The fog that clouded the Flyers’ roster situation all of training camp has suddenly lifted.
In a conference call on Monday, days prior to the Flyers’ season opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 7, Philadelphia general manager Paul Holmgren cleared the air the best he could, starting with the issues at goaltender and ending with injury updates.
With goaltender Michael Leighton still in limbo with an increasingly worrisome bulging disc, rookie Sergei Bobrovsky will stay with the Flyers as back up, while Brian Boucher becomes the starter. But that wasn’t the surprising news. According to Anthony SanFilippo, Holmgren stated that due to an impressive preseason, the 22-year old Russian is being considered as a possible starter in one of the team’s first couple games.
Earlier in the day, it leaked that goalie Johan Backlund was placed on waivers and will start his season with the Adirondack Phantoms. Due to a long recovery from hip surgery, the 29-year-old only started one preseason game and was pulled as a result of lack of defensive support.
At the crowded forward spot, veteran Bill Guerin was released from his tryout. Holmgren stated that he didn’t believe the winger could help the team. In his place, Andreas Nodl looks to have locked down a roster position, along with Darroll Powe. With the loss of Ian Laperriere to post-concussion syndrome, the Flyers have a need for utility players. Nodl is a big body with excellent defensive skills. However, offensive production remains an issue. Ben Holmstrom and Mike Testwuide were returned to the Phantoms.
Rough line combinations heading into Oct. 7
Carcillo – Richards – Giroux
Hartnell – Briere – Leino
JVR – Carter – Zherdev
Shelley – Betts – Nodl/Powe
On the defensive side, the Flyers will keep all eight potential defenseman, with Matt Walker and Oskars Bartulis as the spare parts. It was believed that one of Walker or Bartulis would be placed on waivers, but both will be kept up for now. MA Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson were both returned to the Phantoms, despite receiving a long look at training camp.
Rough defensive pairings heading into Oct. 7
Pronger – Carle
Timonen – Coburn
Meszaros – O’Donnell
Veteran defenseman Chris Pronger will return to practice with the team on Tuesday. Pronger has been rehabbing his knee after receiving cleanup surgery just prior to training camp. It has not been decided yet on whether Leighton will be placed on LTIR. The decision may hinge on whether the journeyman goaltender needs surgery or not. Laperriere has not yet been placed on LTIR, but is scheduled for another evaluation on Wednesday, which could decide his short-term future.