It’s a good bet, that as General Manager Paul Holmgren refined the Flyers roster in the week leading up to the trade deadline, the names that came into town didn’t inspire much in the way of excitement.
There is Kent Huskins, a healthy scratch for a month wasting away on the Detroit Red Wings roster. The Wings had such little use for Huskins that they all but gave him away to the Flyers, only getting a 7th round pick if he re-signs with the Flyers in the offseason.
There is Adam Hall, who was getting so used to the scrap heap that he went from Tampa Bay, to Carolina, back to Tampa Bay and then to the Flyers all in less than a month, hitting the waiver wire a couple times in the process.
Then there’s Oliver Lauridsen, a defenseman with the Phantoms who wasn’t really on the NHL radar, but thanks to a boatload of injuries on the blue line, was called into duty, leapfrogging three players on his own Phantoms team who all had NHL experience.
And finally there is Jay Rosehill. Known more for his fists than anything else, the tough guy had spent the entire season in the AHL and hadn’t scored a goal in more than two years.
These weren’t exactly the kind of transactions that garner headlines, but if you consider the role they’ve played in this late-season surge for the Flyers that has seen four consecutive wins and points in five straight games, and six-out-of-the-last-seven, maybe they deserved a little more spotlight.
Huskins may have had the quietest impact, but certainly has been a calming influence.
With a defense so riddled with injury, a veteran presence was what was needed to provide a calming influence.
It’s safe to say that if you scoured the league looking for that kind of player, Huskins probably wouldn’t have jumped off the page. And yet, he’s been up to the task.
Also on defense, Lauridsen has yet to lose in the NHL, being a part of wins in each of his four games in the NHL.
A big defenseman, Lauridsen has not looked out of place at all for the Flyers. He has taken a few penalties – which is pretty customary for a defenseman making his first appearance in the league and trying to adjust to the speed of the game, but the Flyers coaches aren’t bashful about using him at all.
He’s actually skated 17 minutes in two of the four games and has taken 74 total shifts, an average of 19 per game.
Hall played his first game Thursday in Toronto and had an immediate impact as a replacement for Max Talbot, who is out for the year with a broken leg.
Hall jumped right onto the fourth line with Rosehill and Sean Couturier and landed a big check on Joffrey Lupul that knocked the Maple Leafs star forward out of the game with a head injury.
He was also a key cog in killing off both Toronto power plays while his physicality opened up room for Couturier, who continues to play better with each game, picking up a pair of assists in the win over the Leafs.
As for Rosehill…
Sure he did his part in patrolling the ice and protecting his best players, even getting into a scrap with his one-time mentor in Toronto Colton Orr.
But he also forced a turnover with his physical play that resulted in a goal on a shot by Couturier that bounced off Rosehill’s pants and into the net marking his first goal since February, 2011.
Coach Peter Laviolette didn’t want to show too much emotion with the media about his new charges after the win, because it’s such a small sample size after all, but he did offer this about their work ethic:
“The new guys who came in tonight were terrific in that regard,” he said.
Hey, it’s a start.
Meanwhile the Flyers are ever-closer to a playoff spot, now just two points out with the schedule beginning to work in their favor – but they are going to have to continue to play at the level they have in these past four games if they’re going to complete an unexpected comeback and make the postseason.
And if they are, it’s a good bet that these four players – an unlikely quartet if there ever was one – are going to have a decent-sized part in it.
No one in Vegas would have laid those odds a week ago.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37