Flyers recall three players ahead of opening night

The Flyers will set foot on the ice for opening night when they face the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night. It will be slightly different lineup than almost everyone expected it to be.

Rasmus Ristolainen, who has missed the team’s last four training sessions, suffers a daily lower body injury. His status for the opening night is now in doubt. He’s been skating with the rehab group for the past two days, but it seems unlikely he’ll make his debut on Friday. Ryan Ellis was back in training so he’s on track to play after missing the last three practices.

Patrick Brown, whom the Flyers called for waivers on Monday, has been placed on the COVID protocol list. He was supposed to be on the ice for his first practice, but will no longer be available. Zack MacEwen, whom the team claimed on Wednesday, is awaiting approval for his U.S. visa. He has obtained non-roster status so far.

With all three unavailable, the Flyers have called up three players from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, two of whom are expected to be in the lineup. Defenders Nick Seeler will certainly be part of the roster. He had impressed during training camp and was one of the team’s last cuts before announcing his final roster.

Forwards Jackson Cates and Max Willman have also been recalled. Willman appears to be on track to make his NHL debut on opening night. By putting Kevin Hayes on LTIR yesterday afternoon, the Flyers had the headroom to make those moves.

These movements affect defense more than anything. Justin Braun moved on to the second pairing and Seeler to the third pairing role with Keith Yandle. Millman takes over at a location that would have been Brown based on the outpost the team placed him in.

Thompson’s participation in the trials was a good sign and he left the last one soon after colliding with Egor Zamula. He should be ready to go on opening night.

The Flyers have been hit hard by the injury virus on several occasions before they even played their first game of the season. They have six players in the season opener, Hayes in LTIR and Samuel Morin in IR. Only the latter currently counts in the ceiling.

Another season is about to begin as the Flyers look to bounce back.

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