Not exactly a defensive clinic here.
Alright, so this kind of makes sense. As much as Matt Walker has been absolutely terrible in his time with the Flyers this season, and as much as it sucks that he has a $1.7 million cap hit to go with that bad play, he'll be sticking around with the club for the foreseeable future. Brayden Schenn's injury kind of changes everything.
The Flyers have opted to put Schenn on long-term injured reserve, according to Anthony SanFilippo, thus allowing the team to be cap compliant while calling up both forward Zac Rinaldo and defenseman Erik Gustafsson.
With Walker staying in Philadelphia, the Flyers will have seven healthy defensemen on the roster, a very important luxury they did not have against Montreal on Wednesday night. Maybe it's not too important to have an extra defenseman around as the team begins a stretch where four of their next five games are on home ice, but it cannot hurt one bit. No sense in sending Walker down just because.
In addition, it prevents a situation in which Walker could be sent down to Adirondack, only to be recalled and claimed on re-entry waivers in the event of an injury. If Walker had been waived, the Flyers only other option in Glens Falls would have been Kevin Marshall, with both Oskars Bartulis and Walker requiring re-entry waivers.
Walker and Gustafsson will now likely stay with the team until Chris Pronger is able to return to the lineup, or until Schenn returns. Whichever comes first. From there, Walker would need to clear waivers again before being sent to the AHL.
But that's all down the line. For now, Walker and Gustafsson are your sixth and seventh defensemen. In what order? Who knows. Rinaldo is back on the fourth line as well, bumping Sean Couturier up in the lineup until Schenn returns.