Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Great Scott 4/10

It is entirely conceivable that the line-up card Terry Murray fills out for Friday night's game against Springfield bears the names of 10 rookies, six of whom were in amateur hockey just three weeks ago.

Scott Laughton has joined the Adirondack Phantoms, the team announced Wednesday, and became the latest Philadelphia Flyers prospect to join the professional ranks after his junior season concluded.

Laughton, 18, Philadelphia's first-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, just finished a playoff run with the Oshawa Generals in which he produced 7-6-13 in 13 games. That came on the heels of the most productive regular season of his junior career, during which the center scored 23-33-56 in 49 games.

He also had a five-game audition with the Flyers at the end of the lockout, but was returned to Oshawa so as not to burn a year of his three-year, entry-level contract in the shortened, 48-game season. His time with the Phantoms will not affect when the first year of that contract kicks in.

Laughton joins forwards Kyle Flanagan (St. Lawrence University), Derek Mathers (Peterborough), Brandon Alderson (Sault Ste. Marie) and Nick Cousins (Sault Ste. Marie) and defenseman Mark Alt (University of Minnesota) as the players who have joined Adirondack after becoming AHL-eligible.

All six could theoretically join Marcel Noebels, Ian Slater, Matt Konan and Cal Heeter in the line-up Friday, giving the Phantoms one of their youngest -- if not the youngest -- line-ups in team history.

The only possible hang-up is if Laughton is deemed ineligible for some of Adirondack's games, as he has not finished serving the five-game suspension he was handed for a hit from behind in the OHL playoffs. AHL bylaws require players who are under suspension in another league to have their case reviewed by the AHL President, David Andrews, before they are granted eligibility in the AHL.

Laughton has three games remaining on his suspension. Harry Zolnierczyk had two games of his four-game NHL suspension when the Flyers sent him down earlier this year, and he was not required to sit out any games before he played. But the suspension reviews are done on a case-by-case basis.

Murray had no updates on whether the Phantoms were considering bringing defenseman Colin Suellentrop, Philadelphia's fourth-round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, in on an amateur try-out. Suellentrop was teammates with Laughton in Oshawa, so his junior season has also come to an end. The 19-year-old Florida native produced 5-20-25 in 66 OHL games with the Generals this season.

In a seperate transaction, the Flyers returned Tye McGinn to the Phantoms. He had produced 3-2-5 in 18 games with the Flyers, but had sat out Philadelphia's last two games as a healthy scratch. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren told the team's website there is a chance Daniel Briere, who had missed the past nine games with a concussion, could return to Philadelphia's line-up tomorrow.

That might have knocked McGinn further down the depth chart in Philadelphia, but instead he will go back to being a top-line presence with the Phantoms. He recorded 11 points in seven games in a pseudo-conditioning assignment last month after returning from an orbital bone injury he suffered in the NHL, and went back to creating havoc in front of the opponents' net on Adirondack's power play.

He found chemistry with fellow second-year pros Garrett Roe and Jason Akeson during that stretch. The trio were linemates in McGinn's rookie season, and may possibly be reunited this weekend. Eric Wellwood had played left wing on that line recently, but he is scheduled to undergo a second surgery tomorrow to repair the ligament and tendon damage he suffered in the Bridgeport game Sunday.

In other injury news, Murray said veteran goaltender Scott Munroe will have season-ending surgery to repair cartilage in his knee. Munroe felt some discomfort in the knee at the start of the season, but played through it with the help of a cortisone shot. With Adirondack having three goalies on the roster now, though, the timing is somewhat ideal for Munroe to have the procedure. It should not affect his offseason training regimen, Murray said, and will help him to get back to speed sooner.

Brandon Manning, who left Friday's game with an injury, practiced in a no-contact jersey and felt good. If he feels good at practice tomorrow, Murray said Manning will be able to return this weekend.

Matt Mangene, who played the first period of Saturday's game before he was taken out, did not participate in Tuesday's practice. He had been hit in the back of the head during Adirondack's March 30 game against Binghamton. "He just didn't feel good at the end of the period," Murray said.

More tomorrow.
-- MC


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