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Meltzer's Musings: Wednesday Quick Hits

May 28, 2014, 10:29 AM ET [607 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Wednesday Quick Hits

* Many times in recent years, the Flyers have bumped up against the 50-contract reserve list limit as they prepare for the next season. This year, the Flyers are actually in good shape in terms of available slots to add and sign prospects.

According to Capgeek.com, the Flyers currently have 33 players under NHL contract, with two slide-rule eligible contracts. While Robert Hägg is unlikely to slide (he figures to play for the Phantoms next season), 2013 first-round pick Samuel Morin could slide back to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for one more season.

The Flyers have 11 restricted free agents, but not all of these players will receive qualifying offers and/or re-sign with the organization. Brayden Schenn, Jason Akeson, Tye McGinn, Cal Heeter, Erik Gustafsson (who has already signed to play in the KHL next season) are all shoo-ins to receive qualifying offers. Add Brandon Manning to the list as well. At age 25, Kyle Flanagan is not looking like an NHL prospect at this point but still has the potential to be a solid AHL offensive player.

Concussion-riddled Marc-Andre Bourdon, sadly, is not currently a good candidate to receive a qualifying offer. He may be signed to an AHL-only deal at some point, which could be replaced with an NHL contract if he remains healthy. It is unlikely that non-prospect defensemen Tyler Hostetter or Cullen Eddy will receive qualifying offers.

Not counted on the reserve list is impending unrestricted free agent defenseman Kimmo Timonen. If he elects to play one more NHL season before retiring, the Flyers will re-sign him.

All totaled, the Flyers should have plenty of reserve list room to fit in whomever they sign this summer. Hopefully, this will translate into a boost for the Phantoms as well as the farm system as a whole. At the NHL level, the Flyers still have salary cap juggling to do.

* Over on the Flyers' official Web site, there is an interesting Q&A with head coach Craig Berube. The coach re-emphasized that his top priorities for next season are to continue to shore up the team defense (forwards as well as defensemen) and to make further strides as a puck possession team.

* One experiment I would like to see the Flyers undertake next season is to try to work Brayden Schenn onto the top power play unit in the spot currently occupied by Scott Hartnell. Schenn has a better shot than Hartnell's and the play in which Hartnell moves inside the left hash marks for a shot opportunity might translate well with Schenn being the one to pull the trigger instead. At this point, Hartnell is still the more reliable of the two players in winning battles along the walls and creating room (which is why the spot still belongs to him) but if Schenn can slightly improve his consistency in that area, it might be something worth trying.

* On NJ.com, Randy Miller has a good prospect profile today on Phantoms defenseman Mark Alt. In particular, there is a detailed assessment of Alt's progress by Phantoms coach Terry Murray. The profile is part of a series of sketches on players in the Philadelphia system.
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