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Phil Myers recalled by Flyers

This morning’s trade cleared a space for the Flyers’ top defensive prospect, who banged on the door until the dang hinges came off.

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Philadelphia Flyers v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Hopefully none of us had much going on this fine Saturday morning, because the Flyers are out here trying to keep us busy. About an hour after announcing that Dale Weise and Christian Folin have been traded to Montreal for David Schlemko and Byron Froese, the Flyers announced that they have recalled defenseman Phil Myers — by most accounts the best NHL prospect currently on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms — from the Phantoms, waiving forward Corban Knight in the process.

Highland Park Hockey’s Tony Androckitis reported last night that this call-up was imminent.

Myers played what appears to have been a full game in Friday night’s Phantoms outing, a 5-2 loss to the Utica Comets in upstate New York. If Myers — who the Flyers say is available for today’s game that begins less than an hour from this typing — really is playing on Saturday, he’ll be making his NHL debut within 16 hours of Friday’s game ending, traveling all the way to Philadelphia in the process. Two hockey games within that short a timeframe (with a non-negligible amount of travel sandwiched in between them) is a heavy lift in any circumstance, let alone when a guy is making his debut in hockey’s top league on the tail end of that timeframe.

With that said, the call-up for Myers is certainly deserved if not straight-up overdue. He’s been routinely excellent for the Phantoms, and has taken a step forward in his second pro season after improving steadily throughout his first one last year. Myers has posted nine goals and 20 assists in 29 AHL games this season, and per Brad Keffer’s manually tracked possession numbers, he’s posted a plus-4.04 percent Corsi Relative and a 48.0 percent Corsi For percentage.

In addition to his puck-moving skills, Myers, an undrafted free agent who was signed by Ron Hextall after receiving a training camp invite in the fall of 2015, brings some added size to the Flyers’ blue line. At 6-foot-5, Myers is now the biggest player on the NHL roster (not including Samuel Morin, who hasn’t played yet this season due to injury). He’s also a right-handed shot, something the Flyers only currently have one of (Radko Gudas) on their defense. There’s a lot to like in what Myers brings to the table, and it’s exciting to learn he’ll get a chance down the stretch here to show he belongs in the AHL.

Oh, and if (by chance) Friday night was the last AHL game he’ll ever play, he went out with a bang. Not gonna find many defensemen that can do this, let alone 6-foot-5 defensemen.

Myers was ranked No. 7 in our Winter 25 Under 25 just a couple of weeks ago, and was the top player on the Phantoms in our rankings as well as the top defenseman outside of the NHL team (until now, at least). Over at The Athletic, Corey Pronman ranked Myers as the 25th-best NHL prospect a few weeks ago, ranking him just ahead of Morgan Frost as the best overall prospect on the Flyers.

Today’s trade — which cleared Christian Folin off of the NHL roster, sent Dale Weise out, and brought in two players that figure to be AHL contributors — cleared up space on the NHL roster for Myers. Whether this trade was done now specifically to make room for Myers or whether the timing is coincidental is something we may never know.

Because the timing here is interesting — why call up Myers now, right between a Friday night Phantoms game and a Saturday afternoon Flyers game? There are a number of possibilities. Maybe they just decided it was time and that he’d earned it, and would be an upgrade over someone currently in the top-6. (Robert Hagg has been used as the team’s sixth defenseman for a while now, if we’re taking guesses as to who in the team’s regular defensive top-6 will be the first one to sit for Myers.) Maybe they just watched that goal he had in Friday’s game and decided they needed that guy immediately. Or maybe they didn’t firm up this morning’s trade until last night, and knew that making said trade would give them their a clear chance to call up a guy who deserved it and that they knew was going to get called up soon anyways.

In any case, the Flyers will now get a chance to see what their top remaining defensive prospect can do, and that’s pretty exciting. If Myers can show over the final third or so of this NHL season that he’s good enough to be locked in on the NHL roster next year, that’ll make a big difference for the Flyers as they head into the offseason looking for ways to bounce back from a season that clearly hasn’t gone according to anyone’s plan.