Flyers

Flyers Injury Update: Nolan Patrick, Brian Elliott

Flyers Injury Update: Nolan Patrick, Brian Elliott

It's no secret the Flyers aren't the healthiest of teams in the NHL.

They've played six goalies because of injuries and their center depth has taken a hit.

Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher provided clarity Thursday on six players recovering from ailments:

Nolan Patrick

The Flyers are hoping to get the 20-year-old center back sometime next week.

Patrick, who suffered an upper-body injury last week against the Lightning, has missed the past four games. He took part in the morning skate Thursday and is "feeling very good," Fletcher said.

Fletcher said Patrick was scheduled to see one of the team doctors Thursday night and will "hopefully be cleared for contact [Friday]."

The 2017 second overall pick hasn't put up the offensive production many had hoped for his second season. Patrick has two points in his last 19 games and 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 33 games overall.

"I think you've got to realize that points for guys that are first- or second-round picks usually go to teams that don't have the offensive players we have here," Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon said last week. "To me, what I like is the defensive play, which will eventually lead to more offensive opportunities. For me, I like that piece. That piece is going to stay with him."

Claude Giroux played left winger Thursday night, meaning Scott Laughton was the Flyers' second-line center.

Brian Elliott

On Nov. 16, the Flyers were hoping their No. 1 goalie would miss only approximately two weeks.

That has not gone as planned.

Elliott is still on injured reserve with a lower-body ailment as Michal Neuvirth and 20-year-old Carter Hart hold down the crease.

Elliott, who is 33 years old and underwent core muscle surgery last February, was skating with the team in early-to-mid December but had to return home from the first five-game road trip for a medical appointment.

The good news is Elliott hasn't required surgery.

"Brian is progressing pretty well," Fletcher said. "We are hoping he is back on the ice by this weekend and hope to get him back to practicing with the team in 10 to 14 days."

Other notes

• Defenseman Andrew MacDonald (lower-body injury) was out Thursday night and will miss Saturday's game. The Flyers are hoping he's back skating Monday. They have a home game that night against the Blues.

• Defensive prospect Samuel Morin (ACL surgery) is practicing in full with the team but has not been cleared for contact. The 23-year-old is still slated for a mid-February return.

• Center Corban Knight, who has been out since late October with an upper-body injury, will see a doctor Jan. 17 when the Flyers "expect him to be cleared to practice with the team without contact," according to Fletcher. The team is hoping he can return in mid-to-late February.

• The Flyers are hoping to have goalie Anthony Stolarz back on the ice this weekend. Stolarz suffered a lower-body injury Dec. 15, which eventually led to Hart's arrival.

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Report: Flyers, Kevin Hayes closing in on 7-year contract

Report: Flyers, Kevin Hayes closing in on 7-year contract

It appears Kevin Hayes is nearing a payday and Chuck Fletcher is close to getting his guy.

Hayes and the Flyers are closing in on a seven-year, $50 million contract, according to a report Tuesday night by TSN's Bob McKenzie. That would be an average of $7.14 million per season.

Per Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Fletcher said Tuesday night: "We are still working on things. I'm hopeful we'll get it done."

If it gets done under the reported terms, it's a hefty contract.

It shows you how much the Flyers' general manager wants Hayes, who projects to be the team's second-line center. For some context, Sean Couturier is making $4.3 million a season. James van Riemsdyk, a two-time 30-goal scorer, is making $7 million a season.

But when you have $30 million in cap space and you're looking to get better significantly and quickly, you make a splash and this would qualify as one.

Hayes, a 6-foot-5, 216-pound forward, is 27 years old, scored a career-high 25 goals in 2017-18 and a career-best 55 points this past season. That doesn't exactly meet or warrant the reported terms of the contract, but the Flyers are clearly projecting and believe his prime years are ahead. They also wanted to do their best in preventing Hayes from testing the free-agent market, starting June 23.

The Flyers traded for his rights on June 3, sending a 2019 fifth-round pick to the Jets. Without a deal, Hayes will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Hayes, who played under Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault from 2014-18 in New York, is a smart and responsible two-way forward. The Flyers want more of those qualities after putting up a minus-37 goal differential and allowing the NHL's third-most goals per game at 3.41 in 2018-19.

"There are not a lot of centermen in the marketplace and Kevin is a quality hockey player," Fletcher said last week. "He plays a strong 200-foot game. He's a guy who can play both specialty teams. He's familiar with our coach and our coach is familiar with him. So, we just thought it made sense to try to get ahead of it.

"He plays well away from the puck. He understands the game. He has hockey sense. He can contribute offensively. We gave up 281 goals last year, we have to get better. We have to have more players that play a strong 200-foot game. I'd like to improve the penalty kill. Having depth through the middle of the ice will make us harder to play against."

Fletcher has been busy, reshaping the Flyers' defense. Now it's time to lock up Hayes, his strategy all along.

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2019 NHL draft profile: 'Elite skater' Philip Broberg could help Flyers restock on defense

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2019 NHL draft profile: 'Elite skater' Philip Broberg could help Flyers restock on defense

The 2019 NHL entry draft is Friday and Saturday in Vancouver, British Columbia. General manager Chuck Fletcher, assistant general manager Brent Flahr and the Flyers hold the 11th overall pick and eight selections in total.

"This draft's a little unique," Flahr said last week. "Especially in the top 15, there are a number of different types of players, which is interesting — some power wingers, some smaller scoring wingers, some centermen, there's a number of D, a goaltender.

"We've identified probably five or six guys that we think have a chance to be there at 11 and probably some of the other teams in front of us will dictate that. But we're really confident we're going to get a good player."

This week, we are breaking down options for the Flyers at No. 11.

Philip Broberg

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 200
Shoots: Left
Team: AIK

Scouting report

Watch video clips of Broberg and he will wow you with his skating. He looks like an NHL forward the way he uses his powerful stride to singlehandedly push the puck up ice and create plays in the offensive zone.

The Swede is considered a top-three defenseman in the draft because of his impressive size and polished skating. He has a super high ceiling and played 41 games at the pro level in his home country, scoring nine points (two goals, seven assists).

"Good size, elite skater, played with men all year, so I don't think he had the best year statistically when you watch him, but he had a real strong April tournament," Flahr said. "He has a physical package that's really intriguing for a lot of teams. He's an NHL player, for sure. Whether he has the upside offensively as some of the others, maybe not, but he's going to be a terrific player."

Fit with Flyers

If Broberg is available at No. 11, don't be surprised to see the Flyers take him. Flahr and Fletcher emphasized drafting upside over anything else in the first round, while the Flyers have goals to replenish the organizational depth at defensemen.

With a forward-heavy top half of the first round, there's a good chance the Flyers will have an opportunity to take the second or third defenseman in the draft. Flahr said the Flyers have a couple of blueliners ranked in their top 10.

Broberg's upside would be a welcomed addition to the Flyers' prospect pool, which has steadily seen a promising crop of defensemen graduate to the big club.

More on the 2019 NHL draft

• Flyers take one of draft's best D-men in this 1st-round mock

Trading No. 11 pick? Draft dynamic? That and more here

• Flyers like 'unique' winger Boldy as option for No. 11 overall pick

• Impressive playmaking center Krebs could be there for Flyers at No. 11

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