On Monday afternoon, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren told reporters on a conference call that goalie Michael Leighton is not ready to return to the Flyers after a six-day conditioning period with the Adirondack Phantoms.
Holmgren said that he filed for an extension for the conditioning assignment per the CBA, and a couple hours later, the NHL granted his request. Since the league approved the request, Leighton will return to the Phantoms for two more games.
According to the Flyers website, Leighton will play for Adirondack this coming weekend when the Phantoms play Syracuse and Portland on Friday and Saturday.
That will mean Holmgren will have to make a decision on Sunday on what to do with Leighton, unless they decide to play him on Sunday against the Connecticut Whale in Hartford, Conn. If he plays Sunday, that gives the Flyers an extra day to make a roster decision.
As it stands now, the Flyers have $556,876 in cap space (per CapGeek.com). When Leighton is healthy enough to come off the long-term injured list (LTIR), his cap hit will be $1.555 million, which means Holmgren will have to make a move.
In the conference call, Holmgren said he expects to carry three goalies for “the short term.”
If you’re asking yourself what “the short term” means, Holmgren meant that he’ll have to wait and see what happens before he makes an ultimate decision on what to do with his goaltending situation.
What we know is that Sergei Bobrovsky is not going anywhere, and is the team’s starting goalie.
“Sergei seized the opportunity,” Holmgren said. “We certainly have no intention of sending Sergei down right now because we can, he doesn’t need waivers or anything. We’re not thinking like that.”
Sometime in the next few weeks, the Flyers will move a goalie, whether it’s trading or waiving Brian Boucher or Leighton, but that’s not the move Holmgren will make this weekend.
And with that, what are the Flyers options?
For starters, they’ll have to either waive/trade a player or opt to place Ian Laperriere or Matt Walker on LTIR. As Broad Street Hockey pointed out last week, LTIR may not be the best road to take.
If the Flyers place Laperriere on LTIR doesn’t take his salary off the cap; adding him to LTIR will only allow them to add a player they otherwise could not afford according to George Detweiler of BSH
Another alternative is to transfer Walker from injured reserve to LTIR, who hasn’t played this year after undergoing hip surgery on Oct. 20, or simply waive the 30-year-old defenseman.
Walker has a $1.7 million cap hit, and is expendable given the Flyers’ depth on the blue line.