The moment of truth has come for several of the Flyers’ hopeful youth to find out if their dream starts Thursday. For most, a trip to the AHL is in their future. For a few, Boston awaits. The salary cap predicament in Philadelphia (go figure) may dictate who stays and who goes.
Most, if not all, of us had our Schenn-sational prospect inked in to the third line center position. With the Flyers hitting their head on the cap ($175,239 with Laperriere , around 1.341M with him on LTIR) and Schenn’s injury status up in the air, Holmgren may be forced to get creative.
Final rosters are due in by Wednesday. In my opinion there will be some very interesting surprises. The first is Brayden Schenn in the AHL. This frees up 3.11M to play around with. As we all know, call ups are a necessity in the NHL. This cap space could come in very handy.
The next will be first round draft pick (8th Overall), Sean Couturier in that spot vacated by Schenn’s absence.
Because he has a much more affordable hit at $1.375M. Also, if Couturier is sent back to the QMJHL (which will happen if he doesn’t make the roster) he is only eligible to play in a handful of games in the NHL.
Are these good enough reasons to put him on the roster?
Paul Holmgren seems to think so. GM’s in big market teams have to get creative to make it all work.
With that space the Flyers will be able to have impressive preseason point leader (2G, 5A) Matt Read and his 900k cap hit on the opening day roster, as well as new resident tough guy Zac Rinaldo ($544,444) on the roster.
This may not be the most ideal roster, but it could be the necessary one. My opening day roster looks like this --
Hartnell, Briere, Voracek
JVR, Giroux, Jagr
Talbot, Cooter, Simmonds
Read, Betts, Rinaldo
Shelley (susp), Nodl (scr)
Now I’ve been wrong before, so don’t take this one to the bank quite yet. However, I have a pretty strong feeling that this is going to be the case.
The thing that concerns me about all this is Sean Couturier. In most of the preseason games I have watched he has looked mediocre. Now I know he has shown up in the stat sheet, but that’s not what I’m getting at. I’m looking at the physical play. He has failed to use his size effectively. Several times he was pushed off the puck, lost key faceoffs, and didn’t properly position himself defensively. These are all things that lower line centers need to do.
With that said, I do think he has grown by leaps and bounds, but it isn’t enough to be NHL ready by the start of the season. Not by a long shot. But again, this is the hand that was forced due to salary cap restrictions.
Ok, enough being a Debbie Downer. The fact remains that this team is going to be exciting to watch. The chemistry issue that many thought would plague this team appears to have worked itself out. I know I’m not the only one who is completely stoked for Thursday, regardless of who is on the roster.
See you in Boston!
LETS GO FLYERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!