Flyers

Flyers notes, quotes and tidbits: Hello, Shayne Gostisbehere

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USA Today Images

Flyers notes, quotes and tidbits: Hello, Shayne Gostisbehere

VOORHEES, N.J. — With 13 points, Shayne Gostisbehere is tied for the NHL lead among all defensemen.
 
And he's even missed the last three games recovering from an upper-body injury.
 
That goes to show the impact he makes on the Flyers when healthy and himself, which he appears to be again ahead of Saturday night's game against the Colorado Avalanche at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m./NBC Sports Philadelphia).
 
Gostisbehere took full part in the morning skate and sounds ready to rejoin the Flyers' lineup. However, he is considered a game-time decision, according to head coach Dave Hakstol. The Flyers will dress seven defensemen during pregame warmups and then make a decision on the six to play.
 
Barring some unforeseen setback, though, expect to see Gostisbehere's return.
 
"I'm good," Gostisbehere said. "I feel great.
 
"I believe it's going to be a game-time sort of thing. I feel like I'm ready and we'll see where it's at."
 
If Gostisbehere does play, Hakstol didn't believe he would have to strictly watch the blueliner's minutes. The 24-year-old has been out with an upper-body injury after he was boarded by Maple Leafs center Leo Komarov last Saturday in Toronto.
 
Since then, the Flyers have scored just five goals in three games, including an overtime loss to the NHL-worst Coyotes and a shutout to the Blackhawks. The power play, which Gostisbehere dynamically quarterbacks, is 1 for 6 without him. And despite the defense's gritty effort Thursday in St. Louis, resulting in a 2-0 win over the red-hot Blues, the Flyers desperately need Gostisbehere's presence.
 
Not only for his offense and improved defensive approach, but also for the experience in just his third season. The Flyers suited up four rookies Thursday because of injuries decimating the blue line. With Andrew MacDonald (injured reserve, lower body) and Radko Gudas (day to day, upper body) out, Gostisbehere suddenly becomes the Flyers' defenseman with the most NHL games under his belt at 153, a few more than Brandon Manning's 151.
 
Now, the Flyers should have a critical piece back — baby steps to getting healthy again.
 
Injury updates
Gudas did not partake in the morning skate and it looks like he'll miss his second straight game.
 
Rookie center Nolan Patrick, on the other hand, participated, albeit in a yellow jersey while the rest of the team did so in the usual orange and black practice getups. Patrick, out since Oct. 26 with an upper-body injury and now on IR, did not do much during the skate and departed before it finished.
 
Get the Weal rollin'
Forward Jordan Weal, a true rink rat, was one of the last off the ice, as usual.
 
He prides himself on preparation.
 
"It's the mindset of making sure everything is fine-tuned for when you get to the game, the little plays that you need to make out there, making sure coming off the wall, taking pucks off the boards, that you're feeling comfortable with everything," Weal said. "I've been doing that for a long time. I guess it's a part of the DNA, as well, because I think the more time you put into something, it becomes habit, you don't have to think about it as much. When you don't have to think about the little things out there as much, you can worry about making plays and creating chances for yourself and your line."
 
His line now consists of Jori Lehtera and Dale Weise, the team's third unit.
 
Weal likes the group and will be counted on to make plays.
 
"Both big bodies, both guys that have had a lot of success in the NHL," Weal said. "We're really moving our feet together well and creating chances and opportunities for ourselves. That's what we've got to do."
 
After putting up four points in his first five games, Weal has only one in the past seven. His secondary scoring is important to the Flyers. If he can get things going alongside Lehtera and Weise, two players that have been healthy scratches this season, the Flyers will take it.
 
Quotables
"I knew playing with him down there, I think our whole D core, we had such a good D core that I don't even know if you could tell who was the first pairing and the third pairing, that's just how deep we were. I think anyone could have easily been up here or got called up. I'm not surprised at all that he's up here and doing well."
 
- Travis Sanheim on Mark Alt, teammates at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley last season
 
"He's got the scoring touch, he's always had it. The puck is just going in for him now. He's a really smart player, so he's good at finding ways to get open, finding the open area … make sure you don't tell him I said he's smart."
 
- Claude Giroux on Sean Couturier

"It's amazing some of the things that he's able to do at that young of an age, yet he's wired in that way."
 
- Hakstol on 20-year-old Ivan Provorov
 
Here is the projected lineup for the Flyers:
 
Forwards
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Travis Konecny-Valtteri Filppula-Wayne Simmonds
Jordan Weal-Jori Lehtera-Dale Weise
Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Michael Raffl
 
Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Robert Hagg
Brandon Manning-Shayne Gostisbehere 
Travis Sanheim-Mark Alt
 
Goalies
Michal Neuvirth
Brian Elliott
 
Scratches: Forward Matt Read (healthy), and defensemen Radko Gudas (upper body) and Will O'Neill (healthy).

2018 NHL draft position preview — Right wingers

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Terry Wilson/OHL Images

2018 NHL draft position preview — Right wingers

We’ve looked at the top draft-eligible centers and left wingers. Up next, right wingers. On Sunday, we’ll look at the top defensemen before moving into the best fits for the Flyers.

