If you've been waiting to bust out your No. 47 jersey, wait no more.
Hampus Lindholm will make his eagerly awaited season debut tomorrow night against the Philadelphia Flyers in the opener of a four-game road trip out East. The 23-year-old defenseman went through another rigorous practice earlier today at Wells Fargo Center and says he's raring to go.
"The [medical] staff and everyone around me has helped me a lot," Lindholm said. "They've done a good job because I'm ahead of schedule. I feel strong. I'm ready to get out there."
Nothing mimics the pace, physicality and demands of an actual game, but Lindholm has been skating daily since training camp. Therefore, expect to see the former sixth overall pick of 2012 handle his usual workload.
"He's going to play," Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said to Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register. "It's going to depend on the game, but I would suspect he'll get his 20-plus minutes. We won't be saving him."
His debut comes at a time when the Ducks need him the most. They will be without their minutes-played leader, Cam Fowler, for an unspecified amount of time after he suffered a knee injury on Friday against the Montreal Canadiens. Carlyle says Fowler will have a reassessment on Thursday. "He'll see [Dr.] Orr [Limpisvasti, Medical Director, Orthopedic Surgeon]," Carlyle said. "There will be more of a determination. They have to wait until the swelling goes down."
Line combinations, specifically on the blueline, could become clear tomorrow when the team takes part in its pregame skate at the arena. Lindholm could be reunited with his familiar d-partner Josh Manson, or see time alongside Brandon Montour or Kevin Bieksa.
Manson did not take part in practice today because he came down with a case of the flu last night, but Carlyle says he expects the rugged defenseman to play tomorrow.
Carlyle also said Ryan Getzlaf will play tomorrow, but defenseman Sami Vatanen will not. Vatanen could make his season debut on this trip, but only time will tell.
The Ducks announced earlier today that they recalled forward Kalle Kossila from the San Diego Gulls. Kossila, who has six points (2g/4a) in five AHL games this season, leads the Gulls in scoring, co-leads in assists and ranks second in goals.
"He's been their best player," Carlyle said, on Kossila's impact in San Diego. "We're trying to find ways to get four lines that we think can skate and play with the way the pace is going to be on this road trip. That's the reality of it. With Getzlaf coming back into the lineup, if Grant can continue to make a contribution with Ritchie and [Kase], Vermette's a veteran guy who can slide in. We can move Ricky [Rakell] out of the middle and we have a fourth line of Wagner, Kossila and Shaw. That gives us a different look."
In other words, the forward line combinations tomorrow could look like this: