In a way, the news about Shayne Gostisbehere’s upcoming knee surgery and prognosis for a return date may have come as a bit of a relief to the Flyers.
The defenseman, who is scheduled to have the operation on Tuesday, could easily have been sidelined much longer than the three-week recovery projection (approximately Jan. 30).
Remember, Gostisbehere suffered a torn ACL during the 2014-15 season and was sidelined for months after undergoing surgery in December, 2014.
This current surgery will be “only’’ an arthroscopic procedure, which usually means a player can begin rehabilitation exercises shortly after.
The Flyers recalled defenseman Mark Friedman on Wednesday and he made his season debut that night against the Washington Capitals.
Friedman played a total of 11:49 and was an even plus-minus in a pairing with Robert Hagg.
Gostisbehere had been playing much better since a three-game benching in November.
Coach Alain Vigneault praised Gostisbehere’s work, saying he was doing a much better job of beating the forecheck and knowing when to move up in the play when the opportunity presented itself.
The 26-year-old Gostisbehere, a third-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, is one point shy of 200 points in the NHL. He is 5-7-12 with a minus-2 in 40 games this season.
The Pembroke Pines, Fla. native was a finalist (and eventual runner-up) for the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) in the 2015-16 season.
That was the season after he had the ACL surgery and it was a harrowing experience.
“It was scary at first,” he said three months after the operation. “I’ve never really been injured in my career. When you hear your ACL is torn … it’s not the news you want to hear, especially (during) your first year (as a) pro.”
Needless to say, the rehab was rather grueling.
“One day you could feel like a million bucks and the next day you feel kind of crappy,” he said. “It’s about staying positive. They told me that, so I’ve got to keep truckin’ along here.”
Also on Thursday, the Flyers recalled forward David Kase from the Phantoms and sent center Mikhail Vorobyev to the AHL affiliate.
In 20 games with the Flyers, Vorobyev has a goal and two assists for three points with a minus-5.
Kase has played five games with the Flyers this season and has one goal, which was the game-winner on Dec. 17 against Anaheim at the Wells Fargo Center.
At Lehigh Valley, Kase has seven points with a minus-3 in 29 games.