With the loss of Myers and Frost, the Flyers depth will be put to the test

Morgan Frost, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Morgan Frost, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

Coming into the season, there was one word that has been continually floated around the Flyers: Depth.  With medical clearances for Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom, they finally were able to ice a full team, and players like Voracek, Van Riemsdyk, and Laughton had all been pushed down to the 3rd and 4th line roles.  Fast forward through four games though, and that highly lauded depth has taken a very big hit.

The chipping of the depth started even before game one as Shayne Gostisbehere, who was going to start on the top pairing with Ivan Provorov, was relegated to the COVID protocol and has been unavailable since. Game 2 saw the early exit of the Flyers best all around player in Sean Couturier after suffering a rib injury and he is expected to miss at minimum 2 weeks.

Now, in the second of a back to back with the Buffalo Sabres, the Flyers have lost both Myers and Frost, who himself was inserted into the line up to replace Couturier.  Needles to say, with a rash of injuries and illness, this isn’t exactly the kind of start the Flyers wanted even though they’re 3-1-0 and on top of the division.

The Flyers added Derrick Pouliot to the taxi squad on Wednesday afternoon. That would lead one to believe someone may be coming into the lineup for Myers on Thursday. There as been no word on his status as of yet, though.

So what can the Flyers to do to plug up the holes in their roster, and what should we expect from the team?

“Next Man Up” on offense and defense

The one good thing to come out of what I like to call the “Decade of Futility” is that even though the Flyers were not very competitive from 2012-2019, what they did do was draft very well.  Even though their team depth has taken a hit, there are still young players available to them waiting in the wings.

Connor Bunnman, who played a 4th line role with the Flyers one and off last year, and Mark Friedman, a RH defenseman that could potentially bring some balance to the defense by playing a “smart” game are most likely going to be inserted into the line up to fill the gaps.  That’s not to mean that they are going to fill in the exact same roles as Myers and Frost.

Look for Bunnaman to center the 4th line (a role he is more than suited for) and Laughton to likely be elevated to the 3rd line. With Laughton’s success playing with guys with higher skill like Hayes, Farabee, and Konecny from last year, Laughton is more than capable of centering the 3rd line will players are on the mend.

With Mark Friedman, my hope is that he gets a chance to show what he is made of with Ivan Provorov the way Morgan Forst was given a chance to play with higher skilled players, but with his steady play I believe he is best as a stabilizing force on the 3rd pairing, which has continued to look bad through four games now.

Veterans need to step up

The Flyers aren’t the same team they were when it was just Giroux and Voracek as the headliners.  Every year it seemed they were the ones who dragged a sub-par team to the finish line. With the influx of young talent, their roles have slightly diminished, as Giroux is now on the 2nd line, and Voracek is now on the 3rd.  That’s not to say that they’re no longer effective or serviceable, but they are no longer looked at as the players that need to be stars every night for the team to find success.

That being said, when you begin to lose players, some of which are the younger guys, it’s up to your veteran core to start carrying the load. Fortunately in the second half of the Sabres series, we saw Hayes and Voracek score goals and seal the game. For the Flyers to weather this storm they will need more contributions from the vets in the goals department.

While Claude Giroux has been by no means bad these past four games, it’s imperative that he begins to find his scoring touch again, and add that secondary scoring to the likes of Lindblom, Patrick, Konecny, and Farabee so that they can remain afloat in what many consider to be the toughest division.

Nothing comes easy in a hockey season, especially in a shortened one.  With the injury bug already biting the Flyers early, it will need to be a total team effort to continue to remain beasts of the east.  With the way the Flyers are set up currently, they should not only be up to the challenge, but able to over come it.