BUFFALO _ In a surprise move, the Flyers sent rookie center Scott Laughton back to the AHL Phantoms on Saturday.

GM Ron Hextall said the move was made to free up a roster spot and cap space for the expected return of Braydon Coburn on Sunday in Buffalo.

Laughton, 20, had just two goals and six points in 31 games this season, but he had played well defensively and had supplied physical play. He missed seven games last month with a concussion.

"We're not unhappy with Scott," Hextall said. "He did a nice job, but we think time down there will be beneficial for him."

Laughton began the season with Lehigh Valley, collecting six goals and 11 points in 13 games. He was the Flyers' first-round selection (20th overall) in 2012.

Forward Michael Raffl is also ready to return to the lineup after a bout with pneumonia.

Laughton's demotion means Ryan White, a 26-year-old veteran forward, will remain with the Flyers. The Flyers like the grit supplied by White, who did not have to clear waivers if the team wanted to send him down to Lehigh Valley.

The Flyers are carrying the league-maximum 23 players, including the suspended Zac Rinaldo, who is eligible to return Tuesday.

Here is how the Flyers' lines may look for Sunday's game in Buffalo:

** Michael Raffl-Claude Giroux-Jake Voracek.

** Matt Read-Sean Couturier-Wayne Simmonds.

** Ryan White-Brayden Schenn-R.J. Umberger.

** Chris VandeVelde-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Vinny Lecavalier.

Raffl and Schenn, two versatile players, could also be flip-flopped in the above scenario.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.