Dustin Penner

Hextall nixes rumors of Penner attending Flyers camp


Having gone the entire summer without a contract, UFA forward Dustin Penner will probably have to accept a training camp invite this fall in order to continue his NHL career.

One team that doesn’t sound interested in extending said invite? Philadelphia.

From the Courier-Post:

Despite rumors, it looks like the Flyers will not be offering training camp tryouts to free agent forwards Dustin Penner and Ryan Malone. The latter reportedly pleaded no contest last week on a DUI charge and agreed to a “pretrial diversion program” on charges of cocaine possession earlier this summer. It would be rather shocking to see any NHL club take a flier on him.

When Hextall was told about the Penner rumor specifically he said, “I haven’t heard that.”

Penner, 31, split last season between Anaheim and Washington with mixed results. He had some good stretches with the Ducks — including one where he netted 19 points in 18 games — but faded as the trade deadline approached, and failed to do much after his arrival in Washington. Penner had just one goal and three points in 18 games with the Caps, and was allowed to walk in free agency.

Two-time Stanley Cup winner and four-time 20-goal scorer, Penner has the resume to potentially land a gig this fall… but his issues with weight and conditioning are well-documented, and could prevent him from catching on for a 10th NHL campaign.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.