PHILADELPHIA – When Nick Schultz got a call from Flyers general manager Ron Hextall in the summer, the message was clear.

Schultz knew if he came to Philly it would be the seventh defenseman on the depth chart.

Even when blood clots were discovered in Kimmo Timonen’s leg and lungs, the team went out and picked up Michael Del Zotto to play in the top-six. Schultz’s role was unchanged.

What the veteran in his 12th season probably didn’t bank on was being called upon in the Flyers’ second game of the season.

Braydon Coburn got hurt in the season opener, is on crutches and will see a specialist this morning, which could tell the Flyers more about how long they’ll need their extra defenseman to play a larger role.

“That’s not the ideal role for anyone,” said Schultz, a second-round pick of the Minnesota Wild in the 2000 draft. “It’s not a fun position to be in.

“Obviously there’s injury and guys have to be ready to play. I had an opportunity to step up and play. You’ve just got to try and take advantage of it.”

So far, Schultz hasn’t looked really out of place. In his two games this season Schultz has been fine, averaging 19:12 of ice time, his highest since he was with the Edmonton Oilers two seasons ago.

“I thought he played well, moved his feet well, went back for pucks and made the first pass, defended well,” coach Craig Berube said of Schultz before Saturday’s loss to Montreal. “It’s what I expect of him.”