Philadelphia Flyers: Making sense of the roster moves

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Matt Read /

The Philadelphia Flyers opening night roster is set, except for one big problem. Ghost is hurt and the team made confusing moves to cope.

The Kids Aren’t Alright On the Philadelphia Flyers

We are less than a day away from the Philadelphia Flyers season opener out west against the San Jose Sharks. The biggest news from the weekend loss to the Islanders was the roster decisions after the game.

Who Made It? Who Didn’t?

Nolan Patrick and Taylor Leier from the forward group made the final cuts and Robert Hagg from the defensive end. As you most likely already know, Oskar Lindblom was sent to the Phantoms. This is a major disappointment to Flyers fans, but not the end of the world. We are going to see Lindblom play again for the Flyers this season. He is too talented to stay down all season. Lindblom would’ve been a great candidate to replace Brayden Schenn‘s left-handed shot in the slot on the first power-play unit. He has already played and thrived in the professional league in Sweden. It’s possible Hextall wants to give him more time to get used to the smaller ice on the top line for the Phantoms.

What Happened To Matt Read?

Now here is where it gets complicated. The Flyers needed to be down to 23 by Tuesday at 5 pm ET and Shayne Gostisbehere picked up an upper-body injury against the Islanders.

Ghost’s injury doesn’t seem to be THAT bad because he hasn’t been put on IR to open up a roster spot. So, a roster spot needed to be opened up by a forward. The easiest candidate for waivers was Matt Read because he was unlikely to be claimed with a $3.625 million cap hit. According to Charlie O’Connor of The Athletic, Read cleared waivers and was assigned to the Phantoms.

This allows the Flyers to keep 8 defensemen for their western road trip, but this leads us to another frustrating point.

The Kids On the Defensive End

Travis Sanheim and Sam Morin technically make the opening roster because of the Ghost injury, but one of them is going down to the Phantoms once Ghost is healthy and Read is recalled.

It’s disappointing, to say the least. Sanheim seems the likely candidate to be sent down for more seasoning and because his play most resembles Ghost’s. But all three of the young defensemen deserved to make the team. From what Hextall has said in the past, veterans weren’t going to get in the way of the kids IF they were ready. Just from the eye test in the preseason, all three played to their strengths and played very well. The advanced numbers bode well for all three as well. The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor had a great piece breaking down the entry and exit data of all three players. (Behind a paywall.)

Another Early indication as to who might play on Wednesday if Ghost sits is the practice lines from Monday.

This is just speculation, but it seems to me that if Ghost doesn’t go then Morin will be the scratch. If Ghost can go, then Ghost would slide next to Hagg on his natural left defensive spot and Morin would take Sanheim’s spot next to Gudas. That is just a guess though because those line combinations could mean any number of things for this opening game against the Sharks.

Next: The Good and the Bad From Tonight’s Philadelphia Flyers Preseason Matchup

Conclusion: More Good Than Bad

Although it’s super disappointing to see Lindblom and one of Morin or Sanheim go down to the Phantoms, let’s look on the bright side. This lineup has done a complete 180 compared to last year’s group. Hagg, Weal, Patrick, and Leier join young talent like Konecny and Provorov to replace players that are basically replacement level players or worse. Michael Del Zotto, Nick Schultz, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and Chris VandeVelde will not be on the ice for the Philadelphia Flyers and that should make fans very happy. This roster has the makings of one that can compete as early as next year, but it still is a tough pill to swallow not seeing the young guys get thrown out there this season.