Brian Boucher is already practicing with the Adirondack Phantoms, and it looks as though defenseman Andreas Lilja is about to join him. The two players cleared waivers, as expected, at 12 p.m. ET Thursday and will be AHL players to start this season.
The only thing that could potentially keep Lilja in town would be an injury to Andrej Meszaros, but the Flyers still have seven defensemen in town without Mesz, so Lilja's not really needed even if there's an injury right now. It seems like Meszaros is going to play Saturday anyway and it makes sense that the Phantoms are expecting Lilja in town for Friday's practice.
There's been a bit of confusion on Lilja cap hit, but as we assumed when he was first waived yesterday, Lilja will indeed cost the Flyers $637,500 against the salary cap while playing in the AHL. Did the Flyers really not know how this worked? Seems that way. Here's assistant GM Barry Hanrahan yesterday when asked by CSN about this:
Flyers assistant GM Barry Hanrahan says there will be NO cap hit for Andreas Lilja to go to the Phantoms.— Sarah Baicker (@sbaickerCSN) January 16, 2013
And then today, here's Hanrahan again:
CLARIFICATION ON LILJA: The #Flyers *will* be charged a hit for him to play in the AHL: his cap hit minus $100k, which equals $637,500 (1/2)— Sarah Baicker (@sbaickerCSN) January 17, 2013
He's on a 35-plus contract, and a quick check of CapGeek (let alone a full reading of the CBA, the document which Hanrahan's paid to understand) would have told you that Lilja should hit the cap at $637,500. This isn't hard.
There may have been some confusion in the questioning of Hanrahan, but the facts are pretty black and white: The Flyers said there wasn't a cap hit, but it was pretty damn clear that there was a cap hit.
Now, the Flyers are paying two non-roster defensemen against the salary cap this season: Oskars Bartulis at $100,000 following his buy out last summer and now Lilja. The second-year of this Lilja contract has been frustrating since the minute it was signed in June 2011, and that's coming to real-life fruition now.
Luckily, the Flyers have the room under the cap right now. They're making a good on-ice decision by dropping Lilja and keeping both Kurtis Foster and Bruno Gervais as their depth defensemen at the NHL level, but it's quite a bit frustrating that they a) still don't understand the nuance of the CBA and b) that Lilja is still in the organization at all.