Flyers’ Isaac Ratcliffe benched; Max Willman back in lineup
Isaac Ratcliffe, the 6-foot-6, 225-pound left winger who played so well in his first handful of games with the Philadelphia Flyers, will be benched for Thursday’s game against visiting Minnesota.
Interim coach Mike Yeo said Ratcliffe needs a reset, that he hasn’t been as engaged in the play since he committed his second penalty of the game in a 2-1 win Saturday over Washington.
Ratcliffe, 23, played a team-low 7:02 and was a non-factor in the Flyers’ 3-0 loss Tuesday to Edmonton.
“He obviously still has the qualities that you love to see from his potential, as far as size, and I do feel he’s a very competitive player,” Yeo said after practice Wednesday in Voorhees. “I point toward the Washington game when he took the second penalty. Before then, he was embracing every shift, every opportunity, as a chance to prove himself. He kind of came up here with no expectations and a nothing-to-lose mentality.”
Since then, he’s “playing a little more reserved, I would say,” Yeo added. “We’re going to try to get that back.”
Max Willman, 27, will take Ratcliffe’s spot on the fourth line Thursday. In 10 games, Ratcliffe has four points and a minus-1 rating. Willman has played 32 games this season, collecting three points and a minus-10 rating.
Carter Hart (2.87 GAA, .912 save percentage) will make his third straight start Thursday for the Flyers, who have lost six of their last seven, and 20 of their last 23. One positive: They have improved their chances in the draft lottery.
Hart is among the top contenders to win the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team’s MVP this season.
Rasmus Ristolainen had a maintenance day Wednesday and did not practice, but he will be in the lineup Thursday against the Wild.
The Philadelphia Flyers are 1-3-1 on their eight-game homestand, which is the longest in franchise history. They have upcoming home games against Minnesota, Chicago, and Vegas.