Flyers

Questionable hit on Oskar Lindblom should be added frustration for Flyers

Questionable hit on Oskar Lindblom should be added frustration for Flyers

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Through two home games, the Flyers have already dealt with two different levels of frustration.

The first was obvious. An 8-2 loss in the home opener explains it quite clearly. The Flyers were incensed by the result and wanted to make certain their next showing at the Wells Fargo Center was, at the least, acceptable.

The frustration Saturday wasn't just from playing a "hell of game," as head coach Dave Hakstol put it, to only lose in the final minute and half of regulation, 1-0 (see observations).

What should have ticked off the Flyers just as much was the hit on Oskar Lindblom midway through the third period. 

While the Flyers were in the offensive zone, Lindblom lost the puck along the side boards with Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb in coverage. As Lindblom stopped to retreat, McNabb slammed him face-first into the boards and appeared to use his forearm up against Lindblom's head.

The 22-year-old winger stayed down on the ice as play eventually stopped. He was helped off and never returned over the final 9:20 of regulation. No penalty was called on the hit and as the replay was shown on the Jumbroton, Flyers fans went berserk.

The play certainly could have been whistled a penalty. These types of hits, in which the head is impacted, have been penalized before by NHL officials. At the same time, Lindblom is 6-foot-1 and not fully upright on the play, compared to the 6-foot-4 McNabb (see video).

Hakstol had a good take on the play:

The ref was in a good spot on it. I haven't looked at it on tape. That's a big guy hitting a smaller … Oskar's not as big as he is. From my vantage point, was it a high hit? Yeah. Was it a penalty? I don't know, [the officials are] standing right there. They're in a spot to make the call. I can go back and ref by video, I'll go back and take a look at it. It looked like it could have been a high hit, they were right there in position, so defer to their call.

It's a tough play all the way around and a non-call that hurt the Flyers. If it's whistled, the Flyers go on the power play with a chance at the game's first goal and all the momentum. Instead, their second-line left winger exits and doesn't return. 

And the Flyers can ill-afford more injuries up front. 

They're already without James van Riemsdyk (lower-body injury) for five to six weeks and Nolan Patrick (upper-body injury) for seven to 10 days. Travis Konecny left practice Friday after taking a puck to the skate but was able to play, albeit only 11:50, while Scott Laughton took a spill into the boards Saturday and departed momentarily.

After two power plays in the first period, the Flyers never went on the man advantage again. They didn't get the call in the third, nor could they crack Marc-Andre Fleury, who made four highlight-reel saves, simply adding to the Flyers' frustration.

Sometimes, these losses sting just as bad as the embarrassing ones.

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Which Flyers player has the most to gain in 2019-20 season?

Which Flyers player has the most to gain in 2019-20 season?

Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jordan Hall and Brooke Destra.

The topic: Which Flyers player has the most to gain in the 2019-20 season? 

Hall

In 2018-19, Oskar Lindblom showed his true capabilities when he played more and was featured alongside other talented linemates.

Over the final 36 games of the season, Lindblom scored 21 points with an average ice time of 16:28. His 13 goals during that span were tied for third most on the Flyers, ahead of Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.

In 29 games prior to that stretch, Lindblom played just 10:38 a night, scored zero goals and collected three assists.

The 23-year-old should have plenty of opportunity out of the chute in 2019-20. He looks poised to play on the third line with a center like Nolan Patrick and a decent goal-scoring winger. If he continues to produce, Lindblom could climb into a top-six role, like he did for parts of last season. He'll likely see some power-play time, as well.

With a quick start and even more responsibility, Lindblom has the chance to flourish in just his second full NHL season. The 2014 fifth-round pick is also set to become a restricted free agent next offseason. A big jump in production will make for a bigger raise.

Destra

Season No. 3 holds a lot of potential for 20-year-old Nolan Patrick.

When he is confident in his abilities, everyone on the ice knows it. He's able to drive play, pull out fancy shots on goal near the crease and often seems like he has eyes in the back of his head with some of the looks he had this past season. Those moments simply don't stem from luck, they come from skill.

While these are both flashy and effective, we've seen them happen only in bursts, and oftentimes he disappears within the depth of the roster.

Kevin Hayes is a key to the young center's success and will provide the perfect opportunity for Patrick to grow into his expected role. Without the stress of being a top-six forward, he will be able to maximize his strengths with a smaller amount of ice time.

Fewer minutes will also limit the risk of injury and it's vital that the Flyers see a full season of production. From a concussion that held him back his rookie year to an upper-body injury at the jump of last season that kept him out 10 days, he has not had much luck in that area.

If Patrick remains healthy, puts up solid numbers as a third-liner (around the 40-50-point range) and possibly sees time on the second power-play unit, he could very well be the depth needed to stabilize this roster from top to bottom.

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Former Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald to attend Flames training camp on professional tryout

Former Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald to attend Flames training camp on professional tryout

After being bought out by the Flyers in mid-June, Andrew MacDonald is getting his next shot.

The soon-to-be 33-year-old defenseman will try to make the Flames' roster by attending Calgary's training camp on a professional tryout.

NHL teams often take fliers on veteran players as they shape their rosters because it simply can't hurt. The Flyers are doing so this training camp with winger Chris Stewart (see story).

While he wasn't a fan favorite in Philadelphia because of his contract, MacDonald was one of the most respected players in the Flyers' dressing room. You'd think the Flames are taking into account what they've heard from others around the league about MacDonald and his impact off the ice.

MacDonald has played 586 career games and 23 in the postseason. Calgary has won just one playoff series over the past 10 seasons. During 2018-19, the Flames went 50-25-7 with 107 points during the regular season — second best in the NHL to only the Lightning — but were bounced in the first round of the playoffs.

Calgary has a pretty strong defense, led by James Norris Memorial Trophy winner Mark Giordano, so making the roster won't be easy for MacDonald.

The Flyers bought out MacDonald for better cap flexibility and to open the door for some of their younger defensemen to take the next step. With the additions of Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun, the Flyers have solid, accomplished guys to augment the younger group of Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers, Robert Hagg and Samuel Morin.

"This guy is a consummate professional," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said of MacDonald in June. "We asked a lot of Andrew and by that I mean he was a player that played the left side, played the right side, he'd be a healthy scratch and then we'd put him back in the lineup. We asked him to play with young players and mentor them and bring stability to our back end.

"He's just a quality person and a guy that played a very effective two-way game for our team, but we are in a cap world and we made that tough decision today to try reallocate some of those dollars to maximize our chance to stay in the hunt on some players."

The Flyers will pay MacDonald $1,916,667 in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

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