Cap trouble keeping Briere out tonight; Ossi and Metro gone for good

Ossi Vaananen and Glen Metropolit were both picked up off of waivers this morning and are no longer members of the Flyers.

Metropolit won't have to go far, as his new team will meet him at the Wachovia Center tonight when the Flyers face the Montreal Canadiens. Vaananen is now a member of  the Vancouver Canucks.

The loss of Metropolit, while he's a good guy around the locker room and everything, doesn't hurt the team much from a hockey sense. There is already a ton of depth on the NHL roster as it is and if there were an injury, somebody like Jared Ross or Andreas Nodl could come up and fill in on that fourth line.

With Vaananen, however, his absence seriously hurts the defensive depth as the team has a total of just six defensemen able to play tonight. Kimmo Timonen is still out with the flu and will not play against Montreal.

Both Ossi and Metro were put on waivers to make room for Briere. That move was not enough to get the Flyers under the cap, though, and here's where the Flyers made a mistake. Lasse Kukkonen was called up from the Phantoms on Tuesday for depth when the Flyers found out Timonen would be out with the flu. Okay, understandable move. 

But with Briere coming back today, Kukkonen on the roster keeps the Flyers over the cap. If you take a look at the salary chart, you'll notice it's been updated with Briere on the roster and Kukkonen off, but the Flyers are just $480,833 under. Add Kukkonen's $875k cap hit, and the Flyers are over the cap. Simply put, Briere cannot come back until Kukkonen is sent down.

So now the Flyers have a catch-22. Briere, one of their best offensive players, is finally ready to play. He can play tonight. But if they send Kukkonen down, they will only have five defensemen playing tonight due to Timonen's absence, and they'd be silly to do that.

Long story short, Briere doesn't play tonight. The team is calling it a game-time decision in case Timonen miraculously feels well enough to play. I wouldn't count on that.

Meanwhile, with no Briere and no Metropolit, there is a void on the offensive end. Who fills that extra spot? It's possible Ross could be called up from the Phantoms so the Flyers are able to dress 12 forwards.

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