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BREAKING: Flyers’ Ryan Ellis Expected to Miss Season; Coots’ Status Up in Air

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Ryan Ellis, Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis is expected to miss the entire season, general manager Chuck Fletcher said Thursday shortly after the team opened training camp in Voorhees.

Ellis, now 31, played just four games last season because of a pelvic injury.

“My assumption is he won’t play this season,” Fletcher said, adding it would be a “bonus” if he did get into some games. “That’s how we prepared this offseason, by making the additions we did.”

The biggest addition was defenseman Tony DeAngelo, who will start the season on the top pairing, alongside Ivan Provorov.

It’s “possible” Ellis’ career is in jeopardy, Fletcher said.

Including this season, Ellis has five years left on a contract that has an annual $6.25 million cap hit. He is expected to soon go on the LTIR list.

Coots update

Fletcher also said top-line center Sean Couturier (back) will see a specialist later Thursday, and the Flyers will know more after the visit.

Couturier will get a second opinion on his latest back injury, and “based on that meeting and that appointment, we’ll try to come up with a plan of attack.”

Fletcher said it was a “long way away” to suggest Couturier would miss the entire season. He said Couturier was feeling fairly well Thursday morning when they had breakfast together.

Couturier played just 29 games last season, and he had back surgery in February. His latest injury is in “the same area” as the one that sidelined him for most of last season, Fletcher said.

The former Selke winner had been skating regularly this summer, “and at some point in the last week,” Fletcher said, “things deteriorated. What triggered that, I don’t know.”

As for Ellis, he seemed optimistic in the spring that he would be ready to play this season.

“There’s been ebbs and flows” in his rehab, Fletcher said. “He made progress earlier in the summer; I’d say the last two months, there hasn’t been any visible signs of progress.”

Added Fletcher: “It’s been a frustrating injury. Nobody is more frustrated than Ryan. Nobody wants to play more than Ryan. But we’re dealing with reality now.”

Fletcher tried to remain upbeat about the team.

“This year is a clean slate for everybody. John (Tortorella) has made that very clear to the players,” Fletcher said. “We know there’s a lot of skeptics, a lot of people who don’t believe we’re a good hockey team — and our players are eager to prove them wrong. We all are.”

Fletcher said this season “is probably the best opportunity since I’ve been here for young players to step up.”

He added that the Philadelphia Flyers could have 10 players 25 or under on their opening-night roster.

Breakaways

Fletcher has started negotiations with defenseman Travis Sanheim on a contract extension. “He’s probably the only player (on the Flyers) who played to his capabilities last year,” the GM said. Sanheim is in the final year of a deal that carries a $4.675 million cap hit. … Fletcher confirmed that Harry Bricker was no longer with the club as its long-time equipment manager, and that he had been replaced by John Peters.

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