Chuck Fletcher has shown he is not afraid to try different things.
After all, he expected to.
"I anticipate an awful lot of roster changes the first six weeks of the year,” the Flyers’ general manager said in late September.
"There's not going to be any final roster, final cuts. There's going to an ebb and flow of players between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley for the early part of the season, depending on who we're playing, the health of our team, whether we need right shots or left shots, or wingers or centeremen."
Two days after taking a 7-1 drubbing from the Penguins, the Flyers made a slew of roster moves Thursday. The team called up Philippe Myers, German Rubtsov and Carsen Twarynski from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, while loaning Mikhail Vorobyev to the Phantoms and sending Samuel Morin to Lehigh Valley on a conditioning stint.
Scott Laughton also underwent successful surgery Wednesday on his right index finger, which he had broken last Saturday. He is expected to be out three to four weeks and will be placed on long-term injured reserve (see story).
The roster is now at a maximum of 23 players. The Flyers had to do some maneuvering to make these call-ups.
They’ve been bullish on Philippe Myers, who will step into the Flyers’ defensive pairs, which would likely make Robert Hagg the team’s extra blueliner.
"He’s gone down, played big minutes and played well," Fletcher said Thursday. "He’s earned the right to be back up here. We knew it would be a matter of time and part of the reason we let him go down was to play big minutes, play power play, play penalty kill — let him get his game to regular-season level versus training camp level. And when we do put him in, hopefully he’s playing with a high degree of confidence."
Rubtsov can play center or winger and it seems he’ll play down the middle on the Flyers’ fourth line, between Twarynski and either Chris Stewart or Tyler Pitlick.
A 21-year-old 2016 first-round pick, Rubtsov is smart and steady with sneaky offensive ability. He had six points and a plus-4 mark in seven games with the Phantoms.
"Rubtsov is what you guys saw in training camp. He’s competitive, consistent — remarkably consistent for a 21-year-old — plays the game the right way defensively," Fletcher said. "The idea with him going to Lehigh Valley was to allow him to get more offensive puck touches, maybe play some power play, try to develop the offensive part of his game. That’s something we’ll want to be mindful of while he’s up here, but certainly we’re very confident that he can come in and play well away from the puck, compete and use his size and hockey sense to his advantage."
The Flyers are 5-5-1 after October (see story). Fletcher, head coach Alain Vigneault and the staff are still looking for the right mixture, even potentially trying four rookies in the lineup Friday night against the Devils.
Here were the lines and pairings at practice Thursday:
James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
Carsen Twarynski-German Rubtsov-Chris Stewart
Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Shayne Gostisbehere-Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
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