Andrei Svechnikov, 6-2/188, Barrie (OHL)
Svechnikov is head and shoulders atop the forward prospects in this year’s draft class. He began the year as the No. 1 North American skater by NHL Central Scouting and ended there as well. Finished with 40 goals and 72 points in 44 games this season with Barrie, tops among rookie OHLers. His 1.64 points per game average was best among rookies and fifth in all of the OHL. His brother, Evgeny Svechnikov, was the 19th overall pick by the Red Wings in 2015.

Draft projection: No. 2 overall

Oliver Wahlstrom, 6-1/205, USNTDP
Wahlstrom finished as the seventh-rated North American skater by Central Scouting. The American can play both center and right wing but projects to at least begin his career on the wing. He plays a power forward game with impressive puck skills. He registered 40 goals and 83 points in 54 games for the USA U-18 team in the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, and 22 goals and 45 points in 26 games for Team USA in the USHL. The 17-year-old is committed to play college hockey at Harvard University in the fall.

Draft projection: Between Nos. 4-9

Vitali Kravtsov, 6-2/170, Chelyabinsk (KHL)
Kravtsov, who models his game after Washington center Evgeny Kuznetsov, finished as the third-best European skater by Central Scouting, a seven-spot climb from the midterm rankings. Had a strong postseason for Chelyabinsk, recording six goals and 11 points in 16 games and was named the best rookie for each of the first three rounds. He’s a shifty forward with high-end speed.

Draft projection: Mid-to-late first round

Serron Noel, 6-5/205, Oshawa (OHL)
The Generals winger took an enormous leap in his second OHL campaign, going from 21 points in 63 games in 2016-17 to 53 points in 62 games in 2017-18. Noel finished as the 10th-rated North American skater by Central Skating, a one-spot drop from the midterm rankings. He has a lot of raw talent and has natural size and strength. He’s improved his skating, which has helped his case throughout his draft year. Has drawn comparisons to Jets captain Blake Wheeler. A high-upside prospect with top-line potential.

Draft projection: Mid-to-late first round

Martin Kaut, 6-2/170, Pardubice (Czech)
Kaut’s 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships performance helped put the winger on the radar. The Czech winger jumped from the 11th-rated European skater by Central Scouting in the midterm rankings to the fourth-best in the final rankings. Had seven points in seven games playing for the Czech Republic at the world juniors. Had nine goals and 16 points in 38 games for Pardubice in 2017-18. An effective two-way player with good playmaking ability.

Draft projection: Late first, early second round

A Flyers fan's guide for watching Phantoms' home playoff games

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JustSports Photography

A Flyers fan's guide for watching Phantoms' home playoff games

Flyers fans still have some hockey to watch.

Some of the organization's brightest prospects will be competing in Allentown, Pennsylvania, from Wednesday into the weekend as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms continue their AHL playoff run in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Phantoms trail the Toronto Marlies, 2-0, with the series now shifting to the PPL Center for Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary).

What should Flyers fans know?

Let's get into it:

1. When to watch
Game 3 is tonight at 7:05 p.m. Game 4 follows Friday at 7:05 p.m. with Game 5 (if needed) Saturday at 7:05 p.m.

2. Where to watch
All three games will be broadcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia+. For which channel in your area, click here.

3. Who to watch
• Defenseman Travis Sanheim returned from a four-game absence (knee injury) to play in the first two games of this series. The 2014 first-round pick had 16 points in 18 regular-season games with Lehigh Valley. When he rejoined the Flyers on March 10, he was a plus-4 over 14 games to help the big club clinch a playoff berth. "When Sanny got back up, I thought Sanny was unbelievable," Wayne Simmonds said last month.

• Winger Oskar Lindblom went scoreless in Games 1 and 2 but has seven points (four goals, three assists) in nine playoff games. He played 23 games with the Flyers this season and impressed alongside Nolan Patrick. The 21-year-old is a building block and the goal will be to make the Flyers out of training camp in the fall.

• Everybody knows Alex Lyon now after his Herculean effort during the semifinals in which he made 94 saves for a five-overtime victory. He's been superb through the postseason, recording a 1.84 goals-against average and .949 save percentage in nine games. It's been a timely stretch for him ahead of an important offseason

• Defenseman Philippe Myers is another exciting piece to the Flyers' future on the blue line. The 21-year-old is 6-foot-5 and developing but fought through injuries in 2017-18. He's making up for some of those tough times with seven points (three goals, four assists) in 11 postseason games.

• Don't forget about Mike Vecchione, a hard-working forward who will be in the picture next season. The 25-year-old put up 40 points in his first year pro and has seven points (three goals, four assists) in 11 playoff games.

4. However …
You won't see touted prospects Morgan Frost and Carter Hart.

With their junior campaigns coming to an end recently, both have joined the Phantoms but are not expected to play; they're simply there for the exposure.

5. This and that
• Lehigh Valley won an AHL-most 27 games at home during the regular season, losing just six times in regulation.

• Toronto is 2-2-0 on the road in the postseason compared to 7-0-0 at home.

• Chris Conner, 34, leads the Phantoms in the playoffs with five goals and nine points.

• Lehigh Valley has allowed a league-high 43 power-play opportunities during the postseason, while Toronto has gone on a league-high 55 man advantages.

• Defenseman Samuel Morin is out for the rest of the playoffs with a knee injury that is requiring surgery, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Sam Carchidi.