NEW YORK – One of the big questions looming over the preseason was: Is there enough playing time available for three goaltenders on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms?
Well, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall sort of had the answer handed to him on Thursday when he announced that Alex Lyon – considered by many to have the inside track on the No. 1 job for Lehigh Valley – will miss at least a month of action due to a lower-body injury.
Lyon was scheduled to start Tuesday night’s game against the New York Islanders at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center but reportedly was injured sometime during the warm-up session. Anthony Stolarz wound up playing the whole game.
Now, with Lyon out, Stolarz and first-year pro Carter Hart will be sharing the workload.
Lyon finished last season with a flourish, including a historic 94-save performance during the Phantoms’ record-breaking five-overtime win over the Charlotte Checkers in the American Hockey League playoffs.
Stolarz, who missed virtually all of last season due to a pair of operations on his knee, has played well for the Flyers in the preseason and the increased workload in Allentown should help accelerate his recovery back to his regular ability.
Hart is coming off a stellar junior career which saw him win gold and silver medals for Canada in the World Junior Championships.
The Flyers announced on Thursday that defenseman Yegor Zamula has been signed to an entry-level contract and will be assigned to the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League.
The 22-year-old native of Novosibirsk, Russia spent the last four seasons with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia. He’s a former 2016 second-round (31st overall) draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Hextall kept Zamula around for four games, so that indicates he might have some potential. He did commit a bad giveaway in Wednesday night’s 6-4 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden but Hextall isn’t holding that against him.
“He wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t seen something from him,’’ Hextall said before Tuesday night’s game at Barclays. “He’s earned his way to his point.’’
If the Flyers hadn’t signed him, Zamula would have gone back into next year’s NHL Entry Draft.
Roster reduced by 11
As expected, the Flyers made their first big roster reduction on Thursday, sending 11 players back to the Phantoms.
Colin MacDonald, right wing; David Kase, right wing; Zach Palmquist, defenseman; Reece Willcox, defenseman; German Rubtsov, center; David Drake, defenseman; Frank Hora, defenseman; Mike Vecchione, center; James de Haas, defenseman; Connor Bunnaman, center.
The Flyers’ roster now stands at 41.