With Ellis out long-term, Seeler up for the challenge

Nick Seeler

      All Nick Seeler needed was a challenge.

      The journeyman defenseman from Minnesota was ready to call it a career last year when he walked away from the game for an entire season.

      But then an old friend, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher, called and said hey, you’re too young to do that.

      Seeler and Fletcher go back to when Fletcher was GM of the Minnesota Wild and had Seeler on his roster.

      Fletcher knew Seeler was a reliable depth player so he coaxed him out of retirement and he’s glad he did. With Ryan Ellis placed on Injured Reserve on Tuesday after already missing nine games, Seeler could be playing hockey in Philadelphia for some time to come.

      “Last year was unique for me, not playing,’’ Seeler said after the morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center. “Just taking that mental and physical break that I needed, a fresh mindset and a new perspective, I think that’s really helped me this year.’’

      Seeler, 28, has been assigned to the Phantoms for salary cap considerations on occasion but hasn’t played a game there. It’s all part of the wait-and-see scenario.

      “It’s just trusting in the plan for me,’’ Seeler said. “Being that depth guy, you need to stay ready and be prepared to play anytime and this is one of those instances. That’s part of my job, be ready and I am looking forward to the opportunity.’’

      The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Seeler has already played 11 games with the Flyers and hasn’t looked out of place.

      “The communication with the front office has been great,’’ Seeler said. “Anytime a move is going to happen like thst, for cap reasons or whatnot, they’ve communicated that with me. I’m just taking it day by day. Anytime you are in the NHL it’s a good day.”

      Of course, the relationship with Fletcher is helpful.

      “Over the years you get to know someone,’’ Seeler said. “There’s always that mutual respect we’ve had with each other. He has always treated me super well which I am grateful for. It’s much appreciated.’’

      Seeler has been paired with Keith Yandle and there’s some chemistry developing.

      “I love playing with him,’’ Seeler said. “He’s a heck of a player. You don’t play that many games and not be solid. He’s definitely one of my favorite players in a pairing,’’

      Coach Alain Vigneault likes what he’s seen of Seeler so far.

      “He didn’t play hockey last year,’’ Vigneault said. “He had a real strong training camp, caught our attention with his skating ability. When I was looking at the competition going through camp for that seventh spot, he definitely caught our attention. He’s been good for us, so he’s going to continue.’’

      Vigneault also likes Seeler’s versatiity.

      “It’s part of being a professional player,’’ Vigneault said. “You have to be ready at all moments.’’

      >Surgery possible for Ellis?

      The Flyers are having Ellis evaluated again and one of the options for his hip/groin injury could be surgery.

      “We’re in the evaluation process here,’’ Vigneault said. “He’s seeing a doctor today and one tomorrow.’’

About Wayne Fish 1501 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.