Depth chart breakdown 12/5
The reason for this is that recent labor talks appear to be amicable and there's a sense of optimism that a new collective bargaining agreement could be drafted to salvage the coming season.
If that were to happen, the Adirondack Phantoms would lose a couple of players to the Flyers. I thought it might be interesting to see which of those guys might wind up getting the call to the NHL. I put the players on AHL contracts in bold italics.
Adirondack would definitely lose Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn to Philadelphia, but I think the rest of the call-ups would come down to some battles. And there are probably only a couple of spots with the parent club that are up for grab. Let's take a closer look.
-- Someone is going to have to play that second line left wing position and there are a lot of potential candidates. You could potentially see Schenn there, which would form a nice, balanced line with Danny Briere and Wayne Simmonds or Matt Read. I think that might be actually the most likely.
-- The fourth line is where things get interesting. I don't think any of the bottom-six right wings are ready to play in the NHL, so you'll probably have to go with Couturier or Max Talbot at center and then two of Jody Shelley, Zac Rinaldo, Tom Sestito, Harry Zolnierczyk and Eric Wellwood at wing.
-- I think Zolnierczyk absolutely deserves one of the spots based on his play through the first quarter of the season, but it could come down to a battle royale for the other spot. Shelley will probably make the NHL team, so it'd likely be one of Sestito, Wellwood or Rinaldo to give the Flyers a 13th forward.
-- Defense is also interesting. Chris Pronger continues to feel the effects of post-concussion syndrome and has moved back to St. Louis, according to the Philadelphia Daily News, so he most likely won't be ready to go for the start of the season. Andrej Meszaros is rehabbing an Achilles tendon injury and the defensive picture could change significantly if he is ready to go at the start of the year. Suppose he isn't. Then you're looking at a healthy Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Luke Schenn, Nicklas Grossmann, Andreas Lilja (who is expected to be cleared soon) and Bruno Gervais on one-way NHL contracts. That's six players right there. It'd likely come down to Erik Gustafsson, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Brandon Manning and Matt Walker for the seventh spot. Walker isn't playing now and out of the other three I think Gustafsson would have to be the frontrunner. If Meszaros can go, though, there's a remote chance you might not even see Gustafsson go back to the NHL right off the bat.
Assuming, of course, the labor talks continue trending upward and there's a reason for the optimism.
Until next time,