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Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher Still Aiming for Playoffs; Bellows Waived

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Philadelphia Flyers, Chuck Fletcher

Despite a slew of injuries and a recent 10-game losing streak, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher hasn’t given up on the season.

His goal is making the playoffs.

“I expect to be more competitive the rest of the way,” Fletcher said on Thursday, mindful Travis Konecny, James van Riemsdyk, Tony DeAngelo and Cam Atkinson are getting close to returning from injuries. “We’re five points out of a wild-card spot. We’ll see.”

Is Fletcher concerned that it may take a few years for the Flyers to be a strong contender and that he may not still be the general manager?

“I’ll still come by and say hi,” he joked.

Fletcher was asked if he could clear up the nature of Atkinson’s upper-body injury He declined, saying it was up to Atkinson.

He also said the injury was similar to one he had suffered in the past. Earlier this week, Atkinson said he had never experienced an injury like this one.

Fletcher confirmed his earlier suspicion: Defenseman Ryan Ellis will not play this season because of a pelvic injury. His injury, more than anything else, has crippled the Flyers over the last two seasons.

The GM said Sean Couturier (back) will see a doctor Dec. 12, at which point he will have a better idea when he can play. The veteran center is expected to return in January.

Bellows waived

Kieffer Bellows, 24, who failed to distinguish himself during his brief stint with the Flyers, was put on waivers Thursday. Konecny was activated, but will be a game-time decision Thursday.

The Flyers had plucked Bellows off waivers from the Islanders.

A former first-round draft pick (19th overall) in 2016, Bellows failed to collect a point in 11 games with the Flyers.

He was worth a look-see to determine if a change of scenery would give him a spark, but it never happened.

Breakaways

Fletcher and coach John Tortorella both say they are still trying to figure out which players belong with the team in the future. They were talking about young players and veterans. … The GM had praise for defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen’s last game and said returning from an injury caused him to be out of sync earlier in the season. … Fletcher said it’s “relatively a small sample size,” but he’s been impressed with Owen Tippett. and said he has “terrific upside.”  He said Morgan Frost “has really improved” in the little aspects of his game, but it’s not showing on the stat sheet. “He’s one of the players we’ll see where he’s at at the 20-game mark and 40-game mark, but to me he’s turning the right way,” Fletcher said.

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