It’s becoming a bit of a revolving door. The Flyers learn they could have a couple players coming off the COVID-19 list, then find out they have three more players going on it.
General manager Chuck Fletcher revealed on Monday he expects both centers Morgan Frost and Kevin Hayes to be cleared for practice on Tuesday, meaning they should be available for Wednesday night’s game at Seattle.
Now the not-so-good news: Carter Hart, Scott Laughton and Derick Brassard have been added to the list and probably can’t get back into game action until the Jan. 4 game at Anaheim. Sean Couturier, placed on the COVID list Sunday, shares the same status.
With Hart sidelined, Fletcher called up goaltender Felix Sandstrom from the Phantoms to serve as Martin Jones’ backup. Also headed to Philadelphia are center Gerry Mayhew and forward Jackson Cates.
“You look around the league, some teams are dealing with this, some teams may have dealt with this a week or two ago,’’ Fletcher said in a media Zoom call from the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, N.J. “It seems like we’ve been hit the last couple days. We have a lot of good players here, there’s an opportunity for other players to show what they can do in an expanded role.’’
Fletcher said all of the players to come on and off the list have either been asymptomatic and or have experienced mild symptoms.
Interim head coach Mike Yeo is taking somewhat of a do the best we can with what we’ve got approach.
At the moment, it appears Frost would move in and center a line with Travis Konecny and Joel Farabee.
Of course, despite the long break, the Flyers will try to recapture the momentum they had during a 4-0-1 streak just prior to the stoppage.
“We didn’t have to say too much,’’ Yeo said of his message to the team before practice. “We have a group that works to continue to build and grow. We want to carry on that momentum we had going into the break. We started to develop some confidence in areas of our game.’’
>Sandstrom might get a chance
With three games in four nights, including back-to-back games at Seattle and then at San Jose on Thursday, there’s a chance Sandstrom could make his NHL in one of them.
“He could,’’ Fletcher said. “That will be up to Mike and (goaltending coach) Kim Dillabaugh. It’s a three-in-four coming up after a longer absence than normal. We’ll see how Martin does and how busy he is. Felix may very well get an opportunity.’’
Yeo confirmed he will take a wait-and-see attitude regarding the first two games of the road trip.
“Our plan was to have Hart start the first game and Jones the second,’’ Yeo said. “He (Jones) would be going up against his former team (the Sharks). I just told Jones that plan is out the window. He’s playing the first game and from there we’ll make a determination. We’re certainly comfortable, confident playing Felix. I’ve had a chance to watch him play (in Allentown) and it really looks like he’s taken a step with his career.’’
>Mayhew stays ready
Mayhew was all set to make his Flyers’ debut last Tuesday when the game against Washington was postponed at the last minute.
Now he might be getting a second chance. At least he will be on the road trip just in case he’s needed and in this current national health crisis, who knows?
“We’ve all been through this before,’’ said Mayhew, who has 17 NHL games under his belt, all with the Minnesota Wild. “It’s hard to come to practice and guys are testing positive. Everything changes. It’s just something you have to deal with. I think the guys are handling it well.’’
That last-minute schedule change involving the Caps was a buzzkill, to say the least.
“A little bummed,’’ Mayhew said with a grin. “I was excited to play, try to help the team. You have to be ready for anything nowadays. When it’s your time, make the most of it.’’