The Flyers will be disappointed with the loss of versatile middle-six winger Michael Raffl, but they’ll be glad to welcome Brayden Schenn back to the lineup after he completed his three-game suspension.
Michael Raffl may not be Philadelphia’s top scorer or take a regular spot on the top line, but the 27-year-old has been a very consistent contributor for the Flyers over his three seasons in the NHL. That’s what will make his absence due to an abdominal pull a tough one for the club to deal with.
Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced that Raffl will be sidelined for anywhere from 10-14 days with an upper-body injury, which was reported by CSN’s Tim Panaccio to be an abdominal pull. The injury came midway thorugh the Flyers’ 7-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, as Raffl took his final shift — a brief, 14-second twirl — with 11:26 left in the second frame and did not return for the remainder of the outing. He played a mere 9:36 in the game.
Raffl had bounced around the lineup during the first two games of the campaign, skating 15 minutes to start the campaign and dropping down to bottom-six minutes in the second outing, but he was set to be utilized as a versatile middle-six player for much of the season. He had already scored his first of the season in the Flyers’ second game of the campaign, but he won’t have a chance to get back into action and contribute until the end of October, at the earliest.
Raffl’s ailment likely means he’ll be sidelined anywhere from seven to nine games, and a realistic return date for the Austrian winger could be Nov. 3 against the Islanders or Nov. 5 against the Canadiens.
It’s not all bad news, though, as Brayden Schenn is set to make his season debut Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks. Unlike most players who’ve been forced to miss action early this season, though, Schenn isn’t recovering from an off-season injury or a pre-season knock. Rather, the 25-year-old winger has completed a three-game suspension that was carried over from the end of the post-season in 2015-16.
Schenn was hit with the suspension after an incident in Game 6 of the Flyers’ first-round series against the Washington Capitals. During the second period, Schenn charged T.J. Oshie and launched into his head. Days after the Game 6, which was the Flyers’ final game of the post-season, Schenn was handed the three-game ban.
Getting Schenn back into the lineup is huge for the Flyers as he had his breakout season in 2015-16. Schenn set career-highs with 26 goals, 33 assists and 59 points, and he was one of the most effective players in the back half of the campaign. From Jan. 1 to the end of the season, he posted 44 points in 46 games and was the sixth-highest scorer in the entire league.
“I continue to feel more confident to get better every year and heading into this year I’m going to start off with a great opportunity to get to play with great players right off the start and I’m going to try and run with it,” Schenn said of his return, via the Flyers official website.
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