Sam Morin

Chuck Fletcher shows he wasn't kidding with latest slew of Flyers' roster moves

Chuck Fletcher shows he wasn't kidding with latest slew of Flyers' roster moves

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:

Forwards

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

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Shayne Gostisbehere-Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers

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Time for Flyers to face reality, start playing Samuel Morin and Cam Talbot

Time for Flyers to face reality, start playing Samuel Morin and Cam Talbot

VOORHEES, N.J. — It’s time for Scott Gordon and the Flyers to cash that reality check.

There will be no Stanley Cup Playoffs in Philadelphia this season. After Tuesday night’s loss to Montreal, those who calculate the odds now put the Flyers’ chances at less than one percent.

If the Blue Jackets stay on their current pace of 94 points, the Flyers would need to earn 17 of a possible 18 points in their final nine games to overtake Columbus in the standings.

Still, it’s not enough for Gordon to think about next season, considering the coach himself may not be here next season either.

“We’re in the same shoes that we’re in yesterday,” Gordon said Wednesday. “Nothing’s changed as far as the ladder we have to climb here. We’re six points behind going into it and we’re still six points behind. Is it possible that Columbus can go on a three-game losing streak and we go on a three-game winning streak? I think that’s very possible. So, until that element changes, it will be status quo.”

Of course, it’s not just the Blue Jackets the Flyers have to catch, but also the Canadiens, who increased the margin over the Flyers to five points.

Even if the Flyers fail to gain or even lose any ground in the standings, they won’t “officially” be eliminated until the first week of April.

In other words, don’t expect to see Samuel Morin suit up in Chicago or possibly anytime soon, and for those who are forecasting what this team could look like come next season, there’s a degree of frustration attached to that.

“Honestly, I’d love to play all of these games if it was me,” Morin said. “We’ll see what happens but, obviously, if we’re still in the playoff position I don’t think I’m going to get in. It’s just the way it is right now for me. I just can’t really do anything about it, right?” 

Morin is playing out the first year of a three-year extension he signed last summer and is one of five defensemen under contract for next season. However, since Morin is no longer waiver exempt, he can’t be shuffled between the Phantoms and Flyers without passing through waivers. With just three NHL games under his belt, the 6-foot-7 defenseman needs all the experience he can get moving forward.

“I’ve been doing this since training camp to be honest with you,” Morin said. “I know a lot of guys could not do this and keep a good mindset. It’s pretty hard watching all of hockey and not playing.”

Same can be said for pending free-agent goaltender Cam Talbot, who the Flyers acquired in a trade for Anthony Stolarz on Feb. 16. Talbot appears to be the perfect complement to Carter Hart heading into next season, but he has no indication that’s the case. 

There have been no preliminary discussions regarding a new contract even as he’s moved his family into Dale Weise’s South Jersey home on a temporary basis until he knows what the future holds.

Visa issues held up some prime opportunities for Talbot in late February, which in turn, has limited him to just 93 minutes of action since the trade. Eventually, the Flyers need to make a determination regarding a solid, competent backup to Hart.

However, I don’t think Talbot would have waived his no-trade clause if he could have foreseen the current situation.

And the longer it drags out, the more frustrations will amplify for those who are already looking ahead to 2019-20.

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Samuel Morin's future with Flyers grows murkier with torn ACL

ap-samuel-morin-flyers.jpg
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Samuel Morin's future with Flyers grows murkier with torn ACL

Samuel Morin is taking the long and winding road to the NHL, one that’s now more rugged and elongated than ever.

The Flyers confirmed Thursday that Morin tore the ACL in his right knee when his skate caught a rut on the ice in Charlotte while he was attempting to check an opponent. The injury took place in the first period of the Phantoms' epic five-overtime game against the Checkers two weeks ago.

General manager Ron Hextall told the Courier-Post's Dave Isaac that Morin is facing a nine-month recovery process and that the 6-7 defenseman is “probably out until February” as he recovers from surgery — which Morin will undergo sometime in the near future.

Morin’s 2018-19 season will now be spent rehabbing from injury and utilizing what’s left of the regular season working his way back with the Phantoms.   

The Flyers' 2013 first-round pick is also a restricted free agent after playing out the final year of his three-year entry-level contract. In the five years since he was drafted, Morin has suited up for just three NHL games. 

Expect the two sides to reach an agreement on a one- or- two-year extension rather easily since Morin doesn’t have much leverage in negotiations at this point. Since Morin signed his rookie deal at the age of 18, he also had a five-year (or 160-game) waiver exemption that has now expired.

In other words, the Flyers will no longer have the luxury of shuttling Morin back and forth from Lehigh Valley without exposing him to the rest of the league if they attempt to send him back to the minors.

The Flyers have no choice but to give Morin the necessary time to ensure he’s not only ready physically, but also that his game can be trusted at the NHL level.  

Hextall has preached patience in the deliberate development of the organization’s prospects.

Right now, Samuel Morin is the poster child for that process.