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Wellwood reassignment has a lot of meaning for Flyers

Briere could play tonight; McGinn climbs depth chart; Laughton looks like he's staying
Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 3:04 PM ET
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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The Flyers made a small roster move Saturday that could be the first in a series of dominoes that leads to bigger impacts on the team.

General Manager Paul Holmgren confirmed that Eric Wellwood was loaned back to the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL.

That leads to three important items.

1. The Flyers needed the roster spot for Danny Briere. Briere is on the road trip with the team and is expected to be back in the lineup during one of the next three games. Holmgren said that Briere was a game-time decision for the game against the Florida Panthers tonight despite Briere telling reporters that his wrist, fractured in Germany last month, wasn’t feeling great and that he still can’t take faceoffs.

However, Briere could be inserted on the wing – maybe even with Claude Giroux, with whom he practiced earlier in the week – and play a regular shift without having to take a draw.

Teams are allowed to carry a maximum of 23 players on the roster, and if Briere is to play tonight, they needed to have a spot available for him – which is why Wellwood had to be moved.

2. Wellwood wasn’t the only guy who could have been moved to Adirondack, but this is evidence that Tye McGinn has impressed the coaches enough to vault past Wellwood on the forward depth chart with the way he’s played in his two games with the Flyers. McGinn is playing on the No. 2 power play, getting a regular shift as a third line left wing, and had an impressive fight victory over rough-and-tumble Kris Newbury of the New York Rangers Thursday.

3. Scott Laughton is probably going to make the team for the entire season. Tonight is his fifth game, which is the maximum a junior-eligible player can play this season without having to burn the first year of his entry-level contract or count toward an organization’s 50=contract maximum. The Flyers could still send him back to Oshawa of the OHL after tonight’s game and recall Wellwood – who made the trip to Florida with the team, but if you listen to anybody in the organization talk about Laughton, you get the sense that is not the case.

The move also gives the Flyers a little more salary cap breathing room and prevents them from having to use the long-term injury exception and allows them to continue to bank cap space for future roster decisions without using LTIR for Chris Pronger, Matt Walker, Scott Hartnell or Andrej Meszaros.

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37

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