Robert Hagg made the team as one of the rookie defensemen, with Sam Morin likely making the team as well. That left Travis Sanheim on the outside looking in. But one play in the third period of Sunday’s game changed that.
Shayne Gostisbehere picked the puck up behind the net on the power play, sped through the neutral zone and fired a high shot over the net. Seconds later, however, he took a high hit of his own from two Islanders bearing down on him.
Dennis Seidenberg and Thomas Hickey sandwiched Gostisbehere up high, towards his head, and sent him tumbling towards the ice.
Gostisbehere got back up and finished his shift, but did not return. He played 30 seconds after taking the hit, and made a few offensive zone passes in that time, but was then not seen on the Flyers’ bench for the rest of the game.
Hextall revealed after the game that Gostisbehere had an upper-body injury and that we’d know more in a day or two. Well, those are two very important days as the Flyers must finalize their roster by Tuesday afternoon at 5:00 p.m.
It looked like Sanheim was going to join Oskar Lindblom in going to Lehigh Valley after last night’s game, but now that is up in the air. Hextall said that his “best guess” is that all three rookie defensemen will be traveling to California with the team. He wouldn’t reveal anything more than that, as he shouldn’t, since he may not even know the extent of Gostisbehere’s injury.
Hextall has also said that he won’t keep a rookie on the team to be a healthy scratch, so Hagg, as well as at least one of Morin or Sanheim should be in the lineup on Wednesday night. If Gostisbehere is healthy, and he was taken out of the game for precautionary measures, it will likely be Morin in, and Sanheim sent to Lehigh Valley. On the other hand, if Gostisbehere is out for more than a game or two, Sanheim may get a chance as he has a more similar skillset to Gostisbehere than Morin does.
Ron Hextall and the Flyers didn’t want to make any roster decisions early in case of injury, and the worst case happened as one of the Flyers’ three defensive locks got injured in the final preseason game. Hopefully Gostisbehere is okay after Sunday’s hit and won’t miss any time, but his potential injury currently plays a large role in determining the final cut on the Flyers roster.
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