Couturier absent for the season after back surgery; Ellis, Hayes returns uncertain

If the management Leaflets the season was not already very clear, Friday’s news should have revealed everything that the next two and a half months have in store for us.

GM Mandrel Fletcher met the media on Friday morning following an announcement that Sean Couturier had undergone back surgery that morning and would be out for the rest of the season. Fletcher said it would be about a three-month recovery.

“It wasn’t an issue that bothered him this year,” Fletcher said. “I think he started having issues in the fall. I tried to fight back. We tried to deal with things non-surgically. Epidural couple to be exact and trying to address the issue that was Ultimately you’re trying to do your best to avoid back surgery if you can, but ultimately the doctor and Sean were convinced that the best way to fix this in the future would be to have this surgery. It was successful today.”

Also, Fletcher didn’t have much to offer in the way of updates on ryan Ellis Where Kevin Hayes. For Ellis, time is running out to make a decision on the prospect of seeing him play this season. Over the next few weeks the determination to have surgery, thus officially ending his season, looms, but with the defender currently out of skating, the writing seems to be on the wall.

“I know there’s been a lot of frustration on Ryan’s part,” Fletcher said. “What hurts him this year hasn’t hurt him before, so it’s hard to know how these things happen. He faces it as best he can. Again at this stage we are really focused on next year, trying to do what is best for him and for our club going forward.

As for Hayes, Fletcher said there was a ’50-50′ chance he would return this season, but noted he was still struggling with some things and might even need another surgery in the near future. to come up. Much like Ellis, it looks like Hayes isn’t coming back either.

Although Fletcher has and continues to assert that there is plenty of hockey left this season – and there are 36 games left to play – it will entail nothing more than playing the remaining schedule as a formality. This makes the next area of ​​focus pretty obvious.

“Right now it’s been an extremely difficult season, but there are opportunities for the players who are here to show what they can do. I think there’s a great opportunity for our organization to look at ways to improve, whether it’s the trade deadline or this summer,” Fletcher said. “As we approach next year, we have to take advantage of those opportunities, where it’s the players who get them or the management, the coaching staff, looking for ways to improve for next year. Everything is on hold now. How to improve? There will be opportunities not only for the players, but also for our group. »

This allows for more focus on the next business deadline and taking actions that will hopefully have a positive impact on the franchise going forward. With the official loss of the team’s first center, a top defender and a second-line center may not return, not to mention the imminent possibility of a trade involving the team captain. Claude Giroux, the “retooling” start-up process should be well underway. Certainly, the conversations about trade deadlines have started to pick up.

“It really started last week,” Fletcher said. “Teams usually have their professional scouting meetings from late January to mid-February. For example, our professional scouts are arriving next week. We’re going to have five days of meetings to organize ourselves over the next two months. Some teams just finished; some teams are just getting started. Usually, as a result of these meetings, the level of communication increases, and that’s what we start to see.

Kevin Durso is the Flyers Insider for 97.3 ESPN and the Flyers Editor for Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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