Flyers' Jeff Carter Out 3 to 4 Weeks With A Broken Foot

Anthony SanFilippo reported, and the Flyers' official website confirms, that Jeff Carter will miss three-to-four weeks with a broken foot.

Honestly, this is just a shock right now.  The impact this will have on the team will surely be steep, since Carter is the Flyers' leading goal scorer.  Any talk of who - if anybody - will be recalled would be pure speculation. 

But we've never been shy about starting rumors.  If the team decides to recall somebody, it would logically be a center.  (Yes, Giroux, Briere, or Powe can play center.)  If that's the case, calling up Jared Ross would be the most likely scenario.  But with Carter out a month, why not call up Jonathan Matsumoto?

There will be more to come, including an analysis of any potential move, but right now this news needs to process.

UPDATE 3:15 PM: Tim Panaccio is reporting that the bone Carter broke is a "non-weight-bearing bone".

While it hasn't completely sank in that the Flyers will be without, arguably, their best forward, it's time to look at him and any potential roster/line shakeups.

Jump for that.

First, the Flyers are likely losing Jeff Carter for the rest of the season.


Jeff Carter

#17 / Center / Philadelphia Flyers

6-3

200

Jan 01, 1985



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG SOG PCT FO%
2009 - Jeff Carter 72 33 27 60 3 38 11 2 6 310 10.6 52.2


Clearly, the Flyers are losing a lot.  Carter leads the team in goals, points, and faceoff percentage.  Simply put, the team cannot replace him.  What the team will have to do, however, is adjust.  One good thing about the Flyers depth at center is that when one goes down, another could easily shift over.  The problem, though, is that the Flyers don't have one guy who does what Carter does.

To make up for Carter's goals, either Danny Briere or Claude Giroux could take more of a shoot-first attitude.  Briere already takes a ton of shots (third most on the team), so maybe Giroux can shoot more.  But even with this adjustment, neither Briere nor Giroux have Carter's shooting ability.

Moving to faceoffs, Carter not only led the team in percentage but he also led the team in faceoffs taken.  Giroux has taken less than half as many draws as Carter, and he is only at 49.5% for the year.  While that's not bad, the team is suddenly lacking their best faceoff man.  While Briere is decent at faceoffs, the last time he had more than 200 draws in a year was 2007-2008, where he won 50.5% of his 1250 taken.

While the team will likely have to rely on Danny Briere and Claude Giroux to pick up Carter's production, it's quite difficult to pick just one guy who can step in.  No matter who it is (Briere, Giroux, Richards, Gagne, van Riemsdyk, or someone else), someone on this team suddenly needs to start putting the puck in the net more.

Possible Line Juggling

More speculation:  The Flyers could conceivably just insert Ville Leino in the lineup and start juggling the lines, without the need to call up a center.  If that happens, the team suddenly lacks scoring depth.  Here's one way the lines could look:

Gagne - Richards - Briere
Hartnell - Giroux - Leino
Carcillo - Betts - Laperriere
van Riemsdyk - Powe - Asham

But does that lineup scare anyone?  No, no it doesn't.  Obviously, the top two lines have some pretty interchangeable parts (swap Briere with anyone on the second line), but the team is suddenly weak offensively.

Because that team up there doesn't scare anyone, why not bring someone up and try something different?

Possible Roster Shuffling

Obviously, the Flyers love calling up guys with previous NHL experience.  They also prefer the guys who can play a specific role with the big club.  This narrows down the potential candidates, and let's just speculate:  Jared Ross, Andreas Nodl, David Laliberte, Mika Pyorala, and (the guy who does not fit the description at all) Jonathan Matsumoto. 

First, let's just say it is unlikely the Flyers call somebody up to play while keeping Ville Leino in the press box.  Like we said, this is pure speculation.  Let's start with Jared Ross.  Calling up Ross allows for the team to add pivot with NHL experience, who is used to a lesser role.  He fits the description. 


Jared Ross

#42 / Center / Philadelphia Flyers

5-9

165

Sep 02, 1982


The AHL does not keep faceoff stats, but in last year's playoffs, Ross won 50% of the 28 draws he took.  He may not be as good as Jeff Carter, but only Danny Briere had a higher FO% during last year's loss to the Penguins.  If nothing else, he wouldn't embarrass himself in the faceoff circle.

Assuming any call-up would keep Ville Leino off the ice (which is by no means a guarantee or desirable), it's likely that Richards, Giroux, Betts, and Ross are centering the lines.  This would likely result in:

Gagne - Richards - Carcillo
Hartnell - Giroux - Briere
Powe - Betts - Laperriere
van Riemsdyk - Ross - Asham

That isn't really any better, but you could then easily scratch Powe, play Leino, and have Asham, Betts, Laperriere.  In that case, I like that roster better, but then all you're doing is calling up Jared Ross to replace Darroll Powe, so is it really that much better?  Eh, maybe slightly better faceoff percentage, but we can't really be sure.  This one is a toss-up.


