We’re not going to bury the lede here gang—the Flyers have announced their next round of cuts and there are some big surprises in here.
The Flyers have loaned the following players to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms:
In addition, the following players have been placed on waivers for the purpose of being assigned to the Phantoms:
And finally, Cal O’Reilly has been released from his PTO and will report to the Phantoms.
The Flyers’ training camp roster now sits at 24 players (excluding those who are injured), and you can see that full roster here.
So where does that leave us? The Flyers are carrying eight defensemen at present, and Cam York is still hanging around. And this is a little bit of a surprise—it had seemed like it was more likely that York would start the season with the Phantoms, given all of the additions on defense in the offseason, then he could at least get playing time rather than sitting in the Flyers’ press box as the extra defenseman. It’s still possible that he ends up being sent down after the Flyers’ final preseason game on Friday and that path remains in play, but the door to making the Flyers out of camp does still seem to be open.
The really big surprise, though, is that Morgan Frost was sent down to the Phantoms. It’s curious considering where he’s at in his development, as well as considering how thin the Flyers realistically are at center right now. And it was clear the Frost wasn’t just going to be handed the 2C job once Kevin Hayes got hurt, but he was also clearly the best, most skilled option to fill in that role. And to start the season without him, even if he only had a fine training camp, is certainly a... curious choice... to put it lightly. Instead we’d be looking at Jackson Cates—who frankly very well might struggle with the pace of play at the NHL level—reasonably having a spot on the opening night roster.
Now, should we be very worked up right this moment? Not necessarily. Alain Vigneault made a point in saying this week that Frost hasn’t been playing poorly, has indeed been getting better with each game played, but still has some work to do to get his timing and confidence all the way back after all of the time he missed, and that’s just going to take time. The Flyers only have one more preseason game on Friday, and then they’re off until the following Friday, but the Phantoms on the other hand will play four preseason games between tonight and next Wednesday, and it’s possible that the Flyers want Frost to get in for those games, let him continue to build momentum, and then call him back up when they’re ready to start the regular season. Is it a sure thing that this is what they’re doing? No, but we’re hopeful that it is, because otherwise... well that sure is a choice.
The door remains open for more roster movement between now and next Friday, so we’ll see how this all shakes out.