With only three pre-season games remaining, general manager Paul Holmgren and the Philadelphia Flyers still have a few important decisions to make prior to the October 2nd regular season opener. After moves made prior to the team’s "bonding" trip this weekend in Lake Placid, NY, coach Peter Laviolette and his staff are left to trim a probable four spots from their current roster.
Having 27 players making the trip to upstate New York, it appears that barring injuries one forward and three defensemen will not be calling Broad and Pattison their home in a week and a half. Currently carrying ten defensemen, how the team gets down to seven will be very interesting. Kimmo Timonen, Luke Schenn, and Mark Streit are definite. That leaves seven players vying for four spots.
38-year-old Hal Gill, currently on a tryout contract will likely be gone. 24-year-old Oliver Lauridsen will likely start the season with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate Adirondack Phantoms.
Of the remaining lot of Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, Erik Gustafsson, Nick Grossman, and Bruno Gervais, Coburn would likely get the most back in a potential trade. Meszaros and Grossman are both coming off injuries, but have been cleared to play.
The team will be keeping an eye on the rest of the NHL hoping for an injured defenseman to force a team into making a move. If not, it’s likely that one of the current defense corps will come down with a mysterious injury of their own, or Gervais will be the odd man out.
Up front, the competition appears to be between Michael Raffl, Chris Vandevelde and Scott Laughton. The 24-year-old Austrian-born Raffl has scored rave reviews thus far, and appears to be NHL ready after starring professionally in Sweden.
Laughton, the Flyers first round selection in 2012, had a short stint with the orange and black last season before being sent back to juniors. The organization seems committed to giving the beefed up Laughton a longer look this season; viewing his excellent two-way play as a perfect ingredient for the fourth-line role he will probably play as he eases his way into the NHL.
That would leave Vandevelde as the odd man out, heading back to minor league Adirondack. The former Edmonton Oiler farmhand signed an AHL level contract with the Flyers a week before training camp and has impressed Laviolette thus far with his grinding style of play.
PROBABLE OPENING NIGHT FLYERS ROSTER:
Forwards: 14 Sean Couturier 28 Claude Giroux 18 Adam Hall 19 Scott Hartnell 21 Scott Laughton 40 Vinny Lecavalier 12 Michael Raffl 24 Matt Read 36 Zac Rinaldo 37 Jay Rosehill 10 Brayden Schenn 17 Wayne Simmonds 25 Max Talbot 93 Jake Voracek
Defensemen: 5 Braydon Coburn 8 Nick Grossmann 26 Erik Gustafsson 41 Andrej Meszaros 22 Luke Schenn 32 Mark Streit 44 Kimmo Timonen
Goaltenders: 29 Ray Emery 35 Steve Mason
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