With the recent signing of restricted free agent Brandon Manning, the Philadelphia Flyers now sit at 49 contracts on the 50 contract reserve limit. Two of those contracts could slide, meaning they would not count towards the 50 contract limit, if Laughton or Stolarz are sent back to Juniors (a likelihood for the latter).
The Flyers are currently just over $2 million over the league’s upper limit, so they will have to shed some cap space. The likely candidates are defenseman Braydon Coburn or Andrej Meszaros (or Grossmann to a lesser extent). The Flyers have nine blue-liners signed to one-way contract; and young players such as Oliver Lauridsen are knocking on the door of NHL playing time as well.
The battle for the top seven defenseman with the big club will be an interesting one. Timonen, Schenn, and Streit are givens. Coburn, Meszaros, and Grossmann are givens for whichever two aren’t traded. That brings us to five defenseman. Bruno Gervais and Erik Gustafasson are also on one-way contracts, and Gustafsson more than deserves a spot with the big club; especially after a very impressive world championships. That leaves Gervais battling Bourdon and Lauridsen for the extra spot.
As reported by Bill Meltzer, it is looking more and more likely that Simon Gagne will come to camp as an invitee. I’m hoping he is ultimately signed because I think he would slot in nicely on the wing next to Sean Couturier and opposite someone like Matt Read. With having an available contract to give, and even having to move one to become cap-compliant, the Flyers should have no problems signing Gagne if they decide to.
Also vying for that third-line winger spot will be, Michael Raffl who will be coming over to North America from a Swiss League, and youngsters Tye McGinn and Jason Akeson.
The fourth line center position will be a battle between rookie and veteran. Last year’s first round pick Scott Laughton appears ready to make the NHL after five games in the NHL last year followed by an impressive junior season. He will competing with the re-signed Adam Hall who was a welcome addition in the faceoff circles as well as a steady defensive presence at the end of last season.
The Flyers have some tough decisions to make, with the necessary jettisoning of a blueliner being the most critical one. It’s going to be an exciting training camp and season for the Flyers and I can’t wait for the puck to drop.