Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall announced this morning that Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds and goaltender Michael Neuvirth will both be out of the team’s lineup long-term. Officially, Simmonds is out 2-3 weeks with an upper-body injury, while Neuvirth will be sidelined 4-6 weeks with a lower-body injury.
Ouch. That hurts.
Of course, the news comes just 12 hours after the Flyers swung a deal to land former Detroit Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek, which was a pretty clear indication that Neuvirth would be out long-term.
Mrazek was acquired late last night in exchange for two conditional draft picks. Not bad for a 26-year-old potential #1 goalie. The Czech native has an mediocre stat line this season, but that's mostly due to playing behind a dreadful Red Wings defense. His 2.89 GAA and .910 save percentage should improve as a member of the Flyers.
Neuvirth, of course, joins Flyers starter Brian Elliott on the injured reserve. He’ll be out at least another five weeks as he recovers from abdominal surgery. This means that Mrazek will almost certainly be handed the reigns to take over the starting position for the Flyers during the stretch drive. If he performs well it's not out of the question to assume that he could play during the playoffs. But first... the Flyers have to qualify for the playoffs and that won't be easy without the services of Simmonds.
The 29-year-old power forward has officially put together his 5th consecutive 20+ goal season with 20 goals and 37 points in 59 games so far this season. While his production has taken a dip this season, mostly as a result of playing on a line without either Jakub Voracek or Claude Giroux, he's still one of the Flyers' most valuable forwards. It's no coincidence that youngster Travis Konecny has taken off since joining Simmonds on a line.