The Flyers made two minor moves at the trade deadline Wednesday, first claiming forward Adam Hall off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning and later trading Michael Leighton and a 2015 third round pick to Columbus for goalie Steve Mason.
Hall, 32, has had an adventurous month, going from Tampa Bay to Carolina back to Tampa Bay and now to the Flyers.
He plays the style of game though that is coveted in the NHL – grinder, kills penalties, skates hard, real team-oriented focus, good locker room presence.
Hall, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, is a good faceoff guy and strong penalty killer, leading many to believe he will most likely step in for to the role vacated by Max Talbot, whom general manager Paul Holmgren confirmed is out for the season with a broken leg.
Hall has zero goals and four assists in 26 games this season, but has 65 goals, 82 assists and 147 points in 591 career games with six teams prior to joining the Flyers (Nashville, New York Rangers, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Carolina).
He was a teammate of Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell in Nashville for four seasons; a teammate of Kurtis Foster for one season in Minnesota; a teammate of Bruno Gervais and Andrej Meszaros in Tampa Bay and a teammate of Talbot in Pittsburgh.
“Max is out for the year,” Paul Holmgren said. “It was an easy decision. Adam’s been around. He’s a big guy who can play [any forward position]. He adds depth and experience.”
Mason, 25, started his career like a house on fire in Columbus. Fresh off a spot on the Canadian World Junior team where he was a teammate of Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds, Mason won the Calder Trophy in 2009 as the NHL’s top rookie.
He had a league-leading 10 shutouts for the Blue Jackets that season and finished with a 33-20-7 record, a 2.29 goals against average and a .916 save percentage.
His next three seasons were not nearly as prolific and Mason’s struggles led to the Blue Jackets trading three draft picks to the Flyers for Sergei Bobrovsky, who supplanted Mason as the starter this season.
“I think he’s bounced back a little better this year,” Holmgren said. “He’s still a young goalie with a lot of upside. [Goalie coach} Jeff Reese studies a lot of goalies around the league and saw something there, so he’s a goalie we have a lot of interest in.
“We see him as one of our two goalies, not only for the rest of this year but moving forward.”
Holmgren added that he had several conversations with other teams, but that teams kept asking for some of the Flyers young players in return – like Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Brayden Schenn.
Holmgren decided to pass on every request.
“We like our young group,” he said. “I think we can make a little push here. We have a lot of good young players that we like that a lot of other teams like too. We didn’t want to disrupt that so we’ll ride out the rest of the year make our push and see what happens.”
The Flyers had several other minor transactions that took place Wednesday.
First, Erik Gustafsson, Oliver Lauridsen and Tye McGinn were loaned back to the Adirondack Phantoms – but that was simply a paper transaction as they immediately recalled after the deadline.
Players on two-way deals who were on an NHL roster at the deadline were not allowed to return to the AHL for the remainder of the season.
Doing this paper transaction allows the Flyers to continue to have that flexibility if they see fit.
Next, Kurtis Foster cleared waivers, but he remained with the Flyers as after the deadline teams are allowed to exceed the 23-man active roster limit as long as they remain salary cap compliant.
This is also the reason the Flyers were able to call up Cal Heeter to dress as a backup for Ilya Bryzgalov for the game Wednesday until Mason can arrive to travel with the team to Toronto and Winnipeg this week.
Finally, Brandon Alderson, who signed a free agent entry-level contract with the Flyers last month that begins next season, inked an amateur tryout contract with the Phantoms.
Alderson, 21, had 28 goals and 36 assists for 64 points in 67 games with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL this season.
He was the right wing on a line with fellow Flyers prospect Nick Cousins, who finished third in the OHL in points with 103 (27 goals, 76 assists).
Like Alderson, Cousins, 19, is expected to sign an ATO with the Phantoms this week.
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