UPDATE (6:45 pm): As suspected, the Flyers have announced that Pavel Kubina is out against Florida with an upper-body injury. Kubina did participate, however, in the Flyers' morning skate.
When Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren decided to make the call to Adirondack on Wednesday to summon players to Philadelphia for his injury depleted lineup, it made sense that a forward would be on his way.
Jaromir Jagr is doubtful tonight with an apparent hip injury, and the Flyers still are not sure if Jake Voracek is ready to play after that crushing blow from Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall on Tuesday night.
Turns out, that forward summoned was familiar face Harry Zolnierczyk, who skated in 36 games earlier this season .
But Zolnierczyk curiously arrived with defenseman Brandon Manning.
Has another Flyers defenseman gone done with an injury?
Either that, or the Flyers’ coaching staff has been less than thrilled with the play of third pairing Erik Gustafsson and Andreas Lilja.
Manning, 21, could make his NHL debut tonight against Florida.
James van Riemsdyk, who had surgery on Tuesday to repair a broken bone in his left foot, was already moved to the long-term injured reserve list (LTIR) to create salary cap relief. The NHL’s 23-man roster limit expired at the deadline, so no other player needed to be demoted to the AHL or added to an injury list to make room for Manning.
Neither Kimmo Timonen nor Andrej Meszaros, both out indefinitely with lower-body injuries, are ready to return on Thursday.
It’s tough to tell, based on Tuesday’s ice times, whether another defenseman was injured. There was no apparent hit or slash that might have given it away, either.
|Player||Ice Time vs. DET||Season Avg||Deviation|
Coburn finished the game on the ice. Lilja took his last shift with 6:24 left, but it was a one-goal game. Grossmann came off with 17 seconds left. Kubina skated in the final minute. Carle closed out the game. And Gustafsson last came off with 1:57 left.
So, what exactly is the Flyers’ plan with Manning?
We’ll likely have to wait until game time to find out.
Manning, who posted point-per-game numbers with Chilliwack (WHL) last season, has been a steady player on the Phantoms’ blue line. He suffered a semi-serious injury in training camp, which required him to rehab off-ice for the first half of the season in Voorhees with the Flyers before being sent back to the Phantoms.
Since then, he’s collected 9 points (5 G, 4 A) in 32 games.
He is a physical and mobile defenseman, similar to Marc-Andre Bourdon but with offensive upside.
We’ve already mentioned the Flyers’ pickle on their farm team. They would have trouble re-calling veteran Matt Walker due to salary cap restraints, experienced players Bourdon and Oskars Bartulis are currently injured, and they traded away Kevin Marshall (their only other defenseman with NHL experience) on Feb. 2 to Washington in a minor-league deal.
Manning, instead, is skating in his first professional season.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers