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Flyers Must Get Marc Staal More Regular Playing Time



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For his sake and the future of the team, the Philadelphia Flyers need to get Marc Staal back into the lineup with some regularity. (Photo: AP)

For the sake of the team and the sake of the future, the Philadelphia Flyers need to find a way to get Marc Staal into the lineup and onto the ice more often.

Staal, 37, has played in just three of the Flyers’ last 13 games. Philadelphia has carried eight defensemen on its roster since Jamie Drysdale’s arrival via trade with the Anaheim Ducks. Staal, the elder statesman of the group, has been the odd man out virtually every single night.

Indeed, the wily vet likely knew he was headed for a rotation when signing with the Flyers on July 3. Before long, Staal was injured and Egor Zamula stepped in to usurp his place in the lineup permanently. At the same time, the 37-year-old probably didn’t figure to play in only 17 games for the Flyers by the beginning of February.

Carrying eight defensemen just isn’t healthy for the roster. No professional athlete wants to sit and not play, whether it be at the beginning of their career or at the end.

If the Flyers intend to give Staal one last shot at a Stanley Cup run with a contending team, there won’t exactly be burgeoning interest in acquiring his services. Staal hasn’t eclipsed 18 minutes of ice time in a game since Game 3 back in October, and has played north of 15 minutes in a game once since Thanksgiving Day.

Contenders won’t be lining up to offer the Flyers anything meaningful for a player that hasn’t played and might not even be in the required shape to play regularly, at this point.

Yes, the trade deadline is fast approaching, and the Flyers will likely seek to move some of their grey hairs. Forward Scott Laughton is the latest hot commodity on the NHL trade market, while other veteran defensemen, like Nick Seeler and Sean Walker, have drawn trade interest virtually all season.

Whether it be for Staal’s sake, the team’s sake, or the future’s sake, the Flyers’ lineup could use a bit of a shakeup. Even for just a few games.

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