Flyers recall yet another defenseman; Shayne Gostisbehere, Nolan Patrick won't be on road trip
The Flyers, the blue line battered by injuries, now have four rookies among their seven defensemen.
Another day, another new defenseman practicing with the Flyers.
Will O'Neill, a journeyman minor-leaguer, was recalled from the AHL's Phantoms and joined the Flyers at practice Tuesday in Voorhees.
Barring an injury, O'Neill is expected to be an extra player when the Flyers play in Chicago on Wednesday and in St. Louis on Thursday.
Because of injuries to Shayne Gostisbehere and Andrew MacDonald, the Flyers now have four rookies among their seven defensemen: Robert Hagg, Travis Sanheim, Mark Alt, and O'Neill. All were teammates last season with the Phantoms.
"I've played with a few of them as a partner, so the familiarity certainly makes it easier," O'Neill said after practice. He had been Alt's partner this season.
In another matter, general manager Ron Hextall said Sam Morin's unspecified injury is worse than first anticipated. Hextall said Morin will miss about two weeks. Morin had been slated to join the Flyers for Monday's game against Arizona, but his recall was terminated when Hextall learned of his injury.
"Sam's a tough guy, and he didn't disclose 100 percent of his injury because he plays through things," Hextall said. "He has a little nick that's going to keep him out a bit — not days, maybe a couple weeks."
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound O'Neill, signed as a free agent before last season, had three goals, 28 assists and a plus-1 rating in 57 games for the Phantoms last season and was a key cog on the power play.
In nine games this season with Lehigh Valley, O'Neill, 29, had a goal, two assists, and a plus-5 rating.
Drafted in the seventh round by the Atlanta Thrashers (remember them?) in 2006, O'Neill has never played in an NHL game.
"I'm excited," O'Neill said. "It's been a long time coming for me and I'm looking forward to it."
A Boston native, O'Neill has spent the last six-plus seasons with three different AHL teams. Before that, he played for four seasons at the University of Maine.
"I've played a lot of games, and over time you figure out more and more on how to play….I feel super confident in my game, and feel more and more ready," he said.
Nolan Patrick and Gostisbehere skated before the Flyers' practice. They are listed as day to day with apparent head injuries but will not make the road trip. Instead, they will work out in Voorhees….MacDonald is making progress and may be back in a little under three weeks, Hextall said.