Flyers

Flyers lose another center to injury, 'going to sort out the pieces'

Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — Flyers centers are dropping like flies.

Nate Thompson became the latest to join the wounded forwards. The veteran fourth-line center missed practice Saturday after suffering a shoulder injury near the end of the Flyers' 6-3 loss to the Hurricanes.

Thompson underwent an MRI in the morning. Following practice, Alain Vigneault did not yet know the results of the MRI, but the head coach was not optimistic about Thompson's status.

"From what I saw yesterday after the game, his shoulder was dislocated," Vigneault said, "so I'm not expecting positive news."

With injuries to centers Kevin Hayes (abdominal), Derick Brassard (lower body) and Patrick Brown (thumb), the Flyers don't have a healthy extra forward. The club called up Morgan Frost on Wednesday and Connor Bunnaman on Friday. With their roster at the maximum of 23, the Flyers placed Brown on injured reserve Saturday night in order to recall Max Willman.

The Flyers have been hit hard by injuries within their big club and at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. Bunnaman is expected to move to the middle on the fourth line, giving the Flyers the option to recall Willman, who is a winger.

Wade Allison (ankle), Tanner Laczynski (hip) and Ryan Fitzgerald (lower body) are on season-opening injured reserve. Allison has been skating and recently joined the Phantoms for practice, but does not appear ready yet to return.

 

Per Tony Androckitis of InsideAHLHockey.com, forward prospects German Rubtsov, Linus Sandin and Tyson Foerster are also dealing with injuries.

"We're pretty stretched out here throughout our organization — here and with our farm," Vigneault said. "I think we've got 14 or 15 guys out at this time. We're just going to sort out the pieces right now and by tomorrow we'll have a plan."

More: Vigneault's message to Flyers fans

Thompson, a 37-year-old who has played 86 career playoff games, was signed by the Flyers in the offseason for his second stint with the club. He plays important minutes on the penalty kill and takes a lot of defensive zone faceoffs.

"He's a guy we brought back for his experience," Sean Couturier said Saturday. "He's been around for a while and knows his role. He's a big part on our fourth line. Next-man-up mentality — someone's going to get an opportunity to play and show what they can do."

The injuries are catching up to the Flyers, who have lost five straight and are 8-7-4 overall. The club visits the Devils on Sunday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

"There's no need to panic because there's a lot of hockey left," Couturier said, "but we definitely need to find some solutions to play some better hockey and get some wins."

On defense, the Flyers have missed top-pair guy Ryan Ellis (lower body). They haven't had Samuel Morin, who was projected to be their seventh defenseman before he had to undergo a procedure on his right knee Sept. 10.

On Sept. 21, Morin was listed as out for six to eight weeks, but his recovery has taken much longer. Last season, Morin played a career-high 20 games. The 26-year-old has endured two torn ACLs in his right knee.

Morin skated Saturday with skills coach Angelo Ricci, who was happy to see him back on the ice.

However, it still sounds like Morin has some ways to go before returning.

"I have no answers for you," Vigneault said. "Sam hasn't played all year. He's been skating, he's been rehabbing. I know sometimes it's going well. For him to be on the ice today, it has to be a positive step."

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