By Jeff Quake, Sports Talk Philly staff writer
It’s no secret that the Philadelphia Flyers are having one of their worst seasons in recent memory. It includes a 10-game losing streak and the firing of head coach Alain Vigneault and assistant coach Michel Therrien in the last week.
To be fair, the Flyers have been decimated by injuries since the new season began, most notably to Ryan Ellis, Kevin Hayes, and more recently Joel Farabee. There have been other injuries to some of the Orange and Black’s top prospects who are on the cusp of making the NHL, including Wade Allison, Cam York, Tyson Foerster, Zayde Wisdom, and Tanner Laczynski.
Foerster, unfortunately, is most likely out for the rest of the season after crashing into the boards and injuring his shoulder. Laczynski is also likely out for the year with a hip injury, and has had horrible luck with injuries. Last year, he was also out for the season to receive hip surgery, and just five months later, needed surgery on his other hip, his current injury.
The Flyers have had nothing but injury after injury to key players, young and old. Thankfully, things seem to be back on track with getting some important young stars back in action.
York was never hurt, however, he did deal with COVID-19 which affects every person differently. A prime example is one of the Minnesota Wild’s top prospects Marco Rossi, who missed an entire year due to the virus. Thankfully, COVID-19 didn’t seem to affect York too bad, as he is now back on the ice and in action for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The struggling Flyers have now won three games in a row, but perhaps York will get a chance to play in the NHL this season depending on how everything goes.
Obviously, COVID cases are up around the NHL, and the Flyers had one of their players enter COVID protocol on Tuesday with Morgan Frost exiting in the middle of the 6-1 win over the Devils. There is certainly potential for more cases to pop up around the league and within the team, so it is something to monitor, but at this point, all otherwise healthy players remain available.
It was a great sight to see Wisdom get back on the ice after undergoing shoulder surgery back in the fall. Wisdom made his pro debut last season for the Phantoms due to the OHL cancelling their entire 2020-21 season. The 5'10", 201-pound center scored an astonishing seven goals and 18 points in 28 games played in his AHL rookie season. That might not seem like much, but for an 18 year-old, it's extremely impressive.
Wisdom has gone back to his OHL team, the Kingston Frontenacs. Hopefully, Wisdom will be ready to make an immediate impact next season back at the pro level in a top-nine role.
Last but not least is Allison, who missed nearly three months with a high ankle sprain suffered at rookie camp in September and returned to action with two games for Lehigh Valley over the weekend. In total, he had an assist, 10 shots on goal, and a shootout goal in the team's 4-3 victory on Sunday. Allison has made quite the impact since signing his entry-level contract with Philadelphia, scoring three goals and seven points in 14 games during his rookie season last year, along with four goals and nine points in the AHL.
It seems Farabee is also set to return within the next week for the Flyers, who desperately need his type of play. Farabee, another younger player on the team, brings an entire different mentality to the lineup with the ability to play anywhere within the top nine. Hayes has thankfully been back for a few games now, and will look to get back on track like Chuck Fletcher and the rest of the organization had hoped for since signing him to the massive seven-year, $49 million deal a few years ago. Ellis has been out for all but four games this season, which is far from ideal for anyone. However, once he does return, the hope is that he's the full force to be reckoned with that he was anticipated to be when the Flyers acquired him from Nashville this offseason.
When each player comes back, the Flyers can hopefully turn things around in South Philadelphia and quickly, otherwise this season is even more lost than it already appears.