8473444_medium

Jonathan Matsumoto

#50 / Center / Philadelphia Flyers

5-11 

190

Oct 13, 1986


Somebody who doesn't fit the required description (previous NHL experience, ability to take on a lesser role) but should be given a look, is Jon Matsumoto.  During the last radio show, we talked with Tim McManus who predicted Matsumoto to be fed up with the organization if he doesn't get a chance to play in the NHL soon.  Since he'll be an RFA at season's end, now seems as good a time as any to give him his shot and see what he can do.

Matsumoto has back-to-back 50 point seasons in the AHL, and is in the middle of his third full season with the Phantoms.  Needless to say, there isn't much left for Matsumoto to prove in the AHL.  He has three straight 20 goal seasons, so he can clearly score as well as dish the puck.  With a lack of stats available from the AHL - no time on ice or faceoff statistics, let alone quality of competition and quality of teammates - the only thing to go off of are points and plus/minus.  But Matsumoto's minus-16 (worst among Phantoms forwards) is probably a big deterrent to giving him a call-up.

Despite this, Carter brought goals, points, faceoffs, and average-to-above average defense to the table.  Ross brings faceoffs and defense, Matsumoto brings goals and points.  Since he never played in the NHL, we don't know if he brings faceoffs.  If it came down to Ross or Matsumoto, why not bring up Matsumoto and see what he can do?

Gagne - Richards - Carcillo
Hartnell - Giroux - Briere
Asham - Betts - Laperriere
van Riemsdyk - Matsumoto - Leino

That team looks a lot better than any of the previous ones, but it still isn't great.

 


Andreas Nodl

#15 / Right Wing / Philadelphia Flyers

6-1

196

Feb 28, 1987


As everything with Andreas Nodl is always perplexing and frustrating, calling him up would be as well.  He was expected to be a scorer, but that is no longer the expectation.  Maybe he could surprise and find a knack for scoring.  But let's not get crazy.  Calling up Nodl would be to fill a defensive role.  Now, that isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Nodl would allow for the team to stack their top two lines and then go with two defensively responsible lines, looking something like this:

Gagne - Richards - Briere
van Riemsdyk - Giroux - Hartnell
Carcillo - Betts - Laperriere
Asham - Powe - Nodl

Even typing these lines up makes me want to give up.  That right there is a poorly constructed team.  Nothing against Nodl - he can be a solid defensive forward - but with JVR slumping again, he should not be promoted (and burdened with more responsibility and tougher opponents) hoping that he snaps out of it.  Even shifting them around - Carcillo with Gagne and Richards, and Asham with Betts and Laperriere - to create a JVR - Powe - Nodl line puts a pretty big hole in the roster.  That line would be a coin-flip every time they step on the ice.  Unfortunately, Andreas Nodl can't help this team right now.


8475381_mediumMika Pyorala

#27 / Center / Philadelphia Flyers

6-0 

190

Jul 13, 1981


The best winger the team could bring up is the one they started the year with - Mika Pyorala.  Not only is he the best player among Nodl, Laliberte, and Legein, he can also play center.  This added flexibility would be huge if the team opts to play Leino as well.  Personally, if the team calls anybody up, I hope for it to be either Matsumoto or Pyorala.

While Pyorala struggled to score at the NHL level, he maintained his solid defensive play.  When he went down to the Phantoms, he has promptly added 17 points in 26 games while being a plus-9.  As mentioned in the radio show, the Phantoms can't score and can't play defense.  Pyorala is the only one in the positive on that team, and he is one of the few who have scored. 

This may be the best lineup we've seen:

Gagne - Richards - Carcillo
Hartnell - Giroux - Briere
Asham - Betts - Laperriere
van Riemsdyk - Pyorala - Leino

Doesn't that team look a lot better than what they currently have?  (Apologies to Darroll Powe, of whom we are fans of).


David Laliberte

#9 / Right Wing / Philadelphia Flyers

6-1

194

Mar 17, 1986


Unfortunately, David Laliberte would be the exact same scenario as Nodl - he can't help out on the top lines better than Leino, and he isn't as defensively responsible as Nodl.  There isn't much to say, besides that if the team recalls a pure winger, they would have to break the mold and bring up a guy like Stefan Legein and not Nodl or Laliberte.


Stefan Legein

#10 / Right Wing / Philadelphia Flyers

5-9

170

Nov 24, 1988


While Legein is probably a long-shot, he would probably be the best option to replace Carter's goal-scoring.  Legein is the typically streaky scorer (just like Carter) who is leading the Phantoms with 26 goals.  He has gone on multiple cold streaks and a few hot streaks, so if the team wants to replace their goal-scoring, Legein would probably be the guy.  But he's a minus-12, so adding goals while giving them up might not be the best idea.

Conclusion

If the team decides to recall a player from the Phantoms and insert them into the lineup - which is probably a long-shot - Mika Pyorala not only fits the mold of previous call-ups, he also adds flexibility, offense, and defense to the team.  He would be the best recall. 

Alternatively, Jonathan Matsumoto should get his first NHL action, as he provides more of an offensive-first game.  What do you think?

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