Earlier today the Flyers announced that forwards Cole Bardreau, Phil Varone, and Greg Carey, along with defenseman T.J. Brennan, have all cleared waivers and have be assigned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL. Joining them is waiver exempt forward Radel Fazleev, and, as you’ve probably heard by now, Danick Martel was claimed by the Tampa Bay Lightning. So, the roster has now been reduced by six players, leaving them with 35 players in total.
Bardreau had an outside shot at making the Flyers this season, as did Martel, but it’s clear now that he is no longer a part of the battle for the final few spots in the bottom six. Those battles are now between Mikhail Vorobyev, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Corban Knight, Carsen Twarynski, and Tyrell Goulbourne. Not only will they continue to battle it out between themselves, at this point they’ll also be looking to outplay players on the bubble in Jori Lehtera, Dale Weise, and Taylor Leier.
Based on his performance in preseason, the talk surrounding him from management, and his continued role in line rushes, let’s assume Vorobyev is as close to a lock as possible without truly being a lock just yet. If he has won the the third line center role, that would seemingly leave two spots up for grabs on the fourth line to play alongside Scott Laughton and of course two spots in the press box as healthy scratches to start the season. Contracts give Lehtera and Weise an edge up on the competition, but Ron Hextall has shown in the past that he’s not afraid to waive a player on a large contract.
For the defensemen, the two non-locks remaining are Philippe Myers and Mark Friedman. Myers certainly has a better chance to make the team, although with Andrew MacDonald seemingly ahead of schedule, they both may end up back in Lehigh Valley. If we’re to put any stock in a veteran’s preseason performance, one “lock” that maybe shouldn’t be viewed as such a strong lock anymore is Christian Folin. It’s not out of the realm of possibilty that he ends up getting waived before the season starts, leaving a spot to Phil Myers, although it is still unlikely. Folin looks to be the team’s 7th defenseman, and if he’s not there, that role would have to go to one of MacDonald, Gudas, Hagg, Myers, or Sanheim, with it likely going to one of the last two.
*Pascal Laberge, like Samuel Morin, is injured and remains on the training camp roster for now.