Flyers Notes: Flyers sign defenseman Colaiacovo

TAMPA, Fla. - As expected, Brandon Manning replaced highly touted Shayne Gostisbehere in the Flyers' ever-revolving defensive lineup Thursday night.

After a slow start, Manning played well in the team's 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay, but he may not be playing too many games for the Flyers in the coming weeks.

After the game, the Flyers announced they had signed 6-foot-1, 200-pound Carlo Colaiacovo, an unrestricted free agent. He played in 25 games with St. Louis last season, collecting four points and a minus-4 rating.

Colaiacovo, 31, regarded as a puck-moving defenseman, has played with Toronto, Detroit, and the Blues in a career that started in 2002-03.

"Carlo adds depth to our defense," general manager Ron Hextall said.

During the first intermission Thursday, Hextall said he didn't think any of the free agents the Flyers were pursuing would be able to play Saturday in Florida. That means Manning or Gostisbehere may play in that game.

In Thursday's game, the 6-2, 208-pound Manning gave the Flyers more physicality - but less puck movement - than the 5-11, 170-pound Gostisbehere.

"That was part of it, but again, I'm cautious with Ghost. [He's a] young guy, and I want to be careful with him," coach Craig Berube said before the game. "That's a big part of the process of developing these players. It's nothing Ghost did. To me, it's the best fit for tonight's game."

Gostisbehere, who was minus-2 in two games, said that he made too many mistakes and that he will use his time with the NHL club as a learning experience. The 21-year-old defenseman expects to be returned to the AHL Phantoms soon.

Manning, 24, who had an assist Thursday, is in his third stint with the Flyers over three seasons, and he played in his 11th career game on Thursday. Manning was paired with Luke Schenn.

"The opportunity is here for me right now," Manning said before the game. "A few games here and there the last few years don't really mean much if you don't do anything now. I definitely want to try and take advantage of this."

Veteran Nick Schultz, who began the season as the No. 7 defenseman and has been one of the Flyers' most pleasant surprises, took Gostibehere's spot on the second power-play unit.

 

Breakaways

Goalie Ray Emery made his fourth straight start, and Berube again said not to make too much out of it - he was just going with the hot goalie. Steve Mason is expected to start Saturday. . . . Vinny Lecavalier missed his seventh straight game with an injured left ankle.