Flyers

Flyers' Carter Hart to miss time with right lower abdominal strain injury

Flyers' Carter Hart to miss time with right lower abdominal strain injury

It won't matter how well the Flyers are playing. This season, the team will be thankful for its NHL-mandated bye week from Jan. 22-30.

Especially after Carter Hart's right lower abdominal strain injury, which will keep the 21-year-old goalie out for two to three weeks.

As a result, the Flyers on Wednesday called up Alex Lyon under emergency conditions from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. The Flyers needed cap space and roster room for Lyon, so rookie Joel Farabee was loaned to the Phantoms, while the team also placed veteran Chris Stewart on waivers.

Hart, who has been instrumental in the Flyers' improvements, left practice early Tuesday with the injury. Because of the break, Hart may miss only four to seven games. Shayne Gostisbehere will also use the break to rest up from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

In his first full NHL season, Hart has gone 15-11-3 with a 2.61 goals-against average and .905 save percentage over 32 games, while he has been dominant at home, going 13-2-2 with a 1.69 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.

Brian Elliott was already slated to start Wednesday in St. Louis against the Blues (8 p.m. ET/NBCSN). Lyon could be called upon to start Thursday's game against the Canadiens at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Farabee is not expected to be with the Phantoms for long and is an important piece to the Flyers' youth movement ahead of the Feb. 24 trade deadline (see story). Stewart will play Wednesday night and if he clears waivers, he can report to Lehigh Valley, while a roster spot would be open for Farabee's return.

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Flyers NHL trade deadline option: A boost from Ducks' Derek Grant?

Flyers NHL trade deadline option: A boost from Ducks' Derek Grant?

Leading up to the Feb. 24 NHL trade deadline, we'll look at potential targets on the market and why they may or may not fit the Flyers' plans.

Derek Grant

Age: 29
Height: 6-3
Weight: 206
Team: Anaheim Ducks
2019-20 cap hit: $700,000

Scouting report

The well-traveled center has picked an opportune time for a career year. Grant, who is playing for his sixth NHL team, already owns a personal-best 14 goals and is five points away from breaking his career high of 24 set in 2017-18.

Grant, who has some positional versatility, possesses the characteristics the Flyers targeted last offseason — quality size, good physicality and strength in puck battles.

He's not highly skilled or an active playmaker, but the fourth-line center leads Anaheim's forwards in shorthanded minutes per game and is solid in the faceoff circle.

Projection

This one checks a lot of boxes.

It would make sense for the Ducks, who are in second-to-last place of the Western Conference, to sell high on Grant's stock. He's an older role player putting up career numbers and can become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

Grant's cap hit fits the Flyers' plans and he wouldn't block the team's future down the middle given his expiring contract.

The Flyers very well may be happy enough with 21-year-old Connor Bunnaman's play. And if they want more offense, Morgan Frost is heating up at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley (three goals, two assists in last five games). The 2017 first-round pick could take over third-line center duties, while Scott Laughton would give the Flyers tons of depth at fourth-line center.

But if they want more experience and a player enjoying his best offensive season yet, Grant is a nice option. Adding him would likely only require trading a lower-round draft pick.

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Sorry NHL trade buzz, sorry Flyers' playoff push — Oskar Lindblom's smile wins the day

Sorry NHL trade buzz, sorry Flyers' playoff push — Oskar Lindblom's smile wins the day

All the trade fodder and debate took a backseat.

Gaining ground in the playoff race and smelling first place felt inconsequential.

Quite frankly, nothing compares to Oskar Lindblom's smile.

Just ask the Flyers.

“Oh, it’s awesome. His smile, you know, he’s just a great guy to have around — he brightens your day," Justin Braun said. "The fact that he’s doing well and he’s able to come to the rink and see the boys is just fantastic.”

Lindblom, the Flyers’ 23-year-old forward who is battling Ewing’s sarcoma, surprised the team Saturday by greeting it after a 4-2 win over the Jets at the Wells Fargo Center.

Lindblom visited the entire team and staff in early-to-mid January, when he had begun his cancer treatment.

Once again Saturday, the Swedish native's vibrant smile uplifted everyone. It always does.

“Really good, really good to see him," Scott Laughton said, trying to put his emotions into words. "Just really good to see him.”

"It’s great to see him, I haven’t seen him in a couple weeks," Carter Hart added. "I'm sure he was happy to come to the rink and see the boys. All of us are happy to see him and he’s looking great."

The Flyers had a lot to be happy about Saturday. They strengthened their playoff chances, crept to within three points of the Penguins and Capitals in the Metropolitan Division race and general manager Chuck Fletcher watched his team further cement its status as a contender ahead of Monday's 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline (see observations).

But head coach Alain Vigneault's first postgame comments were about Lindblom.

“He was smiling," Vigneault said. "Great smile, looked beautiful.

“Makes everybody feel good. There’s no doubt that we’re all behind him, his teammates are obviously checking up on him on a regular basis and so is the whole staff.

"But to see him live, it’s just beautiful.”

For the the Flyers, it doesn't get better than that.

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