Knuble redux; Lilja back from AHL

What started out as “whispers” became a source-confirmed bit of news during the first period of last night’s Flyers-Rangers game, which in turn became official on Friday afternoon.

Mike Knuble will make his return to Philadelphia after an absence of three-plus seasons after passing a physical. It is a one-year deal reported to be worth $750,000.

“Obviously we’re familiar with Mike,” Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said on Thursday night. “He’s a good guy, big, heavy player and we think he’s a good guy to throw in the mix right now…with the injuries we have.”

Knuble had been plying his trade with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL — affiliate of his original club the Detroit Red Wings — after no other NHL club offered him a contract this season. He recorded one assist in his lone appearance.

“It’s up to them, it’s their decision and what they do, but I‘m eligible and I’m ready to go.  It’s going to be a little bit of a work in progress,” said Knuble when asked if he expected to be an integral part of the lineup right away. “I know everybody’s got a couple games under their belt already.  I played one the other day in the American league. So I guess that’s going to have to do for now.

 

The 40-year-old winger spent a contentious 2011-12 season with the Washington Capitals, limited to six goals and 18 points in 72 games. He was one of several high-profile veterans at loggerheads with interim head coach Dale Hunter.

Knuble was brought here as a free agent prior to the 2005-06 campaign, and led a revamped top line along with Simon Gagne and Peter Forsberg. He tallied 114 goals and 221 points over 310 regular-season games, contributing six scores and 14 points in 24 postseason appearances.

The move, apparently consummated on Thursday, could not become official until Niko Hovinen’s contract came off the books, meaning that one less slot than the mandated limit of 50 became available. Should prospect Scott Laughton be returned to Oshawa before his sixth game, that will also open up another contract spot within the rules.

The disappointing 24-year-old goaltender was kissed goodbye for the price of a cheap suit ($125), and his deletion off the ledger made the Knuble signing possible. A report from TSN of Canada stated that Hovinen has been claimed by the Edmonton Oilers.

If anything, the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder can be that lingering presence in front of the opposing cage as he was for most of his first tenure in Philadelphia.

On Friday, Holmgren confirmed that defenseman Andreas Lilja was recalled from the Adirondack Phantoms.

Lilja will replace Andrej Meszaros, who departed the Wells Fargo Center after last night’s 2-1 win over the Rangers with his left shoulder in a harness. A salary-cap casualty to the final NHL roster, the 37-year-old notched two assists and six penalty minutes in four games at Glens Falls.

“Andrej Meszaros has a left shoulder injury. He’s going to miss some time here.  Right now we’re hoping that it’s about a four-week rehabilitation of the injury,” Holmgren stated. “It’s a muscle injury in and around his shoulder joint.  We’ve just got to try to get it stronger.  We believe he’s going to be out for about a month.”