VOORHEES, N.J. – Trying to sneak a player as talented as Danick Martel down to the Phantoms by putting him on waivers always has its risks.
The Flyers were reminded of this Saturday when Martel was claimed just before 12 noon by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Martel enjoyed a strong season for the Phantoms last season, producing 25 goals and 40 points in 59 games, a year after going 20-20-40.
He even was called up for four games with the Flyers.
But pro hockey is a numbers game and the 23-year-old Martel was out of options, so off he goes.
Coach Dave Hakstol was sorry to see Martel go.
No doubt he’s a pure goal-scorer and he has to get pucks in the net to make it in the pros because he’s only 5-8, 162-pounds.
“He’s close (to the NHL),’’ Hakstol said after Saturday’s practice at the Skate Zone. “He’s a good player. Obviously it (a claim by the Lightning) is a good opportunity for him.
“He works hard and you hate to lose a player like that out of your organization. But that’s the business.’’
Knight still in contention
Corban Knight is a name well known to Phantoms fans and maybe some Flyers fans will get to know it soon, too.
Knight is still dressing in the team’s “main’’ room during the preseason, which would seem to mean he still has an outside chance of making the team, either for opening night or somewhere down the road this season.
What else does he have going for him?
Well, he played four years at the University of North Dakota, under a coach by the name of Hakstol.
That certainly can’t hurt his chances. Just ask former Flyer forward Chris VandeVelde.
The 28-year-old Knight could certainly fit into this roster as a utility player.
He has 29 NHL games to his credit (20 with Florida, nine with Calgary) and can rotate in and out of the lineup as a depth player.
“That’s part of being a role player,’’ Hakstol agreed. “You have to be ready to go out and do your job whenever you’re called upon. If you have to come out for a night or two, you have to be ready the next time you’re called upon. That’s part of versatility, part of being a good pro. Everybody wants a larger role, you want guys to be hungry. Glue guys are so important. It’s the glue guys who have a huge impact on the overall outcome.
Knight looks like he’s staked out that locker and doesn’t want to give it up.
“I’m just trying to do what I can to make an impression,’’ Knight said.
The Oliver, B.C. native can play center or wing, kill penalties, etc.
“That’s something I pride myself on,’’ he said. “That’s kind of my chance to make it, as a shutdown PKer.’’
It’s a reunion of sorts for Knight and Hakstol.
“He’s still pretty much the same guy I had in college,’’ Knight said with a grin. “It’s definitely nice to have him on the bench again.’’
Simmonds-Lindblom line in works?
Wayne Simmonds, working his way back slowly from offseason surgery, said he hopes to get into at least one preseason game. From the look of practice, Simmonds could wind up on a third line with Mikhail Vorobyev at center and Oskar Lindblom on left wing.
Both Lindblom and Simmonds like to go to the net but that shouldn’t be a problem. The more traffic a team can get around the net, the better.
“It’s fun,’’ Lindblom said. “You have to be there if you want to score. If you have to take a couple hits to score, that’s the way it is in this league. If you can get that connection (with Simmonds), you can get some easy goals. If I’m in front, just mop it up for him and same thing for him. It was fun in our first practice today and we just have to keep building on that.
Flyers send 5 to Phantoms
The Flyers reduced their roster to 35 players on Saturday by sending center Cole Bardreau, defenseman T.J. Brennan, right wing Phil Varone, left wing Greg Carey and center Radel Fazleev back to the Phantoms.