The NHL trading deadline is just over a month away on Feb. 24. This year’s deadline finds the Flyers in somewhat of a precarious position; they definitely need some help for their lineup, but they’re also up against the salary cap so they don’t have much wiggle room financially. Injuries – especially ones to Oskar Lindblom (bone cancer) and Nolan Patrick (chronic migraines) - have left a couple of holes in the lineup.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms are hoping that they’ve reached rock bottom and that things won’t get any worse than they are right now.
The team sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Division after a stretch of 12 games that saw them pick up just two wins and score 16 goals to lose five straight games. The team endured a second straight shutout – and their fifth this season - in Laval on Friday night.
Chris Bigras isn’t exactly a household name with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but his second goal of the season was a big one.
It wasn’t a game-winner or a milestone, but it did launch an eruption of over 10,000 teddy bears onto the ice at the PPL Center as part of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms annual Teddy Bear Toss. The event collects stuffed animals of every size and variety for children in need.
The animals are then collected and distributed throughout the Lehigh Valley.
So far, the 2019-2020 season has been one for the kids on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms roster.
An offseason that saw the roster somewhat remade left plenty of opportunities for young players and they produced right from the season’s first puck drop. Some of them – Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost and Phil Myers – found a fast track to Philadelphia thanks to their early production with the Phantoms.
In minor league sports, coaches and managers have different ways of telling a player that they’re getting that first call to the highest level of their sport. Former Lehigh Valley IronPigs manager Dave Brundage used to enjoy having a bit of fun at the player’s expense, sometimes letting them think they were being passed over or that the coaches were concerned about their play lately before he would let the cat out of the bag and give out the good news. For Phantoms coach Scott Gordon, the approach is a little more straight forward and businesslike.
The Phantoms clicked their skates together three times and said “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”
With that, the team that had lost four straight returned to winning form with back-to-back wins taking two of the three games on their recent homestand.
The good news for the team is that three of its next five games are also on home ice, giving the team some momentum.
Last December, the Phantoms lost top goalie prospect Carter Hart to the Flyers when goalie Anthony Stolarz went on injured reserve. This season, they were blessed with another top prospect on the roster, but he didn’t even last as long as Hart.
The Flyers recalled Morgan Frost Monday and it’s likely that he will see his first NHL action with the team immediately.
The Phantoms Tyler Wotherspoon is just one member of the family playing in the AHL, with the other being his brother Parker Wotherspoon, who plays for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Growing up the two were generally at different levels because of a four-year age difference. Their paths diverged even further as they got older and even through junior hockey, the two never got to play against each other.
Tyler, 26, was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the second round of the 2011 NHL Draft and 22-year old Parker was selected by the Islanders in the fourth round of the 2015 Draft.
Sam Morin is trying to catch a break.
After missing most of last season recovering from knee surgery, the 24-year old defenseman hoped to break camp with the Flyers and get things going in his career.
He did break camp with the team, but was a healthy scratch through their first eight games of the season.
When he finally did get a chance to play against the Islanders he was basically outmatched and out-skated. With the long layoff, it’s hard to blame Morin for the performance, but it’s also hard to blame Flyers coach Alain Vigneault.
With the Lehigh Valley Phantoms well stocked with young, exciting talent and the Philadelphia Flyers off to a 1-4 start, changes came quickly to ignite the parent team with some youthful exuberance.
Joel Farabee and Mikhail Vorobyev were recalled by Philadelphia on Sunday, while Carsen Twarynski was loaned to the Phantoms.