Last month, Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning was looking like he might be on the outside looking in for a roster spot. The six game suspension for Radko Gudas gave him a chance to start the season with the team and as Greg Paone of CSNPhilly writes, Manning has made a huge impression for Philadelphia and has arguably been their best defender so far.
Through the first five games, Manning has a goal and three assists to go along with a team high +5 rating. He’s also averaging a career high in minutes with 17:29 per game.
Gudas has one game remaining on his suspension which he will serve tonight, making him eligible to return to Philadelphia’s lineup on Tuesday night against Buffalo. With Manning making his case to stay, Nick Schultz could be the odd man out before too long. The Flyers won’t have to make a roster move to accommodate Gudas returning to game action as he is already part of their active 23-man roster.
[Related: Flyers Depth Chart]
More out of Philadelphia:
- Winger Matt Read, who has been up and down in the lineup in recent years, is off to a strong start this season with five goals in as many games. By comparison, he had just 11 last year and eight the season before that. The 30 year old told CSNPhilly’s Jordan Hall that his early success can be attributed to a willingness to drive towards the net instead of playing on the perimeter as he has in the past. Philadelphia has been rumored to have shopped Read around in the past and with two years to go on a contract worth $3.625MM, he’ll need to keep up his early season performance for a little while yet before any sort of market would open up for him.
- While they were once known as the Broad Street Bullies, this current version of the Flyers won’t be receiving that distinction any time soon. GM Ron Hextall was looking to make the team younger and faster over the offseason (a growing trend in the NHL) but as Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes, to do so, the team is currently the smallest in the league. That isn’t to say that the Flyers don’t intend to play physical; forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare believes that smaller players with speed can often make more of an impact physically than bigger but slower skaters. They’re putting that theory into practice as the team currently sits tenth in the league with 115 hits through five games.
- Goaltender Steve Mason will get his third straight start tonight against Montreal despite his struggles on the road dating back to last season. In 2015-16, Mason allowed over a half a goal per game more on the road compared to at home while his save percentage was 17 points lower.