When the Feb. 24 trade deadline passed, general manager Chuck Fletcher mentioned the importance of adding depth because hockey happens.
Freak plays, bad bounces, bumps and bruises.
Hockey has happened for the Flyers in a span of 16 days since the deadline, when the team acquired forwards Derek Grant and Nate Thompson.
The two roster casualties for those additions are already back with the big club. Joel Farabee returned when James van Riemsdyk went down last week with a broken right index finger, while Connor Bunnaman was recalled Wednesday because of a left knee sprain for Thompson, who will miss a minimum of two weeks after suffering the injury during the first period of the Flyers' 2-0 loss Tuesday to the Bruins.
With Philippe Myers' right knee injury, Mark Friedman was also called up Wednesday to give the Flyers an extra defenseman.
Fletcher's deadline work is looking more and more important by the day (or injury).
"That’s exactly it," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Wednesday after practice. "Since that time, we’ve lost a couple players. For me, this is next man up. Guys have got to play, have got to play well. Some guys are going to get opportunities to get a little more ice time, a little bigger role. That’s what they need to do."
Thompson was playing fourth-line center and killing penalties. Bunnaman has played very little shorthanded during his 21 games with the Flyers, so players like Grant, Scott Laughton, Michael Raffl and Tyler Pitlick will have to eat up more PK minutes. Claude Giroux, who has played only 1:36 minutes shorthanded through seven games since the deadline, could be asked to take back some PK responsibilities, especially with his strengths in the faceoff circle.
Shayne Gostisbehere is back on the power play, while Travis Sanheim will need to chip in further at shorthanded and 5-on-5.
Everyone has to adjust. The Flyers, who are 19-6-1 since Jan. 8 and 6-1-0 since the deadline, believe they can keep things rolling. They have no reason not to believe.
“Playoff feel has been around this locker room for over a month now," Kevin Hayes said. "I remember coming off the All-Star break, I think we were in the second wild card maybe, we might not have even been in the playoffs. We knew it was going to be time to strap in and figure it out and determine what type of team we were going to be. I think a lot of that has to do with our extra players. It’s competition every night where if you’re not playing the right way consistently, you’re going to be out of the lineup.
"I feel like we have guys in Lehigh, guys that are up here that don’t play as much that can come in, step in and play.
"We have a lot of confidence in this group, it’s a fun feeling, it’s a great feeling, it’s a feeling you don’t have every year. It’s something that we’re all looking forward to."
Here's a look at the Flyers' projected lineup leading into Thursday night's road game against the Lightning (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Joel Farabee-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny
Scott Laughton-Derek Grant-Tyler Pitlick
Michael Raffl-Connor Bunnaman-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun
Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg
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