Flyers not taking expansion Kraken lightly

Travis Sanheim

There was already enough incentive meeting former coach Dave Hakstol for the first time as a head coach since he was let go nearly three years ago.

But taking on an expansion team with high hopes and a good supply of talent like the new Seattle Kraken should also get the Flyers energized.

All this will take place on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center when the Flyers play host to the newest entry into the NHL.

They will be doing so without one of their top four defensemen, Rasmus Ristolainen, who is still listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

This is the second of four home games to start the season for the Flyers. In their opener on Friday night, they lost to the Vancouver Canucks in a shootout, 5-4.

“It (playing Seattle) is almost like Vancouver,’’ coach Alain Vigneault said at the Flyers Training Center on Sunday. “We hadn’t seen them in over a year. I didn’t pay much attention to what was going on in the other divisions last year.

“We’ve got a whole new team coming in. Other than watching their first couple games, I was intrigued by watching this new team (the Kraken). They’re a new team. I like Dave, I coached with Dave at the World Championships. He’s a good coach, he’s going to have his team ready.’’

With Ristolainen still out, his usual partner  Travis Sanheim is likely to be paired with Justin Braun for the Seattle game. Sanheim and Braun have spent time together in previous seasons so there’s not much of a learning process needed.

“He’s a pretty easy guy to play with,’’ Sanheim said. “I think you know what you’re going to get out of him every night – solid defensively, great stick.’’

There’s a chance Ristolainen could be ready for Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins. That would be a welcome return, according to Sanheim.

“He adds a lot to our team and physicality is one of them,’’ Sanheim said. “He sets the tone out there. That definitely helps when he’s on the ice, he definitely puts guys on their heels. You need that sometimes from him.’’

>Short shots

Carter Hart will start in goal against the Kraken. . .Patrick Brown is still in COVID-19 protocol and not available. Also unavailable is Zack MacEwen, who was claimed off waivers from Vancouver. He’s still waiting for his U.S. work visa to be

cleared. . .Keith Yandle and Nick Seeler once again will be the third defense pairing.F

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About Wayne Fish 2473 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.