Flyers Notes: Flyers defense leaning on Luke Schenn, Gustafsson

Posted: April 20, 2013

Something positive in the wake of the Flyers' rash of injuries to their defensive corps: Luke Schenn has emerged as arguably the team's top blue-liner in the last month, and Erik Gustafsson has blossomed into a steady, dependable player.

Schenn, 23, has been a workhorse lately, playing 56 minutes, 30 seconds over his two previous games before Thursday's matchup against New Jersey.

For the season, Schenn is averaging 21:36 a game, second among the Flyers left standing, behind only Kimmo Timonen (21:38). He entered Thursday leading the Flyers with 159 hits (tops among NHL defensemen) and 93 blocked shots (14th in the NHL).

"It's unfortunate the injuries we've had, but that means a little more opportunity, a little more ice time, which any player will tell you they love," Schenn said after Thursday's morning skate. "You just get into a groove and into a rhythm a little more."

The Flyers are without injured defensemen Braydon Coburn, Nick Grossmann, Andrej Meszaros, Bruno Gervais, and Kent Huskins. The injuries have also given Gustafsson more minutes. Going into Thursday, he had played 24:21, 24:35, and 23:15 in each of the last three games, the three highest time logs in his career. He was a combined plus-4 in those games.

Gustafsson, 24, has played in parts of two seasons with the Flyers and the AHL's Phantoms.

Gagne wants to stay

Simon Gagne, 33, who can become an unrestricted free agent after the season, said he wants to finish his career with the Flyers. He has a $3.5 million salary-cap hit this year, and figures to sign for less next season.


Timonen was named the Flyers' Masterton Memorial Trophy nominee by the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The award is given for perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

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