UPDATE: The Courier-Post’s Dave Isaac reports from practice this morning that, if the lines from morning skate are to be trusted, McDonald will slot in on the fourth line next to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde, while Travis Konecny moves up to the top-line spot that Matt Read had been inhabiting for the past few games. So that’s exciting. Original post below.
With Matt Read out for the remainder of this likely-soon-to-be-completed season, the Flyers have made a recall from the minors to fill that vacant spot in the lineup in what we will assume is not an April Fools’ joke:
This is Colin McDonald’s first recall of the season, after getting five regular-season games with the Flyers last year before taking Scott Laughton’s place in the team’s playoff series against the Capitals. McDonald, the captain of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, has 23 goals and 18 assists through 67 games for the Phantoms this year.
The move brings the Flyers to 17 forwards on their current roster, including McDonald and newly-signed Mike Vecchione. Of those 17, Read and Michael Raffl are both out with long-term injuries, as is Nick Cousins, who hasn’t played since March 15 and was cleared to practice a couple of days ago but apparently isn’t ready to return to game action. Vecchione, meanwhile, is expected to get into game action at some point during the next week, but Ron Hextall said on Friday that he did not anticipate playing Vecchione tonight against the Devils.
Still, that leaves 13 supposedly healthy and available forwards for the Flyers to use tonight. McDonald’s being called up likely means that he’ll play over Roman Lyubimov, who also hasn’t played since mid-March but by all accounts has been healthy in that time. But if Cousins is close to being game-ready and Vecchione will be donning the orange and black within the next couple of games, one figures that McDonald may be back with the Phantoms before too long.