Flyers Notes: Joel Farabee Cleared for Contact, Possible for Opener
In less than a week, the Flyers will be on the ice for their season opener against the New Jersey Devils. In the next 48 hours, they will have to make the final roster decisions ahead of the NHL’s 5 p.m. Monday deadline.
Several things have not gone according to plan in the weeks leading up to the season. Numerous injuries have created more roster battles and left the team without some key pieces for the duration of the preseason. One player who was thought to be out for at least the first couple of months may now be in the opening night lineup after all.
Joel Farabee had neck surgery in June, the same surgery that Jack Eichel underwent last season. The best case scenario was a three-to-four month recovery, which lined up with mid-October, but the belief was that Farabee would be a bit behind getting into game shape and miss a few weeks of the regular season as well.
Instead, Farabee has been practicing regularly since training camp began, but wasn’t cleared for contact. That was until his most recent visit with doctors on Thursday, when he was given clearance to take contact again. Now the next goal is preparing for the possibility of being in the lineup on Thursday.
While nothing is guaranteed, the possibility exists. Head coach John Tortorella said that Farabee is not behind in his conditioning compared to teammates that were able to fully participate in camp drills.
“He’s good to go. That’s really good news,” Tortorella said. “I think he plays hard. He just carries himself the right way.”
The Flyers also placed two more players on waivers, bringing the training camp roster to 32. Defenseman Kevin Connauton and goalie Troy Grosenick will head to the minors if they clear on Saturday.
That provides even more clarity into the final roster picture. With Connauton being waived, that leaves eight healthy defensemen on the training camp roster. Tortorella said the top four defensemen are pretty well set, but there’s still two spots up for grabs between Justin Braun, Nick Seeler, Ronnie Attard, and Egor Zamula.
By waiving Grosenick, the Flyers are left with three goalies in camp. Carter Hart seems poised to be ready for opening night now, and while Samuel Ersson is still around, Felix Sandstrom could also be nearing a return to be on the opening night roster as well.
The Flyers still have 20 forwards listed on the camp roster, but multiple players are dealing with injury, including Sean Couturier, Patrick Brown, Bobby Brink, and camp invite Artem Anisimov.
The team has Saturday off, then will practice on Sunday morning before presumably making the final roster decisions over the 24 hours that follow. Then it’s on to the final few days before the season begins.
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