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Injuries present Erik Gustafsson with a golden opportunity

Aug 28, 2012, 9:43 PM EDT

Erik Gustafsson #26 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates during an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets at Wells Fargo Center on January 31, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images

After losing Matt Carle to the Tampa Bay Lightning and with Chris Pronger, Andrej Meszaros, and Andreas Lilja all injured, the Philadelphia Flyers’ defense is a big question mark going into the 2012-13 campaign. At the same time, as the Flyers’ official website pointed out, it’s also an opportunity for Erik Gustafsson to earn a permanent spot on he Philadelphia Flyers’ roster.

Gustafsson made a good impression early in the 2011-12 campaign, but his season was derailed due to a wrist injury that required surgery. He ended up missing nine weeks and wasn’t the same when he returned.

Still, Gustafsson has had the off-season to get ready for a fresh start.

“It’s been a great summer,” he said. “I’ve had no setbacks at all. I’ve been working a little bit on strengthening the wrist, but otherwise I’ve just been working on the strength schedule (assistant strength and conditioning coach) Ryan Podell gave me and I feel like I’m in really good shape.”

Gustafsson sees this as the best opportunity he’s had with the Philadelphia Flyers. GM Paul Holmgren is pleased with his development and, given the situation that the Flyers are in, they might need a guy like Gustafsson to step up.

  1. tcclark - Aug 29, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    “losing Matt Carle”? I haven’t even read past that. That wasn’t a loss at all. Please correct.

  2. orangeandblack67 - Aug 29, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    Definitely agree, Gus was pretty strong in pittsburg series. Look forward to see him play… Whenever

  3. schuckme - Aug 29, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    MIGHT need a guy like Gus to step up? no they DO NEED a guy like him to step up.. the few scarce Flyers backliners scare nobody and they are perilously thin there in that regard as well.. its alot to ask of Gus but im hoping and pulling for him to be that guy..

  4. mclovinhockey - Aug 29, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    Yup, Carle was just the 2nd ranked UFA D this offseason who put up a ton of points a year

    • chrisvegas - Aug 29, 2012 at 12:45 PM

      Carl is a good offensive defenseman, but Flyers fans will all tell you he is a turnover machine. Personally I think he is a bit overrated and the only reason he was so highly ranked in free agency is because their weren’t to many quality defenseman available.

      • mclovinhockey - Sep 12, 2012 at 8:02 PM

        I am a flyers fan, he was a turnover machine, but Luke Schenn turns the puck over like crazy as well. He was overrated but he wasnt chopped liver.

    • tcclark - Aug 29, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      Yup cause points are always the mark of a great defenseman.

      • mclovinhockey - Sep 12, 2012 at 8:00 PM

        there is defensive defenseman and then there is OFFENSIVE defenseman

      • tcclark - Sep 12, 2012 at 8:46 PM

        …and then there’s Matt Carle.

  5. chrisvegas - Aug 29, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    I really like Gus. He skates well and is a smart young player. He takes care of the puck pretty well, much better then Carl did as Carl was a turnover machine. I think he can fill in nicely if he stays healthy.

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