The Flyers have announced multiple roster moves, including recalling defender Ronnie Attard from AHL Lehigh Valley. To open up a spot on the active roster, the team moved Jamie Drysdale to injured reserve. He’s been listed as week to week with an upper-body injury sustained Sunday against the Penguins.
In another pair of moves, the Flyers said they’ve loaned netminder Calvin Petersen to Lehigh Valley and recalled Felix Sandström as starter Samuel Ersson’s backup. However, this transaction cannot be registered until Petersen clears waivers later today.
The IR placement doesn’t reflect Drysdale’s timeline for a return; it’s solely to create roster space for an additional recall on defense. He’s expected to miss more than the seven days required for an IR stint. Concerns remain that his upper-body injury is related to the torn labrum that sidelined him for nearly all of last season, although the team hasn’t disclosed any specifics.
Drysdale hasn’t exactly been impressive since coming over in a blockbuster swap with the Ducks for top forward prospect Cutter Gauthier early last month, recording four points and a -9 rating in 17 games while averaging 18:37. The 2020 sixth-overall pick still carries high upside, however, and experience logging important minutes down the stretch while the Flyers attempt to secure their first playoff berth in four years would have been beneficial.
The Flyers are slowly losing their grip on third place in the Metropolitan Division, however, and the gap could continue to close between them and the Devils and Capitals as long as leading scorer Travis Konecny remains sidelined with an upper-body injury. They’re expected to deal one or both of their high-end shutdown defense pairing of Nick Seeler and Sean Walker before the March 8 trade deadline, too.
Drysdale missing extended time leaves the Flyers with only one right-shot blue-liner in the lineup in Walker, so it makes sense that Philly would want to summon another righty option to compete for minutes with depth defenders like Marc Staal and Yegor Zamula. In comes the 24-year-old Attard, who leads Phantoms defenders in goals with 10 and has added 15 assists in 46 games, along with a +2 rating.
A third-round pick in 2019, Attard signed his entry-level deal with the Flyers after wrapping up his collegiate career at Western Michigan in 2022 and has since become a top-four fixture for Lehigh Valley. He hasn’t seen NHL action yet this season, although he’ll likely draw into the lineup at some point over their next few games, given head coach John Tortorella’s penchant for rotating his cast of third-pairing defenders.
After representing the United States at the World Championship last year, Attard inked a two-year, $1.7MM deal to remain in Philly after reaching restricted free agency. A two-way deal this year that sees him earn $775K in the NHL and $125K in the minors, it shifts to a one-way deal in 2024-25 and will pay him $925K no matter which league he’s assigned to.
The Flyers hope Sandström can provide a tad more relief for Ersson than Petersen, who struggled with a .864 SV% in his five appearances this season. Sandström’s .880 SV% in 20 games last season doesn’t offer much more optimism, though, nor does his .882 SV% and 3.23 GAA in 20 games for Lehigh Valley this season.
In fact, both Petersen and Sandström have been significantly outplayed by 30-year-old ECHL mainstay Parker Gahagen, who’s played a career-high 14 AHL games for the Phantoms with a 5-6-3 record and .908 SV%. He’s not signed to an NHL contract, however, and can’t be recalled by the Flyers unless that changes.