Flyers put Matt Walker on waivers; Erik Cole ‘tops their wish list’

The Philadelphia Flyers already boast one of the deepest forward corps in the entire NHL, but rumor has it that the team hopes to clear some space for one more useful player.

CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio reports that the Flyers placed hulking but expendable defenseman Matt Walker on waivers today in hopes that they can sneak him (and his $1.7 million) under the cap. Panaccio also writes that he’s making that space in hopes that they can trade for someone like Carolina Hurricanes power forward Erik Cole.

Cole is in the last year of a contract that includes a $3 million salary and $2.9 million cap hit. On first glance it seems like the Flyers wouldn’t have enough room – even with Walker off the cap – but Panaccio writes that they would open up about $3.6 million in space.

If Walker clears waivers, another $1.7 million will come off the Flyers salary cap, effectively giving them about $3.6 million in cap space.  This move seems to also serve another purpose.

The NHL trade deadline is Feb. 28.

Sources say, if the Carolina Hurricanes, who have gotten themselves back into the playoff picture, decide to become “sellers” instead of “buyers” at the deadline, the Flyers would take a shot at trading for Erik Cole.

Cole, these sources said, sits among the top of the Flyers’ wish list.

The trade deadline rumors should start swirling, especially after this weekend, so we’ll keep you up to date regarding the ones with at least some substance.

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.

Bruins put Morrow on IR, bring up Cross

Brady Skjei, Joe Morrow
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Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.

With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:

Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.

Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.

Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.

The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?