Sunday morning brought news of another injury to a Flyer even before the season begins.
#Flyers D Andrew MacDonald sustained a lower body injury during an off-season workout and will be sidelined approximately six weeks.https://t.co/T1JCvdo0Cx
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) September 9, 2018
Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald is out six weeks, and if that holds true, it means A-Mac would miss the first eight games of the season, having him return in time for the Colorado game on the 22nd.
News of MacDonald’s injury has Flyers fans pretty excited, as A-Mac has long been the target for fan’s ire, and with the influx of young talent coming up through, it only harshened criticism of his play. This time around, fans are excited for Philippe Myers, who figured to factor into a potential training camp battle for the 7th defenseman spot anyway, but now sees an even bigger window for opportunity with MacDonald missing some time at the beginning of the season.
The one thing that could stand in Myers’ way of a roster spot could be recent signing Christian Folin. Folin comes in having spent last year with the Los Angeles Kings. Folin is a right handed shot like Myers, and a big body as well. He posted 13 points last season (3g, 10a) and averaged 15:39 on ice with 167 hits and 106 blocked shots.
With head coach Dave Hakstol’s undying loyalty to veteran players like MacDonald, Radko Gudas, even Brandon Manning, it isn’t so surprising to think that Folin sees the ice more than Myers does in MacDonald’s absence. However, there may be one thing that keeps Folin out of the lineup, and puts Myers in instead.
Folin stands at six feet, three inches tall, and weighs in at slightly over 200 pounds. His stature is very similar to Myers, and also Robert Hagg and Radko Gudas. What stands out more so than just his stature is the fact that his game is very similar to that of both Hagg and Gudas. Folin isn’t your typical Flyer 2-way defenseman like Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere. Folin, much like Hagg ad Gudas, is the kind of defenseman you can count on on the back end, not necessarily the front end.
Folin doesn’t drive the play. He doesn’t get the puck up the ice and doesn’t create any offense. Philippe Myers does that though. Myers won’t put up the points like Ghost, but he can drive play and create opportunities for the Flyers forwards unlike Christian Folin. All in all, Myers makes more sense due to the fact that the Flyers already have their stay at home defensemen in Gudas and Hagg, adding a bigger bodied and more offensive minded defenseman stands to benefit the team more than adding another stay at home defender.
The only thing that may prevent Myers from breaking into the NHL could be the amount of youth already on the blueline. Sure, guys like Sanheim and Hagg have about a year of experience, but they’re still young, and so are Ghost and Provy, who have a combined 5 years of NHL experience. Experience isn’t exactly the end-all, be-all, but when it comes to Hakstol’s decision making, he tends to weigh his decisions based off of things like the all-powerful “veteran presence.” If that’s how things are going to be, we may have to wait a little longer for Philippe Myers to make his Flyers debut. If Hakstol decides to take a chance with Myers at the beginning of the 2018-19 season, it could he Myers’ chance to prove that he belongs at the NHL level.
If Myers succeeds and plays like many believe he is capable of, Hakstol may have no choice but to keep the right handed shot in the lineup, much to the delight of the fans. Time will tell, but the training camp battle between Christian Folin and Philippe Myers could end up being one of the more interesting battles this year.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports