Flyers lose Matt Read for six weeks with rib injury

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Flyers lose Matt Read for six weeks with rib injury

Flyers forward Matt Read has torn rib cage muscles and will miss six weeks, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.

Read was hit pretty hard by the Penguins' Chris Kunitz with 3:24 left in the first period of Wednesday’s 6-5 victory over Pittsburgh.

Speculation among those in the dressing room was that he had been concussed since it was a hard, open-ice hit.

Read had been performing well since moving to Claude Giroux’s top line with two goals and four points in five games. Overall, he had seven goals and 13 points in 18 games played.

He had four goals this season against the Florida Panthers, who played the Flyers on Thursday night.

Holmgren also said that Scott Hartnell (foot) is still out a week, while defensmen Andrej Meszaros (shoulder) saw a team doctor and has been cleared for “limited” practice. He is expected to miss another 7 to 10 days, Holmgren said.

Flyers draft Russia U-18 C German Rubtsov at No. 22 after swapping pair of picks with Jets

Flyers draft Russia U-18 C German Rubtsov at No. 22 after swapping pair of picks with Jets

Updated: Saturday, 12:23 a.m.

The Flyers did not stay put at No. 18 overall in the NHL draft Friday night.

They traded the pick and the 79th selection (third round) to the Jets for the 22nd overall pick and the 36th selection (second round).

At No. 22, the Flyers drafted 17-year-old Russia U-18 center German Rubtsov (6-1/174).

Rubtsov, a lefty shot, posted 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 points in 28 games with Russia’s U-18 team during 2015-16.

International Scouting Services ranked him as the 15th-best 2016 draft prospect and he's known as a two-way center with plus hockey smarts.

“We really liked the early part of the second round, so we actually looked at adding a pick, we have two later seconds so we talked about maybe moving up,” Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said in an interview with NBCSN following the selection. “So when this opportunity came along, actually German was a guy we had in mind and we felt like we’d get him at 22.

“The forward is our priority in this draft and we have a lot of picks so we’ll be drafting more.”

The Flyers now have three picks in the second round with selections 36, 48, 52. The draft finishes Saturday with Rounds 2-7, starting in the morning.

Draft notes
• As expected, Scottsdale, Arizona, native Auston Matthews went No. 1 overall to the Maple Leafs, becoming the seventh U.S.-born player to go as the top pick and the first since 2007.

• An NHL record 12 U.S.-born players were drafted in the first round.

• The Jets took 6-foot-7 Windsor (OHL) defenseman Logan Stanley with the No. 18 overall pick acquired from the Flyers. Stanley is the cousin of Capitals center Michael Latta.

• USNTDP (USHL) left winger Kieffer Bellows, who was popularly tied to the Flyers at No. 18 before Hextall moved back, was drafted No. 19 by the Islanders. Bellows’ father, Brian, was taken No. 2 overall in the 1982 draft and went on to play 17 NHL seasons.

• There were seven trades made during Round 1 of the draft.

2016 Flyers free-agent target: Islanders RW Kyle Okposo

2016 Flyers free-agent target: Islanders RW Kyle Okposo

Each day until July 1, the day free agency begins, CSNPhilly.com producers Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone will profile some of the NHL's top impending free agents and project their likelihood of signing with the Flyers.
 
Kyle Okposo, right wing
 
Age: 28
Height: 6-0
Weight: 217
Last team: New York Islanders
2015-16 cap hit: $2.8 million
 
Scouting report
One of the biggest names on the free-agent market, Okposo is a nifty puck-handler with a fearsome shot, making for a richly talented offensive winger.
 
Sounds just like Ron Hextall’s No. 1 offseason need.
 
The 2006 seventh overall pick finished last season with 64 points — which would have been second on the Flyers — by tallying 22 goals and a career-high-tying 42 assists. His last three seasons have gone for 50-plus points, while in 2013-14 he posted a career-best 69.
 
Okposo is a multifaceted scorer, understanding how to produce in a variety of ways, whether it’s using his body or skill. He knows how to play big and small.
 
The righty shot is dangerous on the power play and a bona-fide top-six forward.
 
Many believe he’s just reaching his prime.
 
