PHILADELPHIA — The Flyers officially signed right wing Mike Knuble to a one-year contract Friday, and the veteran will be available for Saturday’s game at the Florida Panthers.
Knuble, 40, returns to the Flyers after spending the past three seasons with the Washington Capitals. He played for the Flyers for four seasons (2005-2009) after signing as a free agent July 3, 2004. Knuble appeared in 310 games for Philadelphia, recording 114 goals and 221 points.
“I’ll be ready for anything. I’m pretty realistic that for a guy like me, you’re going to be a spot-filler, going to fill some holes at times, and come in and do what’s asked of you, play where you need to play,” Knuble said. “You’re going to go out and try to do your best in that role that night and try to do what you can do. I just need to be ready to move around, probably a lot, and be ready for anything.”
The move for Knuble was necessitated by an injury to Flyers forward Scott Hartnell, who is expected to miss four to eight weeks because of a broken left foot. Hartnell, an All-Star last season who finished with 37 goals and 67 points, was injured by a shot taken by teammate Kimmo Timonen in Tuesday’s game against New Jersey. Hartnell had one point in three games.
“You’re going to need players to play in a short season, a 48-game season like we have. We believe we have depth in our organization,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. “We’ve seen some of our young kids up already playing. We’re being tested obviously right now, which is good and bad, but we’d obviously like to get ourselves healthy because we know we’re in for a dogfight in what we have left of our schedule.”
The Flyers (1-3) also recalled defenseman Andreas Lilja, 37, from the AHL, and he will be in the lineup as well vs. the Panthers.
“Andreas is a good guy; he’s got lots of life to his game,” Holmgren said. “I think he was real good for our young players down there (in the AHL). They got a chance to play with a guy who’s been on a Stanley Cup-champion team and been around a long time, and shows his enthusiasm and a real good attitude for the game. He’s played well and we’re happy to have him back.”
The Flyers are still without forward Danny Briere (broken left wrist). Holmgren says it’s 50-50 Briere will be available for this weekend’s games at Florida and Tampa Bay.
Knuble has played in 1,040 career games with Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, and has 274 goals and 540 points. He won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 1998.
“It’s the first time I’ve double-dipped for a team, get to come back around and play for an organization. It’s a place where I feel very comfortable, the staff, the people you see at the rink every day, you know your way around, you know a few guys in the locker room that were there when you were there,” Knuble said. “It’s a great organization and it’s a place that I kind of had to leave because of salary cap things. I didn’t really want to go, and I said that at the time, but it’s great to have the opportunity to come back.”