The Flyers put seven players on waivers Monday, including left winger Samuel Morin and goaltender Alex Lyon, as they get closer to finalizing their roster for Wednesday’s season opener against visiting Pittsburgh.
Defensemen Derrick Pouliot, Chris Bigras, Tyler Wotherspoon, and Nate Prosser also were placed on waivers, along with center/left winger Andy Andreoff.
If they clear waivers at noon on Tuesday, they could be put on the Flyers’ six-player taxi squad or be sent to the AHL’s Phantoms. They also would be eligible to be on the Flyers’ 23-man roster, but that would be surprising.
Those still on entry-level deals — such as forwards Morgan Frost, Connor Bunnaman, Linus Sandin, Carsen Twarynski, and Wade Allison, defensemen Egor Zamula and Wyatte Wylie, and goalie Felix Sandstrom — do not have to go through waivers.
Mark Friedman would have to clear waivers, but the Flyers didn’t expose the defenseman, presumably because they feared losing him to another team. He is expected to start the season on the Flyers’ 23-man roster, and he would be their eighth defensemen — the seventh if Shayne Gostisbehere is still ill or injured.
The hard-luck Morin, a 2013 first-round draft pick who is being converted from a defenseman to a left winger, could end up on the taxi squad if he clears waivers, or the Flyers might decide he needs some time with the Phantoms to learn his new position.
Two torn ACLs and other injuries have stunted Morin’s development, and he was shifted to left wing in camp.
“I’m fighting for my career,” Morin, a physical 6-foot-7, 230-pounder, said last week.
The AHL’s regular season is expected to start Feb. 5, so if Morin clears waivers, he might be placed on the taxi squad before going to Lehigh Valley.
In Sunday’s intrasquad scrimmage at the Wells Fargo Center, Morin was on a line with Andreoff and Twarynski. He seemed to get more comfortable as the game progressed, and delivered two checks on one shift.
“This was his first game [at left wing] and for a young man like that to play out of position basically, part of his game is being physical, it is a challenge,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “It is not easy. You don’t want to run over your teammates. I thought for the most part he did well.”
If Lyon clears waivers, he figures to land on the taxi squad because each team is required to carry three goalies. Taxi-squad players will work out and travel with the NHL team and are insurance in case of an injury or a COVID-19 illness.
The Flyers’ lineup for Wednesday’s opener is expected to look like this:
Gostisbehere, unless he is still on the “unfit to play” list, and Friedman are expected to be the extra defensemen, and that would leave room for one extra forward, who could come from a group that includes Frost, Sandin, and Bunnaman. Frost, 21, was the best of that group in Sunday’s scrimmage.
“I think I had a good second effort,” said Frost, a first-round selection in 2017 (27th overall, 25 spots after Patrick was drafted) who had seven points in 20 games with the Flyers last season. “I was moving my feet well and I think that was my theme throughout camp — to try to work hard and win more battles and be a two-way player.”
Was he good enough to land a spot on the Flyers’ roster? We should know Tuesday.