needed. Vorobyev is a 21-year-old rookie known for his passing and skill, while the 28-year-old Knight fits the PK mold.
"During his time with us in Lehigh Valley, [Knight has] become one of our top PKers within the organization and that's what he built his training camp on," Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said last week. "He's earned the opportunity here."
The Flyers could also place Raffl on injured reserve and call up a winger from the Phantoms or activate goalie Michal Neuvirth, who has been practicing and is nearing a return after opening the season on IR.
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