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Flyers' defensive prospect Parent will grow up in a hurry

The plan earlier this year was to let defensive prospect Ryan Parent spend the season playing with the Phantoms to develop his game.

The plan earlier this year was to let defensive prospect Ryan Parent spend the season playing with the Phantoms to develop his game.

The Flyers had enough guys on defense, and at 20, Parent is still just a kid. Defensemen, the saying goes, take longer to grow.

So much for that.

With the injury to Braydon Coburn and the need to get some puck movement out of the back end, Parent was called up from the Phantoms yesterday and will make his NHL debut tonight.

"We're going to get him up and get him playing," Flyers coach John Stevens said yesterday. "He's played extremely well [with the Phantoms].

"He's a kid who was left alone down there to get the opportunity to develop at the professional level. But we're a little bit banged up and he gives us a little bit of a different dimension with his mobility."

Parent, who was the centerpiece of the Peter Forsberg trade with Nashville last season, welcomes the chance.

"When you're given an opportunity, you want to do what you've been doing and work hard and the rest takes care of itself," he said.

The Flyers hope Parent will help them get out of the defensive zone better than they have during their current four-game losing streak.

At 6-2, 200 pounds, Parent has the ability to make clean passes and to skate the puck. He is also going to be asked to be tough defensively, something he has been working on with the Phantoms.

"That is typically what I have been my whole career, more on the defensive side, everywhere I have been," Parent said. "[Phantoms' coaches] have been working with me to move the puck better and be a puck-moving defenseman.

"The biggest thing now with the new rules, size is one thing, but the speed of the game has picked up and there is more skating involved. I use my skating to my advantage more than my size," he said.

Stevens didn't say yesterday whom Parent would be paired up with or which defenseman would be scratched. Chances are it will be Lasse Kukkonen.

One thing Stevens did say was that Parent would get more than one game.

"I want to put him in there and see how he does," Stevens said.

Snap shots

Braydon Coburn did not skate as planned yesterday. Coburn did some light exercises and hopes to return to the ice today if he feels good enough.

did not skate as planned yesterday. Coburn did some light exercises and hopes to return to the ice today if he feels good enough.

Coburn suffered a ruptured artery in his left buttock Saturday and was expected to miss 2 weeks after having emergency surgery. However, Coburn said yesterday he does not expect to miss that much time.

"It felt all right," he said. "It's pretty stiff and I feel a little awkward putting any weight on the leg. It's still a little painful."

Scottie Upshall (sprained right ankle) did skate and could be ready for the weekend.

"I felt good, but I have to take time off to make sure it's pretty strong when I come back," he said. "I'm doing a couple of tests [yesterday] and a few tests [today]. I could be ready for the weekend. We'll see." *

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