The news was both good and bad for the Flyers this afternoon after practice. CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio reports that Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger appears likely to be back in the lineup for the Flyers for Game 5 against Buffalo.
Before Flyers fans get too excited, Panaccio reports that Pronger will likely play but in a reduced role than what we’re accustomed to seeing from him in the playoffs. Pronger will be used in the role that he’s most known for in being a defensive stopper. Expecting to see him on the power play would be asking a lot of him after dealing with a broken hand.
The bad news side of things is that it appears Jeff Carter will be out with a lower body injury suffered in Game 4. Carter is a key offensive player for Philly as he’s got a goal and an assist so far in the series. During the regular season he was huge scoring 36 goals. Having him out hurts their offensive capabilities a bit and going up against Ryan Miller makes life a little bit harder no matter what.
Make no mistake though, getting Pronger back is huge on defense and should help Brian Boucher look even better than he did in Games 3 and 4. Pronger is the rock on the blue line and as he goes, so do the Flyers. Philly can make up for Carter’s loss by getting guys like James van Riemsdyk, Ville Leino or Claude Giroux going. The Flyers haven’t been able to find someone that can cover for Pronger’s absence and his return to the lineup cannot be discounted.
Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.
Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.
Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.
This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.
With the start of the regular season just around the corner, it looks like Robby Fabbri will not only make his NHL debut on Thursday, but also get meaningful minutes.
During Sunday’s practice the 19-year-old forward played alongside Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz. Nothing is set in stone, but that combination did gel.
“I think we want to look at what the combinations look like now rather than do it at the start of the season,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re looking at a hard match line and we’re also looking at taking advantage of speed and skill off the rush.
“I really liked what I saw today. I really liked Lehtera’s line, they looked very dynamic off the rush.”
The top line of Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, and Vladimir Tarasenko seems like a good bet to play together for the time being. Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz will stick together on the second line while Dmitrij Jaskin and David Backes can expect to be regular partners on the third unit. The X-factors will be Fabbri and Troy Brouwer as Hitchcock has left the door open to alternating between the two of them on the second and third line depending on the opponent.
Fabbri was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and is looking to make the leap after a brief stint in the AHL last season. At the OHL level, he’s been a dominate force with the Guelph Storm, scoring 25 goals and 51 points in 30 games in 2014-15.