It hasn't exactly been a great start for the Philadelphia Flyers. The club is 0-3 to open the season, they managed to incur the first Shanaban of 2013, and now it appears they're going to be without Scott Hartnell for quite awhile. Maybe as long as two months.
Hartnell was announced out indefinitely after a Kimmo Timonen shot hit him in the skate Tuesday night versus New Jersey. But, after going for tests, the team was able to be a little more specific with Hartnell's injury and recovery time: it's a broken left metatarsal, and Hartell will miss 4-8 weeks.
Flyers fans will have to hope and pray that Hartnell's return comes sooner rather than later. It goes without saying that missing Hartnell for the full eight is pretty much a worst-case scenario the Flyers in this condensed schedule. Eight weeks from now, the club will be preparing to play game 24 of 48, and needless to say, playing half the season without your top goal-scorer from 2011-12 is going to make success a little harder to come by.
Paul Holmgren is still trying to formulate a plan for dealing with this, but if there's any question of whether he'll explore the trade market, well, you don't know Paul Holmgren. Of course he will. From NHL.com:
"Right now we're trying to decide, talking to the doctor, what the best way to proceed is as far as how to approach this," Holmgren said before the Flyers' game against the New York Rangers. "I can't give you a time frame. It's probably going to be between four to eight weeks. … Obviously it's a significant injury."
[...] Holmgren said a trade is an option, saying he's "looking around."
But really, when isn't Holmgren looking around?
The issue now is that, if he tries to make a deal, he's dealing from a position of desperation. Holmgren needs to acquire a goal-scorer to plug the hole in his forward corps, but he also needs to upgrade his blueline and fix that question mark in goal.
That's a lot to address on the trade market. Granted, Holmgren is basically insane, so we're sure he'll have it worked out by the weekend.
Update: How about through free agency? Holmgren's plan appears to be to give NHL veteran Mike Knuble another tour of duty in the orange and black. The signing has yet to be announced, but Knuble's brother and sister-in-law have already expressed their congratulations on Facebook, and Katie Carrera of the Washington Post says it's all but official.
It's a good, low-risk pickup for the Flyers. If Knuble can find his form from a few years ago, he'll be a nice band-aid during Hartnell's absence. If he can't, the Flyers are only in the same boat they're already in.