CHICAGO - Surrounded by his family at home in Hearst, Ontario, on Christmas Eve, winger Claude Giroux received a phone call from Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren.

Holmgren told the highly touted Giroux, the Flyers' No. 1 draft pick in 2006, that he would be promoted from the AHL's Phantoms.

"It was a good Christmas present," Giroux said last night before the Flyers' game against the Chicago Blackhawks. "I'm really excited, and hopefully I can get some ice time and show what I can do."

Scottie Upshall injured his right knee Sunday, which triggered the call-up. Upshall isn't expected to return until Jan. 6 at the earliest.

Flyers coach John Stevens said Giroux, 20, had been "playing really well."

"He gives us a little more skill in our lineup and is another guy who can hopefully give us some secondary scoring," Stevens said, adding that "it seems like he's played better and better down there and deserves an opportunity."

With the Phantoms, Giroux had 17 goals and 16 assists in 31 games.

Stevens said Giroux could see time on the third and fourth lines. Glen Metropolit, who had missed three games with a strained back, returned last night and centered for the third line, which included Giroux and Arron Asham at the start of the game.

"The game will dictate how much he plays," Stevens said of Giroux.

Stevens was asked whether Giroux would stay with the team for a while.

"To be honest, it's an evaluation that goes on daily," the coach said. "Get him in a game, see how he does."

Stevens said he also planned to play Giroux tonight in Columbus, Ohio, "and depending on our health and how he does, that will dictate how long he stays."

Giroux had a big buildup but failed to make the team in training camp.

"I was a little disappointed in myself more than anything else because I really didn't play well and didn't deserve to be on this team," Giroux said. "But I think I've learned a lot with the Phantoms. I've had a lot of ice time, and I think I'm a better hockey player than I was at the start of the season."

Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or scarchidi@phillynews.com.