Even with injuries, the Flyers remained determined to not rush Carter Hart.
And there really was no rush.
The Flyers on Sunday sent Hart and defensemen Mark Friedman and Philippe Myers to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley as the big club's roster rounds into shape.
Hart, the organization's prized goalie prospect taken in the second round of the 2016 draft, had said his goal was to make the Flyers in 2018-19 after a historic junior career (see story). That idea seemed unlikely entering training camp but the notion started to become plausible when injuries struck Michal Neuvirth and Alex Lyon.
Still, general manager Ron Hextall and his staff felt it was best to have Hart open the year with the Phantoms while rolling with Brian Elliott and Anthony Stolarz next Thursday for the regular-season opener in Vegas.
Last week, Hextall expressed doubt that Neuvirth (undisclosed injury) would be ready for opening night but the goalie's overall timeline was unknown.
Hextall said Sunday via conference call that Neuvirth is skating and could be available for the home opener Oct. 9, which means the Flyers feel comfortable riding Elliott for the first two games and having Stolarz as the backup.
Ultimately, they want Hart to play and get reps.
The 20-year-old posted a 1.88 goals-against average and .922 save percentage over four preseason games. With Lyon (lower-body injury) out until likely mid-October, Hart will be Lehigh Valley's starting goalie on opening night Oct. 6.
Friedman, 22, put together a nice preseason. The 2016 third-round pick known for his physicality was a plus-4 during exhibition play and showed he can be a call-up candidate for the Flyers.
Myers was recalled Saturday for one game after being loaned to the Phantoms Tuesday. Ranked a top-50 prospect by NHL Network, Myers will be watched closely as he develops during his second season at Lehigh Valley. There's a strong chance he will make his NHL debut at some point during 2018-19.
The Flyers' roster is now down to 29 players but, with five injuries, it's actually at 24 and must be trimmed to 23 before the Oct. 4 season opener.
Travis Konecny, RW, No. 11
Michael Raffl, RW, No. 12
Sean Couturier, C, No. 14
Jori Lehtera, C, No. 15
Wayne Simmonds, RW, No. 17
Nolan Patrick, C, No. 19
Taylor Leier, LW, No. 20
Scott Laughton, C, No. 21
Dale Weise, RW, No. 22
James van Riemsdyk, LW, No. 25
Claude Giroux, RW, No. 28
Corban Knight, C, No. 38 (injured)
Jordan Weal, C, No. 40
Mikhail Vorobyev, C, No. 46
Oskar Lindblom, LW, No. 54
Pascal Laberge, C, No. 75 (injured)
Jakub Voracek, RW, No. 93
Radko Gudas, No. 3
Samuel Morin, No. 5 (injured)
Travis Sanheim, No. 6
Robert Hagg, No. 8
Ivan Provorov, No. 9
Christian Folin, No. 26
Andrew MacDonald, No. 47
Shayne Gostisbehere, No. 53
Michal Neuvirth, No. 30 (injured)
Alex Lyon, No. 34 (injured)
Brian Elliott, No. 37
Anthony Stolarz, No. 41