December 15, 2017
By: Steve Degler
A quick look at the American Hockey League's Atlantic Division standings this morning shows the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in fourth place based on points percentage. With the Phantoms ten games away from the midpoint of their season, this does not mean they are struggling. Could things be better? Always. However, when you consider what this team has endured, it is a credit to the players and coaching staff that they find themselves in a playoff spot.
Consider this: it is a fair argument to claim that we have not seen the planned Phantoms team for a single game this season. Go back to October and look at who was projected to be on the ice opening night. We have not seen that lineup once. The Phantoms have battled injuries continuously this season. And they have had to send guys to the Flyers to plug holes at the NHL level. It's all part of how the system works. Every team deals with it at some point. For head coach Scott Gordon, it's been constant.
Colin McDonald, T.J. Brennan and Cole Bardreau have missed significant time with injuries. So have Samuel Morin, Phil Myers and Reece Willcox. The defense corps has been in a state of flux for most of the season. Several players have filled in very nicely after being called up from Reading. Neither goaltender on the current roster was with the team on opening night. David Bowie's "Changes" could be the team's theme song.
But these guys have hung in there. Hopefully the troops get healthy and stay that way the rest of the season. The Phantoms at full strength will be a very dangerous team. One that could definitely make some noise in the Calder Cup playoffs.