By agreeing to terms with unrestricted free-agent Mike Knuble on Thursday, the Flyers are getting an unquestioned leader and someone who can cause havoc in front, especially on the power play.
The move was made because Scott Hartnell has a broken foot and will be sidelined for four to eight weeks.
Knuble, 40, will sign a one-year, $750,000 deal and have a physical performed Friday. It’s safe to assume he’ll pass, since he was playing for the Detroit Red Wings’ AHL team, Grand Rapids, on Wednesday.
“He’s a big, strong forward, a quality person in the locker room,” coach Peter Laviolette said after the shorthanded Flyers outlasted the visiting New York Rangers, 2-1, for their first win of the year Thursday. “I think that can be real helpful. Our group of forwards is young….and to have a guy like that with his leadership and experience is important.”
In four seasons with the Flyers from 2005-06 to 2008-09, Knuble averaged 28.5 goals per year. He’s not the same player he was back then, but he DID play well for Washington in last year’s playoffs. That followed a regular season in which he managed just six goals in limited time.
Knuble,a 6-foot-3, 230-pound right winger, has 274 career goals, and he is immensely respected by his peers.
“He’s played a long time in this league. He’s a good player and has great presence,” said winger Wayne Simmonds, who had a goal and six shots Thursday. “I think I can learn a lot from him. “
“He’s a big guy in front,” forward Max Talbot said. “He tips a lot of pucks and is a dangerous weapon in front of the net. We always need a guy like that.”
Talbot acknowledged that Hartnell, who led the Flyers with a career-high 37 goals last year is a “tough guy to replace….but Mike is going to bring a lot and I am excited to have him.”
Meszaros injured. Andrej Meszaros, arguably the Flyers’ best defenseman in the early going, was injured when hit by the Rangers’ Ryan Callahan late in second period and did not play in the final period. He appeared to injure his left shoulder, and he had his arm in a sling after the game.
GM Paul Holmgren said Meszaros, who had Achilles surgery in the off-season, would be re-evaluated on Friday.
If Meszaros is lost for a significant amount of time, it would be a major blow.
Veteran Andreas Liljais is being recalled from the AHL Phantoms. Players do not have to go through re-entry waivers in the new CBA.
By the way, the Phantoms' Erik Gustafsson, recovering from a foot injury, is making progress and is close to being ready to play.
Breakaways. With Hartnell sidelined, Braydon Coburn was one of the alternate captains Thursday…..Because of the compressed schedule, the Flyers are being given a lot of days off. They will not practice Friday and will play in Florida on Saturday……Nick Grossmann (five blocks, tone-setting check on Marian Gaborik) had his best game of the season……The line of Tye McGinn (22 years old), Sean Couturier (20) and Scott Laughton (18) has an average age of 20 years, four months….The top line Thursday had Claude Giroux centering Simmonds and Matt Read, and they combined for 11 shots. The Flyers outshot the Rangers, 33-19.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.