Salary cap could push Flyers to start season with 20-player minimum

Oskar Lindblom skates on Sunday at the Flyers Training Center (Zack Hill photo).
        Throughout the years it’s pretty much always been standard procedure to carry a spare, 13th forward as well as an extra, seventh defenseman in case of an injury, illness, etc.
      But with the Flyers pressed pretty much right up against the salary cap, coach Alain Vigneault indicated on Sunday he might go into the season opener on Friday against Vancouver with the bare minimum of 20 players (12 forwards, six defensemen, two goaltenders).
      Because the Flyers begin the season with four straight home games, it will be easy to call up someone from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms if a Flyer player is sidelined.
      If that’s the case, there’s really no need for players such as forward Jackson Cates or defensemen Cam York or Nick Seeler to stick around Philly.
      That would be a shame because all three have played well in the preseason.
      According to CapFriendly.com, the Flyers currently are positioned just $319,810 under the salary cap and their projected deadline cap space is $1,599,050.
      “We have until tomorrow at 5 p.m. to put in our lineup (with the NHL office),’’ Vigeneault said. “We’ve had very serious discussions on what we can do within the cap. So we’re still in the process of discussing all the different possibilities. I’m leaning toward 20 guys because of our cap situation. If the cap situation weren’t there, I would prefer to have seven ‘D’ and 13 forwards. But the cap situation comes into play. Because we start at home, we can save some money down the road.’’
      >Ristolainen, Ellis get day off
      With the Flyers in the midst of a six-day break before Friday’s game, the Flyers decided to give both Rasmus Ristolainen and Ryan Ellis a day off for maintendance on Sunday. The Flyers are off Monday, so the two defensemen will have a two-day break before practice resumes on Tuesday.
      >Specialty teams get work
      The Flyers spent much of Sunday’s workout getting down details of both the power play and penalty kill.
      “It was an excellent day,’’ Vigneault said. “We got a lot accomplished.’’
      >Lindblom happy for practice
      Oskar Lindblom, still looking to regain his 2019 form after last year’s battle with cancer, welcomes this week’s practice time and says it will only help the team.
      “Good to get going, the battle drills, get the legs going,’’ he said. “It’s not the most fun but it’s good. When you feel better, it’s going to be a lot more fun to be out there. Now I can enjoy it more, I won’t as tired.’’
      Lindblom said he still isn’t sure if he will be on a line centered by Derick Brassard or Scott Laughton. Either way is fine with him.
      >Team bonding activities
      Brassard disclosed the Flyers planned to spend the second half of Sunday and all of Monday in team bonding activities, including golf in Atlantic City and a team dinner.
      “As a hockey player, the best part is being in the locker room and around your teammates,’’ Brassard said. “Going for dinners and doing stuff with them. The vibes around the room are pretty good. We have seven new faces, some really good personalities. I think our group is pretty tight. It’s going to be fun to play golf.’’
About Wayne Fish 1449 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.