Travis Sanheim’s late Friday call-up under emergency conditions meant that at least two Flyers defensemen were injured. Today, prior to the team’s game against Winnipeg, we learned who those two defensemen were:
Robert Hagg will be out 2 weeks with a lower-body injury and Johnny Oduya is out of today's game with a lower-body injury and is considered day-to-day. https://t.co/UyrovTz26N— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 10, 2018
Oduya being one of the injured defensemen was somewhat expected. In his only appearance so far with the Flyers — last Sunday against Florida, where he played in place of an injured Andrew MacDonald — Oduya played just nine seconds in the third period. Though he was reportedly at Friday’s optional practice, something seems to be ailing him to the point where he can’t play for the team right now.
Hagg’s injury is a bit tougher of a nut to crack, though David Strehle from The Fourth Period noted that he did look a bit shaken up after blocking a shot on Thursday night in Boston. In any case, it’s serious enough for the Flyers to already say that they’re prepared to sit him down for about two weeks. These will be the first NHL games Robert Hagg has missed since earning a spot with the Flyers in October.
When Oduya is deemed healthy, the Flyers will either have to send Sanheim back to Lehigh Valley or make some other sort of move with a defensemen. The “day-to-day” designation is vague enough that the team could realistically extend it for as long as they’d want to kick the can down the road on a decision.
So if Oduya gets healthy before Hagg, what will the Flyers do? On the one hand, our guess is that Ron Hextall would prefer to have Sanheim up and playing with the Flyers, all else equal. He’s spoken out in support of Sanheim on multiple occasions and seemed to never really want to send him down in the first place. On the other hand, Hextall’s also spoken about how the team would pick certain players for injury replacements based on “fit” and on-ice roles. Hagg, who could reasonably be called a defensively-oriented defenseman, is probably better replaced stylistically by Oduya than by Sanheim, so the coaching staff and front office will have to decide whether they want to stick with fit or go with the best possible player. (Our vote is for the best player.)
Until then, though, Travis Sanheim will have at least one game with the Flyers. We’ll see how Oduya’s doing before Monday’s game against Vegas.