Flyers

Flyers mascot Gritty is all about the Kentucky Derby

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Gritty's official Twitter account

Flyers mascot Gritty is all about the Kentucky Derby

When the Kentucky Derby rolls around, we all show our excitement in different ways.

Some head to the track, some place wagers, some gather with friends at a local establishment.

Gritty expressed his excitement ... in his own special way.

After all, this is the orange fella's first Derby. Accompanied by one of his secret service agents, Gritty hit the farm and did things. The guy is a grinder, just puts in the work until the job is done.

The 2019 Kentucky Derby coverage begins Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

We know Gritty will be watching somewhere — the Wells Fargo Center, the farm, somewhere.

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Flyers trade T.J. Brennan to Blackhawks for Nathan Noel

Flyers trade T.J. Brennan to Blackhawks for Nathan Noel

The Flyers made a minor trade to wrap up their deadline work Monday.

The team sent Phantoms defenseman T.J. Brennan to the Blackhawks in exchange for forward Nathan Noel.

Brennan, a South Jersey native, had apparently fallen out of favor with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. Brennan hadn't played a game for the Phantoms since Jan. 10, his fourth season with Lehigh Valley. In only 28 games this season, the 30-year-old blueliner had one goal and seven assists.

During his career, Brennan never appeared in a game for the Flyers. He's set to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

Noel, who will report to ECHL affiliate Reading, was a 2016 fourth-round draft pick of Chicago. The 22-year-old center had six goals and 11 assists for the ECHL's Indy Fuel this season and will be a restricted free agent in the offseason.

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NHL trade deadline: Flyers acquire Derek Grant in trade with Ducks

NHL trade deadline: Flyers acquire Derek Grant in trade with Ducks

Updated: 1:37 p.m.

VOORHEES, N.J. — General manager Chuck Fletcher has put a focus on adding to his group of forwards to augment the Flyers' playoff push.

Shortly after acquiring Nate Thompson (see story), the Flyers made a much more notable depth acquisition ahead of Monday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline. Fletcher acquired Derek Grant from the Ducks in exchange for Phantoms forward Kyle Criscuolo and a 2020 fourth-round draft pick. The pick will be the better of the two fourth-round selections the Flyers have — their own pick and the one they acquired from the Predators last deadline.

Grant, a well-traveled forward with positional versatility, already owns a personal-best 14 goals and is five points away from breaking his career high of 24 set in 2017-18.

Head coach Alain Vigneault mentioned how Grant, who can play center or winger, could open on the wing with the Flyers, while Thompson appears to be a fourth-line center type.

The 29-year-old Grant checked a lot of boxes for the Flyers (see story). His cap hit is only $700,000 and he can become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, so he doesn't block the club's future down the middle or on the wing.

"We’ll have to figure out where he fits in best with our team," Vigneault said Monday after practice. "In doing our homework, the feedback that we got back was that he’s a very versatile player who can play all the positions. I felt that was important. It gives me a little bit more leeway as far as certain nights when some guys are on top of their game or some other guys are a little bit off. We’ll see. We’ll have some decisions to make."

Grant was playing fourth-line center for the Ducks, his sixth NHL team, and was one of their best penalty killers. The move made Connor Bunnaman an odd man out of the lineup as the rookie was loaned to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley after practice. He played well as a rookie, but Grant gives the Flyers experience, size, a boost on special teams and some secondary scoring potential.

"This was obviously the whole staff getting together — pro scouts, management and coaches — analyzing our team, analyzing where we are," Vigneault said. "I think it was an easy conclusion to make that if we could improve our depth, we would do that. So far, that’s what we’ve done. We’ve been able to add a fourth-line centerman that’s going to help us in Thompson on the PK. Grant’s got a little bit more versatility, he can play all three positions, he’s been used in a PK and power play role.

"So we felt that we needed a little bit more depth in this final push here moving forward, and so far that’s what we’ve added."

The Flyers have relied on younger forwards Bunnaman, Joel Farabee and Nicolas Aube-Kubel, all of whom have held their own during the playoff race. Since Jan. 8, the Flyers are 13-5-1 with an NHL-high 68 goals.

However, the Flyers had only 12 healthy forwards with 20 games remaining and competing in the NHL's deepest division (see story). Farabee was also loaned to the Phantoms, but there's a good chance he'll be back with the big club at some point.

"We're pretty comfortable with the group we have, but bringing in some experience always helps. You can't have enough experience down the road," Sean Couturier said. "It's nice to see the confidence from the management. It's just up to us now to go out there and keep doing our job, keep winning games."

Grant is expected to be in the Flyers' lineup Tuesday night against the Sharks (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

"Remembering him, he's a big guy, pretty strong out there, tough to play against," Couturier said. "It's nice to see some addition. I think he's having a great year, too, so we'll definitely need him down the road."

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