UPDATE: Courtesy of Bill Meltzer, who sometimes writes for the Flyers’ website and as such is likely in a position to know these things, Stolarz’s initial surgery in April was not to repair an MCL tear in his right knee, contrary to a report from The Inquirer at the time. While Meltzer does not confirm that it was Stolarz’s left knee that was operated on, he implies as much by referring to Phantoms/AHL writer Tony Androckitis, whose Highland Park Hockey report from April 12th mentions that Stolarz wasn’t able to put any weight on his left leg.
Per Flyers, Stolarz injury in April was NOT to MCL contrary to media reports at time.— Bill Meltzer (@billmeltzer) September 8, 2017
Per @TonyAndrock, the April injury to Stolarz was also the left knee.— Bill Meltzer (@billmeltzer) September 8, 2017
And as it turns out, Tim Panaccio — then of CSN Philly — mentioned back in April that Stolarz underwent surgery on his left meniscus.
Phantoms playoffs start tonight. No Stolarz (meniscus surgery/left knee) for 4 months. Lyon takes load.— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchUFA) April 21, 2017
Which, if true, would mean that Stolarz has now had the same meniscus in his left knee operated on twice in a five-month period. Not great.
Original (and slightly modified) story below.
Some surprising and unfortunate news comes this Friday afternoon, a week before the Flyers are set to begin training camp:
G Anthony Stolarz underwent surgery on his left knee yesterday to repair a meniscus tear. He’ll be out indefinitely: https://t.co/lgbefT9SY4— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) September 8, 2017
Stolarz is already coming off of an MCL tear in his right knee, as was reported at the time by The Inquirer , that he suffered in April of last season. That injury kept him out of the Calder Cup Playoffs, but figured to have him back and ready for training camp. This time around, he’ll be undergoing surgery on his left knee, so it would appear this isn’t a case of re-aggravating an old injury.
Still, it’s a tough break for Stolarz and one that couldn’t have come at a much worse time. This year figured to be a big season for Stolarz, who is on a one-year contract and is entering his fourth season with the Phantoms. He figured to have the upper hand on the goalie competition going on there with Alex Lyon. But with Carter Hart and Felix Sandstrom both potentially looking to join the North American pro ranks next year, both Stolarz and Lyon will need to be on their games this season.
Obviously, it will be difficult for Stolarz to do that for the forseeable future, since he will not be on the ice for a while. Meniscus tears can vary widely in severity and recovery time, so it’s anyone’s guess how long of a time “indefinitely” will be, but the fact that the injury needed surgery is surely not a good sign.
And not only does this hurt Stolarz and the Phantoms, it’s also a tough break for the Flyers. Stolarz looked good in limited action last season, and he figured to be the team’s first call-up option — a crucial position for a player to hold given Michal Neuvirth’s propensity to get injured. That honor probably goes to Lyon for the time being, and while the team likes and seems to trust him, the stakes of a potential injury to one of the Flyers’ two NHL-level goalies just got a bit higher.
In the meantime, Lyon will likely take the reins in Allentown, while Leland Irving — who the team signed to an AHL deal last week — figures to back him up until Stolarz is healthy, whenever that may be.
The full text of the Flyers’ release on Stolarz can be seen below:
The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that goaltender Anthony Stolarz underwent surgery on his left knee to repair a meniscus tear on Thursday, Sept. 7, according to General Manager Ron Hextall. He will be out indefinitely.
Stolarz spent the summer rehabbing at the Flyers practice facility after he suffered an injury at the end of the club's American Hockey League affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, season on the night that they qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs.
Selected by the Flyers in the second round (45th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Stolarz recently completed his third pro season with the organization.
He made his NHL debut with the Flyers last season, on Nov. 27, 2016, where he earned his first career win in a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames after he stopped 29 of 32 shots.
In his second career NHL start, on Dec. 11, 2016, he stopped all 28 shots he faced to give the Flyers a 1-0 overtime win at Detroit for his first NHL shutout. The game was also the Flyers final game at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena.
He appeared in seven total games for the Flyers in 2016-17 where he recorded a 2-1-1 mark to go along with a 2.07 GAA and .928 save percentage. Following the season, Stolarz was the goaltender they chose to protect in the 2017 Expansion Draft for the Vegas Golden Knights.
He also spent time with the Phantoms, where he recorded a 18-9-0 record with a 2.92 GAA and .911 save percentage in 2016-17.
In 2015-16, he was named to 2016 AHL All-Star Classic for the club's AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
In major junior hockey, he was the starting goaltender for the London Knights of the OHL in back-to-back Memorial Cup appearances (2013 & 2014), which also included winning the OHL Championship in 2013.