|Andreas Lilja will have to sit out the next four months. (US Presswire)|
Pretty soon the Philadelphia Flyers are going to have nobody left to play on the blue line should the season start on time.
Veteran defenseman Andreas Lilja is the latest Flyers blue-liner to succumb to injury. Talking to Swedish newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad, Lilja said he underwent an operation on his hip that will keep him out of the lineup awhile.
Here is your rough Google translation:
The veteran sounds not too worried when The sport talk to him. The surgery was necessary -- and in the longer term engagement can extend Andreas Lilja's career with a number of seasons.
"It's perfect, now I've got a new hip, and it will be a hell of a difference when I'm back on the ice again. Not least for the head, because I will be able to move without feeling pain. This may mean that I extended my career with five seasons."
"The only negative is that the new guys can get into hard to move on in that I come in late in the season. But this is good, it really does not matter that I miss two months at the beginning, now I will be alert and pain-free when the fun begins."
Just in case that didn't have you convinced, Flyers beat writer Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia confirmed the report with GM Paul Holmgren. Well, almost confirmed it. The initial report out of Sweden said Lilja would be out until December, but Holmgren told Panaccio it isn't that bad.
"He did have surgery [and] should be back late October or early November," Holmgren texted CSNPhilly.com on Sunday afternoon.
I said it before and I'll say it again ... no team must be hoping for a lockout to actually happen more than Philadelphia. The Flyers just found out last week that Andrej Meszaros is going to be out for possibly six months after having surgery to repair a torn right Achilles tendon. Of course that is added onto Chris Pronger's career-threatening injury/concussion issue and missing out on Shea Weber.
To summarize: The Flyers' defense has had a really bad summer.
Now Lilja's delayed start to the season isn't the biggest hit to the team. They were probably looking at him to be in the mix for the sixth spot but he was an experienced option for that spot and of course helped give them at least a little depth.
There's still plently of time before they start playing again but right now you're looking at a top six that includes Braydon Coburn, Nick Grossmann, Luke Schenn and Kimmo Timmonen at the top. To fill out the final two it's probably some combination of Bruno Gervais, Marc-Andre Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson. Lilja figured to be in that conversation too.
Last season Lilja played in 46 games for the Flyers, recording six assists. He then played 10 games in the postseason with no points and a minus-5.
If I'm Paul Holmgren I'm putting my top four defensemen in a bubble for the rest of the offseason. Their training might suffer but they can bide their time by playing Trivial Pursuit.