Ristolainen time? Vigneault says not just yet


Updated story: 12:50 p.m. ET

VOORHEES, N.J. — There were plenty of signs pointing toward Rasmus Ristolainen being ready to make his Flyers debut Monday night against the expansion Kraken.

But head coach Alain Vigneault said not so fast.

Ristolainen, one of the club's big offseason acquisitions on the back end, practiced Sunday at Flyers Training Center. The bruising Finnish defenseman has been dealing with an upper-body injury, which forced him to miss the Flyers' season-opening, 5-4 shootout loss to the Canucks on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

On Sunday morning, the Flyers loaned Nick Seeler to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. Seeler played in place of Ristolainen on Friday night. While the move looked like a possible indicator that Ristolainen would be ready for Monday's matchup with Seattle at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP), Vigneault said the loan was about banking cap space. Seeler is expected to be recalled for Monday night, per the head coach.

"I would say right now [Ristolainen is] still day to day," Vigneault said after practice Sunday. "I don't think that he'll be available tomorrow."

Ristolainen took part in Friday's morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center. Afterward, he was seen chatting on the bench with Flyers director of medical services Jim McCrossin. Sunday was his first practice since Oct. 7, a day before he played in the club's preseason finale and suffered his injury. Ristolainen had recently been rehabbing on the opposite ice instead of practicing.


"Risto brings a lot to our team," Travis Sanheim said Sunday. "His physicality is definitely one of [those things]. He sets a tone out there, he keeps guys second-guessing. That definitely helps when you've got him on the ice, puts guys on their heels. You need that from time to time."

Ristolainen was acquired in an offseason trade. He plays a physical and nasty brand of defense.

"A quiet Finn but should be able to express himself loudly on the ice," Vigneault said during training camp.

In other lineup matters, recently-claimed forwards Patrick Brown (COVID-19 protocol) and Zack MacEwen (working on visa) did not practice Sunday. Max Willman, who joined the fourth line Friday night, did practice and it's possible he gets his second game Monday.

"Brown is still on the COVID protocol; not exactly sure the exact timeframe for that," Vigneault said. "MacEwen is waiting for the visa. With the pandemic, I don't think the government works anymore on weekends. It is what it is."

Carter Hart will start in net Monday night. The Flyers will have a morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center.

Here's how the Flyers looked Sunday at practice:


Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny

Joel Farabee-Derick Brassard-Cam Atkinson

Oskar Lindblom-Scott Laughton-James van Riemsdyk

Max Willman-Nate Thompson-Nicolas Aube-Kubel


Ivan Provorov-Ryan Ellis

Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun

Keith Yandle-Rasmus Ristolainen

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