Philadelphia Flyers centre Noah Cates will be out for the foreseeable future as tends to a lower-body injury for the next 6-8 weeks.
Injury update: Flyers forward Noah Cates will be out 6-8 weeks with a lower body injury. pic.twitter.com/VaZDu5hRzQ
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) November 28, 2023
After a terrific rookie season that earned the youngster some Selke nominations as well as votes for the Calder Trophy, Cates has struggled to begin the 2023-24 season. Depended upon as the team’s go-to defensive forward last season, Cates excelled and even put up 13 goals and 38 points across 82 games. He averaged 17:46 TOI, had 65 blocked shots, 80 hits, and a 60:13 takeaway to giveaway ratio.
This season, with the returns of Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson, his load has been lessened as evidenced by his 14:25 ATOI. He has also only scored 1 goal to go along with 3 assists but is still providing solid defense up the middle. He has been shifted around the bottom-6 over the last few weeks as was even benched in the third period during the Flyers 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers.
Cates scored his first goal of the season 6 games in and had recorded 4 points in a span of 4 games, but has since gone without a point in 13 games, is a minus-6, averaged 13:28 TOI, and only fired 10 shots on goal. The sophomore slump could be brought into the picture but his role has changed considerably over a calendar year.
It’s unclear if the Flyers will recall anyone from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but one name of interest is Tanner Laczynski, who has 6 goals and 17 points through the club’s first 16 games after being cut from the Flyers’ training camp roster. He’s had prior experience as a bottom-6 centre and can kill penalties, similarly to Cates.
Cates’ injury will now open the door for Morgan Frost, who has found himself at the scrutiny of his head coach. Frost has been a healthy scratch 10 times this season but with Cates out for the foreseeable future, look for Frost to try and stake his claim as an everyday player.
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