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Ellis reinjures himself, out week-to-week

The Flyers’ top defenseman returned for one single game, and then got hurt again.

Boston Bruins v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Philadelphia Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault announced on Monday that defenseman Ryan Ellis suffered another injury during Saturday’s game against the Dallas Stars, and he is now considered week-to-week. This is what we get for hoping his return to the lineup would lead to good things.

Ellis was dealing with a nagging lower-body injury after appearing in the Flyers’ first three games of the season. He was unable to appear in any until Saturday, and after 18 minutes and 45 seconds of ice-time (significantly lower than his other games), the 30-year-old blueliner is out of the lineup once again.

Considering that Ellis was considered day-to-day for over a week, there is certainly something worrisome going on, if we were to do any guesswork on his injury troubles.

While he remained out, Justin Braun has stepped up from his projected depth role and has found a relatively pleasant home next to Ivan Provorov on the top pairing. It might not be the most reliable option long-term — see Derick Brassard as the second-line center as well — but it’s getting the job done for now. The only concern is if the veteran blueliner can keep it up now that Ellis is going to be off the ice for a much lengthier period of time.

Ellis (when he’s on the ice) was given top billing during an off-season where GM Chuck Fletcher significantly turned over the blue line. During those first three games, the difference in mobility from the back was extremely apparent and we were caught dreaming of division titles and playoff victories with the diminutive two-way defender leading the way. Now without their pseudo top defenseman, the Flyers have been a surprising 5-3-1, just skirting along the way and outperforming any percentages that has them towards the bottom of the league.

They might not be so lucky in their upcoming schedule. After suffering a loss to the Stars, the Flyers are going to be in tough for the rest of the month. Philadelphia will have to face: The surprisingly dominant Calgary Flames, the three-peat contender Tampa Bay Lightning (twice), the very good Florida Panthers, the Boston Bruins, and the division-leading Carolina Hurricanes — and then of course they host the Lightning again before playing the Colorado Avalanche in early December. Not a great couple of weeks to have one of your best players go down!