Flyers Phlight Deck: Could Claude Giroux return tomorrow?

The Philadelphia Flyers could welcome Claude Giroux back on the ice tomorrow night at home versus the New York Rangers.

Don’t look now! The Philadelphia Flyers are slowly getting healthy. Down, but not out of the Mass Mutual Eastern Division playoff race, the Flyers will welcome the return of Claude Giroux. Tomorrow, Justin Braun will skate but not play. The grass is a little greener in today’s Flyers Phlight Deck!

Giroux and Braun Return to the Flyers

Giroux will be a game-time decision to play tomorrow night. Two games ago, Philadelphia forced a shootout with their shorthanded roster versus the New York Rangers. In a rematch tomorrow night, Giroux could offer the extra firepower to get back into the win column. He is ranked fifth in team scoring this season, taking on a playmaker role. Also, Giroux is the sturdiest in the faceoff circle, winning 56.5% of his draws.

Braun will skate in a session but will not play. Alain Vigneault noted Braun is due to come off the COVID protocol list tomorrow and skate alongside Giroux. Defensively, the Flyers have mostly been healthy. Except for Braun, every defenseman has been available during the last two games. Braun will likely replace Robert Hagg or Erik Gustafsson on the third pair when he returns.

Could the Flyers Lose Friedman?

After flexing his position from defenseman to right-wing in Lake Tahoe, Mark Friedman must clear waivers to be re-assigned to the taxi-squad. He made the Philadelphia roster out of camp. A curious sight versus the Boston Bruins, Friedman played right-wing on the fourth-line. After the painful 7-3 loss, Vigneault looked for a new direction. Today, Sam Morin and Maksim Sushko traded repetitions at right-wing on the fourth-line.

Despite inconsistencies, another team could take a flier on Friedman. At 25-years-old, the defenseman could help another franchise on the third pair. With the Flyers, he has typically been used as a rotating seventh defenseman. Recently, Ron Hextall accepted the General Manager role with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins, plagued by injuries, make sense as a potential suitor.

Nolan Patrick to RW

Despite a lack of depth at center, Vigneault moved Nolan Patrick to the right-wing on the second-line. Kevin Hayes will center Giroux and Patrick according to today’s practice lines. The centers in the bottom-six consist of Connor Bunnaman and Andy Andreoff.

Vigneault hopes Hayes and Giroux on the same line will jumpstart Patrick. He’ll remain on the second powerplay unit. According to Vigneault, Patrick needs to be more intense in one-on-one puck battles.

“We need Nolan to play better than he has so far. We need to find a way to help him play his game.”

Alain Vigneault; 2/23/21

Patrick has totaled five points this season with a minus-five rating. He has been on a scoring drought. His last point was a third-period goal against the New Jersey Devils nearly a month ago.

Twarynski Is In

It is about time Carsen Twarynski received an opportunity in 2020-2021. He was inactive at practices last week, possibly in COVID protocol. Taxi-squad players don’t need to be listed. With his arrival, Morin flipped his role to right-wing.

Last season, Twarynski participated in fifteen games with the Flyers. Notably, he was very physical on the ice. Twarynski amassed forty hits, blocked eight shots, and forced six takeaways. His physicality meets Vigneault’s demands.

Twarynski began 2019-2020 with Philadelphia. Three games into his NHL career, he scored his first goal versus the Vancouver Canucks in an overtime loss. The Flyers do not sacrifice physicality by replacing Morin on the fourth-line.

Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre

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