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Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher addresses the media, provides injury updates on Kevin Hayes, Ryan Ellis and more

Ellis remains a ways away but 'real positive' news on Hayes, who could return Wednesday vs. the Rangers.

Flyers Kevin Hayes right celebrates his goal against the Flames with teammates Joel Farabee 86 and Cam Atkinson during the second period at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Tuesday, November 16 2021.
Flyers Kevin Hayes right celebrates his goal against the Flames with teammates Joel Farabee 86 and Cam Atkinson during the second period at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Tuesday, November 16 2021.Read moreSTEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer

Kevin Hayes’ medical treatment in Tampa, Fla., plus another week of rest served him well.

Hayes participated in every drill at practice Tuesday, and general manager Chuck Fletcher said the Flyers are hopeful he’ll be back for Wednesday’s game against the New York Rangers, but they’ll see how he feels on game day.

“He’s made tremendous progress in the last week,” Fletcher said. “He told me yesterday this is the best he’s felt in over a year. So it’s real positive.”

» READ MORE: Should the Flyers trade captain Claude Giroux and start to rebuild?

Hayes reinjured his abdomen in the game against Calgary on Nov. 16 after missing the first 12 games of the season. He has missed six games since. His return to practice Tuesday was evident in the lifted spirits around the rink.

Derick Brassard also skated with the team for part of practice. Brassard has been out with a lower-body strain, what Fletcher called “a bit of a hip issue,” since he was injured in the Nov. 23 game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and he hasn’t participated in practice since.

Fletcher doesn’t see Brassard returning for Wednesday’s game because he felt a “tweak.” The Flyers are hopeful he’s still day to day and not week to week.

Fletcher also gave updates on four other injured Flyers. Wade Allison, who has been out since he injured his ankle at the end of rookie camp, is skating again, “and skating hard.” He could possibly play with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms this week.

Top-pair defenseman Ryan Ellis reaggravated his lower-body injury after returning for the game against the Dallas Stars. He underwent a treatment that has required him to “lay low for a week.” He is still week to week, but Fletcher said they’ve seen progress.

Patrick Brown, whom the Flyers claimed off of waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights to help them through Hayes’ recovery period, hurt his thumb in the Nov. 12 game against the Hurricanes. Brown is seeing a hand specialist Wednesday, Fletcher said. He’ll be able to skate soon, but the question is whether he can hold the stick without pain.

Center Nate Thompson suffered the most recent injury when he left the ice during the Nov. 26 game against the Hurricanes. He had surgery Tuesday. Fletcher said they are waiting to talk to the surgeon, but Thompson is expected to miss “significant time.”

The Flyers called up Max Willman from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms after Hayes’ injury, Morgan Frost after Brassard’s injury and Connor Bunnaman after Thompson was hurt. All three players practiced with the NHL team Tuesday.

As hard as the Flyers have been hit, the Phantoms have been hit harder. “Their team has been absolutely decimated by injuries,” Fletcher said.

Injured players include Tyson Foerster, Linus Sandin, and Tanner Laczynski. The positive has been that neither the Flyers nor the Phantoms have been hit hard by COVID-19 so far. There is just one player from Lehigh Valley who is in COVID protocols. No Flyers have gone into virus protocols since Brown at the beginning of the season.

Waiting it out

Fletcher took an aggressive approach to the offseason when remaking the Flyers roster, but now he’s taking a step back, despite the Flyers having lost six games in a row.

» READ MORE: "We need to find a way to get out of this real quick," Alain Vigneault

“I’d really like to see what we have,” Fletcher said when asked if he was thinking of taking a similar approach to in-season trades. Injuries have prevented him from fully evaluating how the new roster will mesh and perform.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t looking at what’s out there — “we’re always looking” — but Fletcher wants to see if the flash the Flyers showed at the start of the season was a sign of greater potential.

The first 10 games are also why Fletcher still has hope in the coaching staff and still believes the Flyers can be a great team.


The Flyers will take on the Rangers at 7 p.m Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. ... Alain Vigneault coached the Rangers between 2013-18 while Hayes, Brassard, and Keith Yandle all previously spent time as members of the Blueshirts.