The Flyers roster will be a lot more clear as training camp progresses as players are sent down to the Phantoms, but given their offseason salary cap situation, money might have an impact on who makes the team once camp breaks, and who does not. And for one highly-touted prospect on defense, his salary might just help him crack the roster.
Here's how Shayne Gostisbehere making the team could benefit the team in terms of the salary cap.
As they currently stand, the Flyers are roughly $3.06 million over the $69 million salary cap based on the 22-man roster from CapGeek. This includes Jason Akeson and Jay Rosehill as the eleventh and twelfth forwards. It also includes Chris Pronger as an eighth defenseman.
In order for the Flyers to maximize their cap space this upcoming season, they need to take advantage of Chris Pronger's LTIR allowance. Their options are to get under the $69 million salary cap (but as close to it as possible) before placing him on LTIR, or to get as close to $4.94 million (Pronger's cap hit) over the salary cap as is possible before placing him on LTIR.
It's not looking like that first option will be possible barring a trade. So that leaves the second option.
If the Flyers could get to $4.94 million over the cap, they could then place Pronger on LTIR on the last day of camp. They would be deemed to have already replaced Chris Pronger at that point, and would have replaced every penny of Pronger's cap hit.
They could stand pat and still place Pronger on LTIR on the last day of camp, but then they would only be using $3.06 million (the amount they are currently over) of the potential $4.94 million of Pronger's cap hit.. So it behooves the Flyers to spend more.
Considering CapGeek's current projections include a 22-man roster, that means there is one more roster spot available. It would be stupid for the Flyers to not use it, effectively increasing their payroll and then declaring Pronger to be on LTIR.
So who's the most expensive non-roster player the Flyers can give that 23rd roster spot to? None other than Ghost Bear. (Ok, Peter Straka and Robert Hagg have the same cap hit as well.)
By keeping Gostisbehere (or Straka or Hagg) on the 23-man roster, they would then be ~$3.985 million over the cap; effectively using even more of the LTIR space they are allowed. They can then send him back down on the first day of the season, and have that wiggle room left over.
Actually, since it's beneficial to basically build the most expensive roster among potential candidates as they can, the Flyers could consider replacing their cheapest players with more expensive non-roster players. The only players that would qualify would be Jay Rosehill, Zac Rinaldo, and Jason Akeson.
All three players, however, are not waiver exempt, meaning you'd have to risk them all on waivers in order to send them down. It would obviously be no big deal for Rosehill. Many also probably wouldn't care too much with losing Rinaldo, but I'd personally be a bit bummed if Akeson was claimed for nothing.
Regardless, for the sake of the example, let's assume all three players are waived, clear, and sent down to the Phantoms. They are then replaced with the three remaining most expensive non-roster players in Straka, Hagg, and Sam Morin. That's a net gain of $1.669 million in payroll bringing them up to $4.730 million over the cap.
Again, Pronger would be placed on LTIR, effectively giving the Flyers that $4.730 allowance over the cap. Gostisbehere, Morin, Hagg, and Straka would presumably all be sent down, with Akeson, Rosehill, Rinaldo, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, or whomever they deem acceptable, recalled to accurately fill out the roster.
The Flyers would then have just a tiny bit more wiggle room.
It's not exactly realistic to expect the Flyers to risk three players on waivers to try to milk every last drop of cap space that they can get. But it is realistic -- in fact it should be expected -- that the Flyers should fill that 23rd roster spot with the most expensive, waiver exempt player they can; and that just might be Gostisbehere.