Monday Quick Hits
* With the Trenton Titans ceasing operations, the Flyers were left in need of an ECHL placement team for the 2013-14 season. According to general manager Paul Holmgren, the Flyers will use the Greenville Road Warriors next season. The Flyers affiliated with Greenville prior to going back to Trenton after the Titans ended an official affiliation with the New Jersey Devils. Greenville is currently the official ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers, so it will be a shared arrangement next season. That is not uncommon. Last year, the Devils placed several players with the Titans -- including goaltending prospect Scott Wedgewood and center Kelly Zajac -- despite Trenton's ties to the Flyers.
* The Flyers are currently at 48 contracts, with two (Scott Laughton and Anthony Stolarz) eligible to slide for the season. The team's lone remaining restricted free agent defenseman at this point is Brandon Manning. The Flyers expect to get something done soon with Manning, presumably a one-year or two-year contract. Entering his third professional season, Manning will likely spend most or all of next season with the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms.
* Best of luck to former Flyers and Phantoms goaltender Brian Boucher. The 35-year-old, who has had three NHL stints with the Flyers and four stints within the organization, has prolonged his professional playing career by signed a one-year contract with Swiss NLA team EV Zug. The team had also considering signing deposed New York Islanders starter Rick DiPietro.
* The NHL is not the only pro league undergoing realignment for next season. The AHL also is re-jiggering its divisional alignment for 2013-14. The Phantoms, who will be relocated to the Lehigh Valley in 2014-15, will remain in the Northeast Division for next season, along with the Springfield Falcons (Columbus Blue Jackets affililate), Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils), Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders) and Hartford Wolf Pack (New York Rangers).
* The Flyers are trying to help defense prospect Fredric Larsson (fourth-round pick, 111th overall in 2012 Draft) find a North American team for next season. Although it is not set in stone yet, it appears that he will land with the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms. The Flyers may have as many as four prospects -- Larsson and 2013 draftees Merrick Madsen (G, Des Moines), David Drake (D, Des Moines) and Terrance Amorosa (D, Sioux City) -- in the USHL next season.
Last season in Sweden's J20 SuperElit league, Larsson's Brynäs team experimented for awhile by using him as a net-front forward on the power play in addition to taking five-on-five and penalty killing shifts on defense. Larsson, who scored four goals for the entire season, tallied three of them as a power play forward.
I asked Flyers director of hockey operations Chris Pryor if he thinks the 6-foot-4 Larsson has a chance to someday make a positional switch from defense to power forward, because he plays a banging style that is arguably better suited to the small-rink game in North America and has shown hints that he could be an effective player down low in the offensive zone.
Pryor would prefer not to see Larsson stay at his more accustomed spot.
"We believe Fredric will continue to develop as a defenseman and hopefully playing this season in the USHL -- small ice and North American game -- will enhance his progress," he said.
As a defenseman, Larsson is a physical stay-at-home player in the mold of Nicklas Grossmann or Oliver Lauridsen. He needs to continue to fill out his still-lanky frame and continue to refine his skating and puck skills, but the tools are there to develop over the long term.
* Now-former Phantoms forward Garrett Roe is headed to Austria's EBEL for next season. He has signed with EC Red Bull Salzburg,
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