Another summer day, another unfortunate news report regarding the Flyers defense. Andreas Lilja may not be an every-night guy on a healthy Flyers team, but after losing Matt Carle to free agency and Andrej Meszaros to the achilles monster, the need for Lilja-like players is higher than it might otherwise have been.
But now he's in an injury report too.
Bill Meltzer of HockeyBuzz has uncovered and translated a story from Lilja's Swedish hometown newspaper saying that the 37-year-old will be out of action until December after having hip surgery. Meltzer has more on the injury, which Lilja has had in previous years, but usually sees it go away in the summertime. Not this year, at least according to the preliminary report.
Lilja's injury won't have the same impact as the one Andrej Meszaros suffered last week, but it still affects the depth of an already shallow unit. Assuming they remain healthy, the top 4 currently looks like Kimmo/Coburn/Grossmann/Schenn; Lilja wasn't going to factor into that mix anyway, hovering around the 6th/7th D spot depending on who's healthy on a given night and effective over a longer span. Barring a trade or free agent signing, the third pairing could be something of a youth movement, with Erik Gustafsson and Marc-Andre Bourdon the principal players. That may have been the case with or without Lilja to start the season. They may be mixed and matched with a more veteran presence from the "top 4" listed, and free agent signee Bruno Gervais is in the shuffle as well.
Schenn's ability to improve on his play last year with the Maple Leafs is a huge factor in how the Flyers can match up with deeper opposing forward units next season.
Of course, there's still plenty of off-season for the narrative to change, one way or another. And, like every story this summer, there is the huge caveat that a lockout could be looming, who knows for how long.