Wednesday's Phantoms Practice Update 1/20

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Petr Straka's lower body injury might be more serious than first thought. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
Just when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms started to get healthy, their leading goal-scorer goes on the injured list. According to head coach Scott Gordon after practice today, Petr Straka is going to be out awhile.

Straka had blocked a shot in the third period of January 3rd’s game up in Portland and despite returning the following week for two games, he’s now expected to be out long term. Service Electric TV2 Sports reported between periods during Saturday's game against Hartford that Straka is expected to miss the next four to six weeks.

Straka's injury comes at a crucial time for the Phantoms, who have had trouble scoring goals lately. Before Sunday's 4-1 win over Bridgeport, the Phantoms had tallied just 10 total goals in their previous five games - all losses.

It also handcuffs the lineup decisions Gordon can make down the road as the Phantoms still have nine veteran players on the roster. Forward Aaron Palushaj has sat out the last three games as a healthy veteran scratch while the team has gone with a lineup featuring only 11 forwards, one short of the normal 12.

Laughton Still Waiver Exempt

There has been some confusion lately as to whether or not Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton is eligible for waiver exemption. Bill Meltzer of dug up the CBA explaining the process and it looks like Laughton is still waiver exempt. meaning the Flyers could theoretically send him to Lehigh Valley and not expose him to the waiver wire. 

You can look up the waiver exemption rules in the CBA for yourself. It's under Article 13.4 - Exempt Players on page 71.

It's been a tale of two seasons for Laughton with Philadelphia this season. In 44 games, he has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) to go along with 25 penalty minutes and a minus four rating. 

In his first 17 games, he saw 10 plus minutes of ice time in all but two games - tallying three goals and three assists to start the season. Since then, his usage has tailed off. In his last 27 games, Laughton has only seen more than 10 minutes of ice time six times - tallying one goal and five assists.

Laughton saw a season-low nine shifts Wednesday against Toronto, and it's expected that Jordan Weal is going to play Thursday against Pittsburgh - meaning either Laughton or R.J. Umberger will likely be scratched. The question becomes whether it would be better for Laughton''s development to be playing 7-10 minutes a night in the NHL or 20 plus minutes a night playing in all situations in the AHL.

While a stint in the AHL might be better for Laughton, there's no questioning it would greatly benefit the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. If the Flyers swapped Laughton for Sam Gagner, who GM Ron Hextall has said he would like on the NHL roster, it would greatly help alleviate some of the troubles with the AHL roster - knocking down the list of veterans from nine to eight.

MacDonald, Rosehill Absent From Practice

In addition to injured forwards Kevin Sundher, Michael Parks and Petr Straka, both veterans Jay Rosehill and Andrew MacDonald did not practice today with Lehigh Valley. Head coach Scott Gordon labeled it a day off for MacDonald, while it's expected a similar reason for Rosehill - team officials confirmed he was still on the roster as of Wednesday afternoon.

A new set of forward lines at practice today, while the seven defensemen - Mark Alt, Sam Morin, Robert Hagg, Davis Drewiske, Christian Marti, Max Lamarche and Matt Lashoff - rotated in drills.


Danick Martel - Tim Brent - Cole Bardreau
Chris Conner - Nick Cousins - Aaron Palushaj
Taylor Leier - Sam Gagner - Colin McDonald
Tyrell Goulbourne - Kevin Goumas - Joe Rehkamp


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