VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers are expected to get some reinforcements during their six-game road trip.
On Friday at Flyers Skate Zone, before the team departed for San Jose, Scott Laughton practiced in contact on a line with Morgan Frost and Jakub Voracek. Laughton has missed the last five games because of a groin injury and could be activated off injured reserve as soon as Saturday to rejoin the lineup against the Sharks (10:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).
“It’s been pretty quick but I’m still in it, still trying to get through it," Laughton said of the recovery process.
“It’s feeling better and better every day. ... It’s a fragile injury, so you don’t want to mess with it too much.”
Michael Raffl, who has been out since early December with a broken right pinkie finger, practiced in a non-contact jersey and is expected back at some point during the trip.
Michael Raffl with two good guys to learn about faceoffs: Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. pic.twitter.com/cRdh1oYJu8— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) December 27, 2019
The Flyers' lineup will look different when those key role players return, two puck possession forwards who play important minutes on the penalty kill. The team is also 7-0-0 when Laughton records a point and 7-0-0 when Raffl records a point.
So what could change?
Andy Andreoff appears to be the odd man out when Laughton comes back. The 28-year-old forward was taking line rushes on defense Monday as an extra while Laughton joined the third line.
When Raffl returns from long-term injured reserve, he can slide into the fourth-line center role, where head coach Alain Vigneault has liked the 31-year-old. If that's the case, Mikhail Vorobyev would likely be sent back to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.
Nicolas Aube-Kubel has definitely won himself an extended call-up with the Flyers. The 23-year-old winger has a goal, two assists, 11 shots, 12 hits, five blocked shots and 6:30 shorthanded minutes over five games.
“I like his game," Vigneault said Monday. "Pretty much north-south, physical when he gets the opportunity, defensively he’s been in the right position, he’s been blocking shots. I like what he’s brought for us in this time, we’ve needed some help from some other people and he’s been one of the guys that has been contributing for us.”
Here's how the Flyers project to look at forward when Laughton and Raffl return:
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
Scott Laughton-Morgan Frost-Jakub Voracek
Nicolas Aube-Kubel-Michael Raffl-Tyler Pitlick
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