With Vinny Lecavalier out of the lineup for the next two weeks, an opportunity arises for a few players on the roster.
Enter Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.
Bellemare was bumped up on a line centering Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds at practice on Monday after spending his first three games on the Flyers fourth line with Zac Rinaldo and Jason Akeson.
“It’s not so fun for a team to get a player such as Vinny hurt. It’s unfortunate, but I’m happy that the coach put me in this position to try to cover for him,” said Bellemare. “I’m not really here to show [what I can do], I just want to help the team. We need those two points tomorrow so I’m just going to try and play a good hockey game.”
Bellemare was one of the first moves made by general manager Ron Hextall when he took over the helm this summer. He signed the 29-year-old to an NHL contract on June 11.
He battled a brief injury in the preseason after just one game, but rebounded to play the final three games where he posted an assist and a plus-1 rating.
“He’s really smart. He’s rarely in a bad position,” said Flyers captain Claude Giroux. “Just the way he plays the game, he plays the right way and for him to come into a new league it’s always tough. It’s a smaller rink too and for him to adjust like that, that’s pretty good.”
Bellemare’s new linemate during today’s practice also sees the potential chemistry that could develop.
“He’s played great. He’s a really hard-working guy and you can tell he’s intelligent,” said Simmonds. “He makes a lot of smart plays out there and he’s been good for us - really good.”
With Bellemare’s move, Blair Jones could enter the line-up on Tuesday when the Flyers take on the Ducks.
Jones turned heads at the team’s training camp after signing a one-year, two-way contract on July 1 of this year. He appeared in five out of a possible seven preseason games, recording four points, all assists, and a plus-3 rating.
“Obviously we want to win to get that out of the way, but I think it’s too early to start squeezing the stick too tight,” said Jones. “I’m just going to try and keep it simple early on.”
Jones is no stranger to NHL play. He has 128 games of experience over seven NHL seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning (2006-2011) and Calgary Flames (2011-2014).
Flyers GM Ron Hextall also upgraded defenseman Braydon Coburn’s condition today. Coburn is now listed as day-to-day with his lower-body injury.
Coburn missed the last two games after suffering an injury on opening night at Boston on Oct. 8. He has not skated since and did not participate in practice today with the team.