When Andrew MacDonald went down with a lower-body injury, the immediate reaction was to get Morin up and in the lineup for the 5-3 Philadelphia Flyers. We may have to wait to see Sam Morin in the lineup for the Flyers this season.
At morning skate on Monday, head coach Dave Hakstol decided to change things up on the defensive end, which leads to saying that the Flyers will likely roll with six defensemen on Tuesday against Anaheim. Brandon Manning will be the immediate replacement for MacDonald, but doesn’t rule out the possibility to carry seven defensemen for upcoming road trip.
Here’s what the defense looked like at morning skate in Voorhees:
Immediate reaction to this should be fierce, and rightly so. But, using Manning for one game isn’t the end of the world. It gives the Flyers time to evaluate who they want to bring to Canada with them for their road trip against the Maple Leafs and Senators. If it is Morin, then he’ll slot in likely alongside Travis Sanheim, who is paired with Manning on that third pairing.
Sanheim and Morin would be a solid pairing. It would allow the puck-moving Sanheim to play his game and continue to grow on both ends of the ice, while Morin eased into his role as a NHL defenseman. Sanheim’s current partner, Radko Gudas, will slot with Shayne Gostisbehere, who is off to an impressive start offensively.
The move to bring Gudas alongside Gostisbehere is a testament to how Ghost has played in his own end up to this point. A new and improved mindset for being liable in the defensive zone has helped bring Gostisbehere’s play to the next level. It also allows him to still play on the left side, which he obviously looks more comfortable playing on.
Gostisbehere’s defense partner, Robert Hägg, has been bumped up to the top pairing alongside Ivan Provorov. The move shows how much Hakstol trusts his rookie defenseman. Hagg has been the Flyers’ unsung hero on the backend to this point. He’s been solid since the season’s start and continues to be reliable on both ends of the ice.
The Flyers find themselves in an interesting situation. It wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t call up Morin and called up someone else for the time being. The Flyers play Thursday and Saturday on the road before coming home for a game and then heading out on the road again. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have games on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday before having a break until their next game. We’ll see what’ll happen soon, but don’t be surprised if Manning spends more time in the lineup for the next handful of games.
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