VOORHEES, N.J. – By placing veteran forward Wade Allison on waivers Friday afternoon, the Flyers look like they’re opening up a lineup spot for one of two rookie right wings – either Bobby Brink or Tyson Foerster.
Plus, that transaction could also make it easier to have one of those freshmen in the lineup and the other to keep around as a spare forward.
The move was made around 2 p.m., just shortly after coach John Tortorella addressed the media following an early afternoon workout at the Flyers Training Center.
Despite a decent showing (nine goals in 60 games), Allison was never one of Tortorella’s favorites last season. The player was in and out of the lineup and went through stretches where he didn’t really have an impact on the game.
If Allison clears waivers, he most likely will report to the AHL Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
As for a platoon system where Brink and Foerster play on “alternate nights,” Tortorella isn’t completely against that notion.
“I don’t think it has to be every game,” the coach said. “That’s one avenue where if we feel that both of them deserve to be here, that’s an avenue we can go to.
“That’s the call we have to make each week as far as how they’re playing. We want to play the kids, we do. But if we’re putting these young players in a spot we feel is hurting their development, they will go down (to Lehigh Valley). Those are the decisions we’re going to have to make weekly. Let’s say Bobby ends up playing for us, maybe five or six games into it, it might be a little bit rich for him, I don’t know.”
So for now, it appears to be wait and see.
“It (a decision) doesn’t have to be after every game, no,” Tortorella said. “But it’s something we have to watch because the stage we’re in as a team – if we’re hurting the kids, then we have to step back.”
If somehow Brink and Foerster catch fire, it will only help an offense which was hardly intimidating last season.
“We don’t have a superstar offensive player,” Tortorella said. “Some teams have a couple. Some teams have one. We don’t. We still have to manufacture goals. But we still have some offensive people here. And the second year into it here, I think we have an understanding how to defend. We want to grow our team into not being afraid to make a play.
“I do have to police that. Trying to create offense and trying to make plays, you can’t cross the line and be an idiot about it. For them to feel confident and grow offensively, I do think I need to turn away some times and just leave it alone.”
>Special teams improving
Even though improvement on special teams didn’t show up too much on the scoresheet in the six preseason games, at least there appeared to be better puck movement on the power play and more aggressive movement on the penalty kill.
As mentioned a number of times, the Flyers’ power play was the worst in the NHL last season and the penalty kill wasn’t much better.
Having Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson, both out last season due to surgeries, back has helped by a lot.
“I certainly have many more penalty killers available,” Tortorella said. “We’re going to have to figure out what the pairs (up front) are going to be. It changes the dynamic of the power play because there are more bodies.
“What if Tyson and Brink are here? There are a lot of different things you have to go through. I look at (Ryan) Poehling and (Garnet) Hathaway. . .that’s going to be half of the penalty kill group. ‘Coots’ (Couturier) and Cam (Atkinson) are going to kill.’’
Both power play and penalty kill are still a work in progress.
“We’re trying to find a template there,” Tortorella said. “I don’t tihnk we’ve totally gotten there with the penalty kill and the power play. But there are many more bodies available to give us some options as far as how we want to go about it.”
Scott Laughton believes just having Couturier and Atkinson on the ice will be a factor in the confidence level.
“Cam brings a lot to the special teams,” Laughton remarked. “It changes the whole dynamic of the forward group.”
Added defenseman Nick Seeler: “We all know our special teams need to get better than last year. It’s great that we have ‘Coots’ and Cam coming back to help us out. I thought we did a really good job in the preseason. Hopefully it translates to the regular season.”