PHILADELPHIA – The Flyers trimmed their training camp roster to 28 players today, creeping ever closer to the magic number of 23 for the start of the NHL season on Oct. 1.
There were a few surprises too, some that even made my recent prognostications seem way off base.
Let’s break it all down, shall we?
Currently remaining with the club are 17 forwards, 12 defensemen and three goalies.
Here’s the breakdown:
Surprises: The fact that Vandevelde is on the list and Tye McGinn is not is definitely the biggest surprise here. Vandevelde signed an AHL-only contract with the Phantoms, so technically, he is in camp with the Flyers on a try out, but the fact that he isn’t immediately going to Phantoms camp means the Flyers want to get an extra long look at him.
He does have 28 games of NHL experience, all with the Edmonton Oilers, so it’s not a stretch to see him as a guy who can play at the NHL level, but to see him ahead of a few other guys the Flyers were considering for a roster spot is definitely a bit of a shocker at this point.
It should also be noted here that even though the Flyers have 51 players under contract, they have four players (Scott Laughton, Anthony Stolarz, Taylor Leier and Samuel Morin) on entry-level deals that can slide a year (or two) before kicking in because they are still junior eligible. As long as thy don’t play 10 games this season in the NHL those contracts slide to next season, leaving the Flyers with up to three open contracts available before they would hit their roster limit.
That means if the feel VandeVelde can play at the NHL level, they could still offer him a contract and be within their limit.
I’m not quite sure why McGinn isn’t on the list, but he appears to have been passed on the depth chart by a few players. Michael Raffl and Scott Laughton are both ahead of McGinn, and neither are an upset really, but VandeVelde sure is.
Two forwards who looked like they would have a chance to stick around for a bit longer in camp are Jason Akeson and Nick Cousins. Both were sent to the Phantoms camp. That’s not to say they won’t get another opportunity, but it seemed like they were making themselves noticed some in camp and might get a chance to stick around a little longer before being sent back down. Apparently I misread that one by a bit, although I’m told there was some deliberation about Akeson sticking before choosing to send him down.
As for Ben Holmstrom and Kris Newbury, they both are a mild surprise to still be on the roster, but research also tells me that they have to clear waivers before being sent down to the Phantoms camp, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case and that they join the Phantoms later this week assuming they go unclaimed (Goalie Yann Danis is in the same boat).
Tyrell Goulbourne and Leier, two forwards the Flyers like for the future, were both loaned back to their junior clubs (Kelowna and Portland respectively).
That means the Flyers are down to roughly 15 forwards with 13 spots available.
The forwards headed to the Phantoms camp are:
Moving on to the defense, where things are still really interesting:
* Bourdon and Pronger will begin the season on injured reserve, giving the Flyers somne additional cap room.
The surprises: So much for Morin sticking around for awhile, as Paul Holmgren originally indicated. Morin, who was a long shot to make the team anyway, was loaned to his junior team in Rimouski. I thought he was going to stick through training camp, and maybe even get a sniff at an early season NHL game or three before being sent back to the QMJHL, but apparently, I was wrong there too (Good start to my season).
I think it’s definitely a surprise that he’s gone so quickly. Maybe as much of a surprise that Oliver Lauridsen is still with the team.
Big Ollie did very well for himself in the brief action he had in the NHL with the Flyers last season, but it really looked like a numbers game for him with everyone healthy on the Flyers and that he would be ticketed for the Phantoms.
He still may be sent back to Adirondack before all is said and done, but it’s clear now that he has moved up the depth chart ahead of guys like Brandon Manning and Matt Konan, both of whom also played with the Flyers last season.
There’s no doubt that Morin will ultimately skyrocket up that list – maybe as soon as the end of this season in Rimouski – but don’t sleep on Mark Alt, who the Flyers really like as well. He could be the top defensemen on the Phantoms right now – and that’s with guys with NHL experience on the Phantoms roster with him.
The other wild card here is Hal Gill, who is sticking around, still hoping for a shot. It’s tough to envision where he would fit in, especially since the Flyers will likely only carry seven defensemen, but Paul Holmgren still has a few aces up his sleeve and still has three open contracts, as mentioned earlier. The next two weeks are going to be especially interesting on the blue line.
The following defensemen were sent to Phantoms camp:
Todd Orlando, who was in camp on a tryout, was released from his tryout contract.
As for the goalies:
The surprises: None. Everyone knew the two goalies on this team were going to be Emery and Mason. Now it’s just a question of who wins the job out of camp.
As I mentioned earlier, look for Danis to head to Adirondack later this week, where he will likely split time with Cal Heeter. I expect the fifth goalie who was in camp, Carsen Chubak, to head to Greenville of the ECHL.
Goalies sent to Phantoms camp:
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37