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MELTZER: The reason behind the roster moves

A breakdown of each move, why they were made and the impact on Friday's game vs. Devils

by Bill Meltzer @BillMeltzer

The Flyers made a half-dozen roster moves on Thursday, one day ahead of playing the New Jersey Devils in Newark. The fourth forward line and two of the defense pairs will have a different look than in recent games.

"As I mentioned in training camp, it's going to be a process early in the season. And you're probably be a steady flow of players getting called up and getting sent back to Lehigh Valley. And part of that would be based on performance up here. And part of it is these are young players that want to make sure that you develop them properly," general manager Chuck Fletcher said. 

"Some of them, when they're up here, maybe getting them maybe playing a more limited role, 6-9 minutes a night and after a while, that's not beneficial for the long term development. So I think what we're trying to do is balance what we need up here to have the most competitive team on the ice, as well as making sure that they're developing and maintaining the high level of confidence."

Added head coach Alain Vigneault, "Our last two games were not very good. Prior to that, I thought our game was headed in the right direction. But in an 82-game season, you're going to have challenging moments. We just had two challenging games,"

Here is what happened, and the reasoning for each move.

1. RETURNED: MIKHAIL VOROBYEV

Mikhail Vorobyev played well in his first NHL game of the season. Although his effort remained commendable, his performance dropped off thereafter in each of his next four games. He struggled in particular over 15 shifts in Tuesday's game in Pittsburgh, including one where he was on the wrong end of a mismatch in which the Penguins got Sidney Crosby's line out against Vorobyev's unit. 

"In talking to Chuck yesterday, Misha played well in his first game. The others were a little bit more on the average side. He's still a young player with upside, but he's not quite there at this moment yet," Vigneault said.

Vorobyev played consistently well in five AHL games for the Phantoms prior to his NHL recall. He will return to the Phantoms and try to work his way back up to the Flyers.

2. RECALLED: GERMAN RUBTSOV

Flyers 2016 first-round pick German Rubtsov was playing in all game situations in the AHL for Lehigh Valley, posting six points (1g-5a) in seven games and bringing a well-rounded 200-foot game. 

The organization would ideally have liked to see Rubtsov -- as well as 2017 first-rounder Morgan Frost -- continue to receive extensive AHL ice time and continue to develop certain details of their games (faceoffs, for example) before taking on centering responsibilities at the NHL level. 

However, a move now was necessitated by the combined impact of Nolan Patrick remaining week-to-week with migraine issues, Scott Laughton being out for roughly a month due a broken finger and Vorobyev struggling the last few games. Rubtsov will get a chance to step into the spot that Vorobyev occupied the previous five games.

"Ruby had been playing well," Vigneault said. "We're still figuring some things out."

3. CONDITIONING ASSIGNMENT: SAMUEL MORIN

After missing most of the last two seasons due to injury and being a scratch in each of the first nine games of the 2019-20 season, Morin struggled in Sunday's game in Long Island. NHL rules permit Morin, without the Flyers needing to place him on waivers, to spent a maximum 14-day stint with the Phantoms. Thereafter, he must either be recalled to the Flyers or placed on waivers and clear if the Flyers wish for the defenseman to extend his stint with Lehigh Valley.

"Sam was excited when I spoke to him yesterday," Fletcher said. " We wanted to get to a part in the Lehigh schedule where there was a meaningful number of games. So we got him down there [in Allentown] for today's practice. And over the next two weeks, they play seven games, so he'll probably play six up or to seven unless we need him."Video: Myers, Twarynski and Vigneault

4. LTIR: SCOTT LAUGHTON

None of the aforementioned moves had implications in terms of putting the Flyers over the NHL's salary cap ceiling or active NHL roster limit. Looking to make additional moves to tweak the lineup, the Flyers placed Scott Laughton on long-term injured reserve. He underwent right index finger surgery after breaking his finger in Saturday's game against Columbus, and will miss approximately four weeks. A complete recovery is expected in that time.

The Flyers had roughly $200,000 of cap space before today's moves (note: Morin's salary counts against the cap even while he's on his conditioning assignment). Roster wise, they had 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies on the active roster. 

Placing Laughton on LTIR creates an additional active-roster space and also triggers an allowance to temporarily exceed the salary cap ceiling by the average annual value of Laughton's contract (a prorated $2.3 million). This move provided enough cap space for the other two moves the Flyers' made.

5. RECALLED: PHILIPPE MYERS

Phil Myers missed out on an opening night NHL roster spot after he had an uneven training camp. Although extremely disappointed, he returned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms with the right attitude. Far and away, he was the Phantoms' best all-around defenseman in his six games (4a--4 pts, +8). 

"It kind of took me a couple days to digest everything when I got sent out. I was pretty disappointed, but it made me want to work that much harder. There are always things you can work on," Myers said.

It appears that Myers will dress on Friday in Newark on a pairing with Travis Sanheim, his former partner in Lehigh Valley. Shayne Gostisbehere will be paired with Justin Braun.The next challenge for Myers will be to establish consistency at the NHL level.
 
6. RECALLED: CARSEN TWARYNSKI

Twarynski's return to Lehigh Valley lasted two games after dressing in each of the first six games of the NHL season with the Flyers (1g, 4 PIMs). He will start on Friday against the Devils on a line with Rubtsov and veteran Chris Stewart.

What does Twarynski need to do to stay with the big club? Play with consistent north-south energy, hound the puck on the forecheck and hold his own when the other team has puck possession. 

"I think when I was up, I was playing good, and I was playing how I need to play," Twarynski said. "It's fortunate that it's me coming up only a week later, and that shows me how fast things can change."Video: Chuck Fletcher discusses recent roster moves

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