The Flyers may have kept primarily silent on NHL trade deadline day, however, they did make one depth move that could pay dividends.
With time running out on the 3 P.M. deadline, general manager Paul Holmgren acquired 6-foot-5, 228 lbs. brute force winger Tom Sestito from the Columbus Blue Jackets for the Flyers 2010 third-round pick Michael Chaput and 26-year-old center and AHL regular, Greg Moore.
Sestito will be immediately assigned to the Adirondack Phantoms.
Sestito, 23, a Columbus third round pick in 2006, played nine games with the Blue Jackets this season, earning a pair of goals, assists and 40 penalty minutes. Big, mean and physical is Sestito’s game. A willing fighter and role-player, the native New Yorker could be used as a net presence and physical entity.
Certainly a project if the Flyers want more than specialized duty from him, Sestito could work as a depth call up or “black ace” come playoff time. Although Sestito might not be the ideal choice to play any post-season games, considering the Flyers’ vapid depth pool, he is an upgrade at 14th or 15th forward.
Marc-Andre Bourdon’s season just keeps getting worse.
Entering the preseason behind seventh defender Oskars Bartulis on the Flyers’ defensive depth chart, the former third-round selection in the 2008 NHL draft, has had a down year with the league-worst Adirondack Phantoms, scoring just one goal and six assists with a minus-11 rating in 33 games. His performance as a 21-year-old, which has been unimpressive all season, has even recently landed him in the press box as a healthy scratch.
Just an FYI, the Adirondack Phantoms are holding an online Ebay auction for game-worn player jerseys. There is only one day remaining to bid, so act fast. Players include Eric Wellwood, Zac Rinaldo, Kevin Marshall, among others.
The team may have seen better days but the sweaters aren’t bad looking.
According to Capgeek.com on Tuesday, the Flyers have signed undrafted and hard-nosed defenseman Brandon Manning, to a three-year entry level contract.
Manning, 20, has dominated in points from the blue line for the Chilliwack Bruins of the WHL this season, scoring 10 goals and 16 assists in just 20 games. Although not massive in size at 6-foot-1, 195 lbs., he plays a very physical style and does not hesitate to drop the gloves, where he can throw with both hands. Reliable and straightforward, Manning is also the team’s captain.
With the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, in disarray at a league-worst 3-14-2, something needed to be done. And on Sunday, it was.
General manager Paul Holmgren pulled the trigger on a deal that sent inactive forward Patrick Maroon and forward David Laliberte to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman and former Phantom Danny Syvret and forward Rob Bordson.
In a surprise announcement by the Flyers on Monday, forward Riley Cote has declared his retirement at the age of 28. He will become an assistant coach with the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League.
Cote, who was set to make $550,000 this season had he not been sent to the AHL, played 156 career games with the Flyers where he racked up 411 penalty minutes.
After spending over a month on the sidelines recovering from abdomen surgery, Flyers’ goaltender Ray Emery hinted at making an early return between the pipes tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. But it wasn’t until early Saturday morning, nine hours before the game, that the Flyers delayed the comeback attempt.
The Phantoms’ schedule may not bring as much excitement as it once did when the team resided in Philadelphia, but here is the full Adirondack schedule for 2009-10. Replacing Hershey as the Phantoms’ geographical rival, will be Albany, who will face the Flyers’ affiliate 12 times.
Today was a day for the Flyers front office to re-up some of their property, inking defenseman Danny Syvret to a one-year deal, forward Zac Rinaldo to a three-year entry deal and defenseman David Sloane to a one-year AHL deal.
With former coach John Paddock taking over Assistant General Manager duties, the Adirondack Phantoms have hired former Calgary Flames and Toronto Marlies’ coach Greg Gilbert as the head coach for the 2009-10 AHL season.
“We are pleased to add Greg to our organization as head coach of the Phantoms,” said General Manager Paul Holmgren. “He has a wealth of coaching experience at many levels and has shown a unique ability to work well with younger players.”
In three seasons with the Marlies, Gilbert racked up a respectable 123-89 record. However, he didn’t fare as well in his three years in Calgary, finishing his tenure, 14 games under .500.
Gilbert was also a player, appearing in close to 850 NHL games, most with the New York Islanders. Gilbert holds the NHL record as the only man to win a Stanley Cup with both the Islanders and New York Rangers.
Ryan Bright (Philabright@gmail.com) is a sports writer, born and raised in the Philadelphia area. A graduate of West Chester University, he has been with the Daily Local News in Chester County since early 2007, working as the paper's college and high school ice hockey beat writer. In 2010, began as a contributer for CSNPhilly.com, covering the Flyers and the Philadelphia Union.