The reasoning behind the Zolnierczyk call-up is clear: Jaromir Jagr is questionable for tonight's game, and Jakub Voracek almost certainly doesn't have his wits about him following that devastating hit from Niklas Kronwall on Tuesday. Both players left in the second period of that game and could be out of the lineup tonight, thus creating the need for an extra forward.
As for Manning, the AHL rookie with just 32 professional games under his belt, the reasons are a little less clear. And what about the salary cap?
Perhaps it's just for some defensive depth? Even with both Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros out of the lineup due to injury, the Flyers have a full complement of defensemen. It doesn't seem like any of those six guys -- Carle, Kubina, Grossmann, Coburn, Lilja, Gustafsson -- were injured on Tuesday night, and Gus was reportedly the only one who skated on Wednesday's optional skate.
The Manning recall counts against the so-called "Four Recall Rule," which only allows for four player recalls between the trade deadline and the end of the regular season. The only way around that rule is with regards to emergency call-ups, which are allowed when a team cannot ice a full roster (12 forwards, six defensemen, two goalies) due to illness, injury or suspension.
In the case of Manning, the Flyers have six healthy defensemen on the roster (assuming nobody else is hurt). No emergency there -- and it doesn't make sense to use one of the four available recalls just to have a guy sit out of the lineup.
In the case of Zolnierczyk, however, it appears the Flyers could be citing emergency conditions. If both Jagr and Voracek are unable to play tonight, that would leave the Flyers with just 11 healthy forwards (including Jody Shelley), thus allowing the use of the emergency recall provision.
As far as we know, none of the call-ups since the deadline have used emergency provisions. Eric Wellwood and Eric Gustafsson were the other two, which would put the Flyers at three of their four possible recalls post-deadline, barring the question of Zolnierczyk's recall status.
Now, the real question here: How are the Flyers fitting the combined $1.8 million cap hits of Zolnierczyk and Manning under the salary cap? Perhaps today's roster moves are not yet complete. Somebody could be going on LTIR. We'll have to wait and see on that.