Flyers face a summer of discontent with few players untouchable

Scott Laughton

VOORHEES – When a team with as much on-paper talent as the Flyers misses the playoffs two out of the past three seasons, changes are inevitable.

Toss a new management team into the mix and very few of the Flyers should feel comfortable on the golf course this summer.

We know that captain Claude Giroux has a no-trade/no-movement clause in his contract, so he’s not going anywhere, not that he needs that legal language to keep his skates in Philadelphia.

After that, the list of untouchables would appear to be rather small.

Naturally, rookie goaltender Carter Hart can start looking to buy rather than rent. And stalwarts Sean Couturier, Jake Voracek, Oskar Lindblom and Ivan Provorov will be back next season.

But after that, pretty much anyone would appear to be fair game in the trade market.

General manager Chuck Fletcher said as much just prior to this past Feb. 25 NHL trade deadline.

Scott Laughton is considered one of the favorites for the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy (most improved Flyer) which will be awarded at Saturday night’s season finale against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Laughton said the players know team ownership can’t be happy with another dark Wells Fargo Center this spring.

“The way we put ourselves in this spot early in the year, everyone is not safe,’’ Laughton said. “We didn’t make the playoffs. We put ourselves in this hole.

“Next year I don’t know what’s going to happen. We need to have a good start and go from there.’’

Laughton said the Flyers “left our goalies out to dry’’ in Thursday night’s embarrassing 7-3 loss at St. Louis.

Don’t think for a moment management and coaches aren’t keeping tabs on who still has their heads in games when not much more than pride is on the line.

Laughton was asked what emotions the Flyers should be feeling about that game and this season.

“Anger, disappointment. . .I don’t know what it is,’’ he said. “We need to come out hard in this last game for our fans, who have been really loyal to us. They’ve shown up in the bad times and the good times this year. We have to show up.’’

>Friedman to make NHL debut

Defenseman Mark Friedman, who was called up from the Phantoms on Friday, is scheduled to make his NHL debut on Saturday night vs. the ‘Canes.

Friedman, who was a third-round pick (86th overall) in the 2014 draft, has spent the past two-plus seasons with the Phantoms. This season, in 71 games, he has registered five goals and a total of 24 points.

“Hopefully he’ll be able to show his speed,’’ coach Scott Gordon said at the morning skate. “When he plays well, he’s being aggressive.

“He’s made a ton of progress since year one. He’s been on a pretty good stretch down there where he’s played well so we just wanted to give him an opportunity to come in here and get rewarded for good play.’’

Friedman, 5-foot-10, 192 pounds, was born on Christmas day, 1995 in Toronto. He played three seasons at Bowling Green University before joining the Phantoms for one game at the end of the 2016-17 season.

Gordon said he planned to use seven defensemen in the season closer and spot Friedman in certain places rather than assign him a regular partner.

>Lindblom’s fine year

Rookie Oskar Lindblom went into Saturday night’s game with a chance to become the Flyers’ second-highest scoring European rookie of all time.

A dozen of Lindblom’s 16 goals came in the latter stages of the season and that performance impressed Gordon.

“I think the best part for me is he does it the right way,’’ Gordon said. “He doesn’t cut any corners, he doesn’t cheat. He’s always in the right place, he does what’s best for the team.’’

Lindblom did play 23 games last year and the cutoff line for rookie eligibility is 25, so he did have his feet wet coming into this season.

“To come in after a half year and put up the numbers that he did is, for me, pretty impressive,’’ Gordon said.

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About Wayne Fish 2418 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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