Projection
The Islanders have essentially said so long to Okposo, so he’s up for grabs.
 
The Flyers have interest but it looks to be a daunting task to snag the 28-year-old.
 
With the extension of Radko Gudas and the need to re-up restricted free agent Brayden Schenn, it simply doesn’t appear monetarily plausible for the Flyers to reel in a top-six forward the ilk of Okposo.
 
Rumblings have it that Okposo could be searching for a long-term deal in the ballpark of $7 million a season. Whether he’s worth as such is one thing. Whether the Flyers could afford it is another.

I’m a believer the Flyers should seek out Okposo, but unless Hextall pulls off an unforeseen trade to surprisingly clear the barn and make room, I don't see it happening.

NHL draft: Logan Stanley's size his biggest asset

NHL draft: Logan Stanley's size his biggest asset

BUFFALO, NY — Logan Stanley had no shortage of help to prepare for the NHL draft process.

Stanley leaned on his cousin, Washington Capitals forward Michael Latta, for advice as he attempts to carve out his own path to the NHL.

The cousins usually connected once a week during the hockey season, with Latta, a 2009 third-round selection of the Nashville Predators, providing guidance for his younger cousin.

“He went through all this — the combine, the draft — he kind of just said, ‘Enjoy it, work hard, you’re still a young kid so they’re not going to base your career off of this week,’” Stanley said at the recent NHL scouting combine. “He just said work hard, enjoy it and do your best.

“He watches [my games] when he can, he’s busy too with Washington, but he sees some.”

Anyone who watches Stanley can immediately see his biggest asset is his size. At 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds, he had the longest wingspan during the combine testing at 82.75 inches — a full 1.75 inches longer than the next prospect.

With his size, it’s not surprising the scouting report on the defenseman is that he’s an intimidating presence on the blue line. However, Stanley also skates well for his size and rarely gets beat wide. His size also gives him a large reach, making it difficult for opponents to get around his active stick.

Stanley is at his best when he’s playing a simple, physical puck-moving game. For Team Canada at the Under-18 World Championship in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Stanley helped make up a strong second pairing along with under-aged blue liner Nicolas Hague.

“Someone who is hard to play against defensively, going to give a good effort every night and someone who competes hard,” Stanley said, describing his game. “Trying to watch [Shea] Weber and try and play like him, [he's a] good skater, and obviously he’s had a great career so far. He’s a leader, definitely someone I look up to.

“I think just how hard he plays every game. He works hard and plays a hard game so I think just playing like that.”

Stanley was the 19th-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings, up from 23 in the mid-term rankings.

With ISS Hockey, Stanley went from 27th in the February ranking to 25th in the final ranking.

“He’s a real draft wild card,” ISS Hockey Scouting Director Dennis MacInnis said. “He’s the type of guy that anytime after 17, I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes. He’s one of the most improved players since the start of the year.

“I think most of it was his confidence. For a big guy, he’s very mobile. There’s no questions about his skating or anything like that. He’s just got that tremendous combination of size, skating, compete level and hockey sense.”

Stanley scored five goals and 12 assists in 65 regular-season games while playing for the Windsor Spitfires this season. He added one goal in five Ontario Hockey League playoff games.

Away from the rink, with his down time, the Waterloo, Ontario, native likes to work on his golf game.

“I took a few weeks off after the season, but [working out] never really stops,” he said. “On a day off, I play a round of golf or just hang out with my family. [My golf game] is all right, needs some improvement.”

On the ice, scouts would like to see him improve on his offensive creativity. Additionally, he needs to learn to release his shot from the point quicker and use his large frame more to his advantage on a more consistent basis.

With the Flyers picking at No. 18 on Friday, Stanley will likely be available for them.

“He just needs time to figure out what [type of defenseman] he is because he likes to go with [the puck] once in a while,” MacInnis said. “He can’t handle the puck [well], but he can skate. Once he figures out what he is, I think there’s tremendous upside with the kid.

“Once he figures [the puck handling] out, his confidence has come a long way, and his game has really grown as the season has gone on. We project him more as a Top-4, shutdown, defenseman more than an offensive guy.”