Brian Elliott to start Flyers' opener; Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim will sit against Sharks

FLYREARLY05
Brian Elliott will make his Flyers debut Wednesday.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Goalie Brian Elliott will make his debut for the Flyers, but rookie defensemen Samuel Morin and Travis Sanheim will not be in the lineup when they start their season Wednesday night in San Jose.

At least that’s based on the team’s morning skate here.

Morin and Sanheim stayed on the ice after the six starting defensemen left.

In the past, coach Dave Hakstol has announced and commented on his starting lineup after the morning skate. He said he won’t do that this season because he doesn’t want to give his opponent any information.

But Hakstol did say: “As long as we have eight defensemen here, we’re going to have two pretty good defensemen out of the lineup.”

Added Hakstol: “Whoever is out of the lineup, it’s their job to do the extra work and make sure they’re ready to play if called upon tomorrow — whether it’s a veteran or a guy looking to play their first game.”

Here is the lineup the Flyers will use Wednesday:

  • Sean Couturier centering Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek.
  • Nolan Patrick centering Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds.
  • Val Filppula centering Dale Weise and Travis Konecny.
  • Scott Laughton entering Taylor Leier and Michael Raffl.
  • Defense: Ivan Provorov and Andrew MacDonald, Radko Gudas and Brandon Manning, Shayne Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg.
  • Goalie: Elliott.

In addition to Morin and Sanheim, Jori Lehtera will be a healthy scratch for the Flyers, who will play in Los Angeles on Thursday. Goalie Michal Neuvirth is expected to get the start in that game, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Morin or Sanheim also played against the Kings.

Hakstol was asked if there was a concern of being too young on the blue line, and if perhaps that was why it looked as if Sanheim and Morin would sit out the opener.

“Everybody that’s here, they wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think they could help us in an NHL game; yet it goes without saying that experience does matter,” Hakstol said. “We’re going to have at least three guys under the age of 24 years old in the lineup (on defense), and putting that mix together is all a part of it. No question. The heat gets turned up a couple of notches tonight from where it’s been in preseason. The young guys, when they’re in, will handle it well. The veteran players have to do a good job of leading and doing their part when they’re in because there will be nights when they’re out as well.”

MacDonald, Filppula honored

MacDonald and Filppula both said they were honored to be share the alternate captain spot that was vacated when Pierre-Edouard Bellemare went to Vegas in the expansion draft. MacDonald will wear the “A” on the road, and Filppula will wear it on the road.

Giroux is the captain and Simmonds is the other alternate.

 

Breakaways

Because of pre-game ceremonies, the opener will start at 10:50 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. … Dean Lombardi, recently hired by Flyers GM Ron Hextall to assist him on projects, will be at tonight’s game with the team’s brass. … The Flyers are 22-19-8 in openers in franchise history. This is the fourth straight season they have opened on the road, and they are 1-1-1 in the previous three games. In road opening games, the Flyers are 21-16-12.