Wellwood had three goals and one assist in his first 11 games with the Phantoms. He saw action in two Flyers preseason games, contributing one assist.
Last night, he took Nodl's place on a line with Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk. He played 13:47 and took a team-high six shots.
"He has a lot of speed," coach Peter Laviolette said. "I remember an opportunity where he got to play some minutes - it was in Toronto - and he did real good. He's able to generate offense. He's a smart player. I think his speed is an advantage. It should help our game."
Wellwood was a Flyers' sixth-round pick in 2009. He played on the OHL's Windsor Spitfires last season, on a line with No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall, who now plays for the Edmonton Oilers. That helped his exposure.
So did his last name. His older brother, Kyle Wellwood, played five full seasons in the NHL. Despite posting 25 points last season in Vancouver, Kyle could not hang on with the Phoenix Coyotes through training camp. He is playing for Mytischi Atlant in Russia's KHL this year.
For Eric, even advice from his older brother, who has skated miles in his shoes, couldn't help prepare him for the excitement surrounding last night.
"I talked to my brother and a couple of agents, and they told me what to expect," Wellwood said. "I feel pretty prepared. I think it's not going to be the same as my past experiences. The [preseason] is a different game. I know what to expect in how to prepare, but I don't know what the game is going to be like."
Danny Briere said he was "shocked" to be suspended three games by the NHL yesterday for his crosscheck to the face of Frans Nielsen late in Saturday night's 6-1 win over the Islanders. Briere said he raised his stick toward Nielsen in self-defense.
"After everything else, all of the suspensions that have been handed out the last couple of years and this year, honestly, I didn't think I was going to get a game," Briere said. "Then I thought, OK, yes, I am a repeat offender, they'll probably give me a game because of it. I'm shocked that it was more than a game."
This is Briere's third career suspension. That classifies him as a repeat offender in the league's eyes, which is why he was forced to forfeit $237,804.37 of his salary to the NHL Players Association's emergency assistance fund. If it was his first offense, Briere would have paid only $104,838.71, as his $6.5 million salary would be divided by days in the season (186) instead of games (82).
Eric Wellwood was not the only player to make his NHL debut last night at the Wells Fargo Center. For Carolina Hurricanes forward Jon Matsumoto, it was only fitting that his debut came against the Flyers - the team that never gave him a chance.
Matsumoto, a Flyers' third-round pick in 2006, led the Phantoms in scoring last season by a margin of 16 points. Two seasons ago, he finished second in team scoring.
The Flyers moved his rights to Carolina at the NHL draft in June, where he signed a 2-year, two-way deal with the Hurricanes. Carolina recalled him from AHL Charlotte on Sunday night after he posted three goals and six assists in 10 games.
Matsumoto said it was a "relief" to be traded in the summer.
"It was nice going to a team that actually wanted me," Matsumoto said.
Matsumoto said he was pumped up to play Adirondack 2 weeks ago. Words, he said, couldn't describe how he felt last night.
Andrej Meszaros missed last night's game with a "slight concussion," according to general manager Paul Holmgren. Oskars Bartulis, who was recalled early from a conditioning assignment in Adirondack, took his place in the lineup . . . Andreas Nodl remains a possibility for Thursday night's game against the Rangers. He is out with a shoulder injury . . . Nik Zherdev returned to the lineup, with Danny Briere and Nodl out, after missing the previous two games as a healthy scratch. *
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