The Philadelphia Flyers have announced several moves, including one that you don’t see very often. Carter Hart will be out for this afternoon’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes with an eye infection. His status is unclear moving forward, though there is hope that it doesn’t keep him out long. To fill the spot, Kirill Ustimenko has been recalled under emergency conditions. Meanwhile, Rasmus Ristolainen and Patrick Brown have both been activated from injured reserve, while Wade Allison has moved to IR to make room.
Among those moves, Ristolainen’s return may be the biggest. The veteran defenseman is a pending unrestricted free agent and could potentially be a prime target at the trade deadline. His health will likely determine how many teams are interested though, so getting him back into the lineup can only help the Flyers. Ristolainen hasn’t played since February 9 against the Detroit Red Wings where he logged nearly 24 minutes of ice time.
Overall, he’s averaging more than 21 minutes this season, his first in Philadelphia. The Flyers suggested earlier this season that they hoped to sign Ristolainen to an extension, though with the way the year has gone so far it’s hard to argue that a trade wouldn’t be more productive. Notorious for his poor plus-minus record, despite that statistic not inspiring much faith, Ristolainen is once again in the negative at -12 on the year. He’s been on the ice for 46 goals against at even strength, worse than all but 28 other defensemen in the league.
Still, the mix of size, skating ability, and offensive upside that the 27-year-old brings (along with the fact that he’s right-handed) will make him an interesting player to watch as the deadline approaches.