Hey, remember Michal Neuvirth? He’s a goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers, and he’s back from injury.
Neuvirth will be back on the bench, backing up Steve Mason on Wednesday night when the Flyers host the New York Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center. Neuvirth went down with a knee injury on November 13 and was set to be out four-to-six weeks. His return will ultimately come a little over seven weeks from that original timetable.
Neuvirth now faces the task of earning playing time back from Mason, who has run away with the starting role — and, as a result, the best odds on returning to the team next year — in Neuvy’s absence. Both goaltenders are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, and their play over the next four (or five, or six) months will determine who will be back next season.
In a corresponding move, the Flyers have assigned Anthony Stolarz to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Stolarz started just two games since being called up when Neuvirth went down, but he also played in relief twice for Mason. In total, Stolarz stopped 90 of 96 shots sent his way in 201 minutes played -- good for a .938 save percentage.
The Flyers will likely have to make one more move today to get under the cap, as the Neuvirth-for-Stolarz swap puts them $119,801 over the cap. Roman Lyubimov, Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov are the only waiver-exempt players on the roster, so it’s very possible that Lyubimov becomes the cap casualty who is sent to the Phantoms.
The Flyers could opt to send down Andrew MacDonald, knowing that his massive contract will not be claimed on waivers. That would only leave Philadelphia with six healthy defensemen on the active roster, however, so we probably shouldn’t expect it.