While the Flyers were hoping that goaltending would be a strength for them this season, the exact opposite has been the case so far, notes Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post. Through ten games, Philadelphia has a team save percentage of .866, the second lowest in the NHL (Carolina is last at .864). Not surprisingly, head coach Dave Hakstol has changed goalies in-game three times already.
Both Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth are set to be unrestricted free agents following the season and so far, they aren’t performing well in their contract years. Before the season started, GM Ron Hextall said that he didn’t anticipate signing either to an extension and right now that’s looking like a shrewd move.
For the time being at least, it’s likely that Hakstol will continue to platoon the two in the hopes that one will get on a roll. If neither get going though, they could be a team who looks outside the organization for goaltending help before too long.
More notes from the Metropolitan Division:
- Still with the Flyers, the team announced that center Boyd Gordon will be out for at least a week with an upper body injury. While the release doesn’t specifically note it, Gordon will be placed on injured reserve. He has played in eight games so far this season, picking up a goal while averaging 8:30 per game on the fourth line.
- While Carolina’s decision to sign center Victor Rask to a six year, $24MM extension in the offseason raised more than a few eyebrows, the early returns on the new contract have been quite promising, writes Luke DeCock of the News and Observer. Not only does he lead the team in scoring with ten points (4-6-10) in eight games, he has recorded a point in every game so far. Coincidentally, the only other player in franchise history to pick up at least a point in each of the first eight games of the season is the person who signed Rask to that contract, GM Ron Francis.
- The New York Rangers will welcome back left winger Chris Kreider to the lineup tonight, reports Justin Tasch of the New York Daily News. He has missed the last four games due to neck spasms. Prior to the injury, he was off to a strong start to the season with seven points (3-4-7) in five games. He’s expected to play alongside Mika Zibanejad who he has skated with going back to training camp and Mats Zuccarello. Oscar Lindberg is expected to be a healthy scratch to open up a spot for Kreider to return.
- Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray is expected to return to the lineup tonight, notes Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch. It has been a rocky season for the 23 year old so far. He has missed the last four games with an upper body issue and has also missed time with a lower body issue suffered while blocking a shot in the season opener. As a result, he has only seen action in two games this season. Murray logged nearly 23 minutes a game last year and will be a welcome addition for John Tortorella’s blueline moving forward.