PHILADELPHIA PA - JANUARY 18: Matt Hendricks #26 of the Washington Capitals lines up Matt Walker #8 of the Philadelphia Flyers for a check during the first period at the Wells Fargo Center on January 18 2011 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, the Flyers have placed defenseman Matt Walker on waivers -- about forty seconds after I posted a story based solely on today being a slow news day. Sheesh.
With Chris Pronger back in the lineup, Walker earns a hefty $1.7 million salary essentially to sit on the bench. By waiving him, that money comes off the salary cap, and at the same time, that large salary could keep other teams from claiming him -- a situation in which the Flyers would get nothing in return.
The news is pretty surprising, honestly. While waiving Walker will certainly save the Flyers a great deal of money against the cap, it seemed that the organization wanted to keep Walker around in case of injury. They like that Walker provides them with NHL depth at the position, and going into the playoffs with that depth seems to be a priority on Paul Holmgren's list.
The timing does make sense, though, as most teams in the league break to head to Raleigh for the All-Star Game or to other locales for a bit or rest and relaxation. They probably hoped that they could slip him under the radar or something.
The move could open the gates for the Flyers to make a move at the deadline, or it could be the precursor to a potential contract extension for pending free-agent Ville Leino. We'll see. Holmgren didn't have to make this move, so the assumption is that he has something up his sleeve.