Since the Luke Schenn trade three weeks ago, the Philadelphia Flyers defense has finally found some stability. Where they previously had too many bodies to handle, Shayne Gostisbehere, Mark Streit, Nick Schultz, and Radko Gudas all have clearly established roles on the team. About the only remaining uncertainty on the blue line lies between Evgeny Medvedev and Brandon Manning.
Manning and Medvedev seem like two very different players. Manning is a young player, fighting for a permanent NHL job. He does a little bit of everything on the ice, including a willing fighter. Medvedev, on the other hand, is also trying to earn an NHL job, but is doing it at 33 years old.
Most Flyers fans presumably already know his story. A standout in the KHL and a mainstay in Russia's international lineup the last few years, Medvedev is finally trying his hand at the NHL. He clearly has NHL size, skating, and skill, but he's a stranger to the smaller NHL ice and the faster, physical game it allows.
The Flyers felt good enough about his abilities to sign him to a considerable contract this offseason, but the $3 million dollar question concerned his ability to adapt a different style of play. Regarding that issue, it was expected that it would take some time. Some cycling in and out the lineup early on was expected as he adjusted. Here we are, however, past the halfway point of the season, and those kinks in his game still pull him out of the lineup.