Flyers recall Brayden Schenn, continue to artfully dodge the salary cap

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According to CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio, the Flyers have recalled highly-touted prospect Brayden Schenn from their AHL affiliate in Adirondack.

This is fairly big news in the City of Brotherly Love. Schenn, one of the signature pieces of the Mike Richards-to-Los Angeles trade, is one of hockey’s best young talents and absolutely tore it up with the Phantoms (4G-4A-8PTS in four games.) But hey, let’s  be honest here — Schenn would’ve been with the parent club from Day 1 had economics not played a role.

Publicly, the Flyers suggested Schenn started in the minors so he could recover from a shoulder injury, but the $1.75 million they saved off the salary cap (Schenn’s contract had a bonus structure where his cap hit would drop if he played one game in the AHL) was hard to ignore. According to Capgeek.com, the Flyers have the NHL’s highest payroll with no wiggle room whatsoever. This explains why GM Paul Holmgren sent Zac Rinaldo (who KOed Drew Doughty over the weekend) and Harry Zolnierczyk (who scored his first NHL goal last night) down to the AHL today — he needed space for Schenn.

[NB: According to Panaccio, the Flyers have “about $21,000 in cap space,” which is “nowhere near what they will need to survive the season as a Stanley Cup contender.”]

But enough with the money talk — the focus now is on where Schenn, a center, fits in the lineup. Philly is deep down the middle with Daniel Briere, Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Max Talbot, and one would think Schenn needs to play in a top-nine role (at least). The easiest solution might be to send the 18-year-old Couturier back to junior in Drummondville, but he’s got three points in four games and is tied for the team lead with a plus-4 rating.

It’ll be interesting to see how Holmgren juggles things from here on in.