Remember when we mentioned that Lehigh Valley Phantoms goaltender Alex Lyon has a huge opportunity in front of him to usurp Anthony Stolarz in the goaltender pecking order?

That window of opportunity just got a whole lot wider for Lyon after Stolarz underwent surgery on Thursday to once again repair the meniscus he tore in his left knee during a game on April 12.

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall told reporters that Stolarz was rehabbing on schedule from his initial meniscus tear, but “just moved one way and it re-tore.”

Meniscus tears typically have a high risk of re-injury, and the new timetable for Stolarz to return is several months. It is not too far-fetched to assume Stolarz will not play at all during the 2017-18 season.

“We’re going to be cautious with it but I know the long-term prognosis for Stolie is good,” Hextall said. “Unfortunately not short-term for him.”

Stolarz was once seen as the future franchise goalie, but his average play in the AHL along with the impressive play of younger prospects Carter Hart and Felix Sandstrom have left many wondering what his future has in store. Can Stolarz serve as a backup to Hart or Sandstrom down the road? Potentially. It does not appear, however, that he is the answer to the decades-long search for a franchise goaltender.

Leland Irving, the veteran goaltender whom the Flyers recently signed, will likely serve as the primary backup for Alex Lyon this season in Lehigh Valley.

“We’ll see where Leland Irving is at camp,” Hextall said. “I’m interested to see kind of where he’s at, and we’ll just monitor the position over the next couple of months.”

 

Featured Image Credit: Emily Paine (The Morning Call)

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