Boyd Gordon, signed to a one-year, $950,000 deal by the Flyers on the opening day of free agency, has been waived after appearing in just 13 games, per Sportsnet.
Gordon, 32, was brought aboard because of his versatility to play either center or wing. GM Ron Hextall also praised the veteran’s penalty killing ability in announcing the deal back in July, though Gordon never really established himself among the Flyer’s forward ranks.
He only scored one goal this year, and averaged just over eight minutes per night in his 13 appearances. Gordon was made a healthy scratch by head coach Dave Hakstol on a number of occasions, but also missed some time in December to an upper-body injury.
Philly has been doing a salary cap tap dance for most of the year, so waiving Gordon doesn’t come as a huge surprise. If he clears, they can send him to AHL Lehigh Valley and get some cap relief, and if he’s claimed… well, obviously his entire hit goes away.
After gaining just four points out of a possible 16 in their last eight games — and suddenly in danger of falling out of a wild-card spot — the Philadelphia Flyers are making changes ahead of tomorrow’s home game against Tampa Bay.
The changes start in goal, where Michal Neuvirth is expected to make his first start since getting injured in a game against Minnesota on Nov. 12.
Neuvirth has a decent record, 4-2-0, but a lowly save percentage of .859. He’ll give Steve Mason a rest, after Mason allowed four goals on 27 shots in Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to the Rangers.
“I wasn’t good enough,” said Mason, per CSN Philly. “It’s pretty simple.”
Head coach Dave Hakstol also shook up his top three forward lines ahead of Saturday’s afternoon affair.
Top-line center Claude Giroux had a new right winger, Matt Read, with Michael Raffl still on the left side; right winger Jake Voracek dropped to the second line, which had a new center, Sean Couturier, and Travis Konecny on the left. The third line had Brayden Schenn centering Wayne Simmonds, with Nick Cousins and Dale Weise alternating at left wing.
Only the fourth line – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare cenetring Chris VandeVelde and Boyd Gordon – was the same as the last game. Gordon, however, could be replaced by Roman Lyubimov.
It’s a big game for both teams tomorrow. The Flyers are only three points ahead of the Lightning, who’ve had their own issues lately.
The Bolts have dropped two straight and are coming off a 6-1 loss to Nashville on Thursday evening.
The Flyers also play Sunday in Columbus.
Already down the services of Boyd Gordon and Michal Neuvirth, Philly added a third player to its injured reserve list on Wednesday — Sean Couturier, who suffered an MCL sprain in last night’s game against the Panthers.
Couturier was hurt in the second period after getting tangled with Florida forward Vincent Trocheck. He left the game immediately, and didn’t return.
In a related move, the Flyers recalled Scott Laughton from AHL Lehigh Valley.
Losing Couturier is a major blow. He, along with linemates Jake Voracek and rookie Travis Konecny, has been a staple of the Flyers lineup this season. The 23-year-old has five goals and eight points through 20 games, averaging 18:07 TOI while serving as one of the club’s top faceoff men.
If there is a silver lining here, it’s Laughton. A former first-round pick, he was in the American League on a conditioning loan — he’s yet to play for Philly this year, due to a lower-body ailment — and looked good, scoring eight points in eight games for the Phantoms.
The Flyers are back in action tonight in Tampa Bay, and it’s possible Laughton could make his regular season debut.
Update: Per Flyers GM Ron Hextall, Couturier will be out 4-6 weeks.
Philly made a pair of roster moves ahead of Friday’s game in Toronto, sending forwards Roman Lyubimov and Scott Laughton down to AHL Lehigh Valley.
Laughton, the club’s first-round pick in 2012, hasn’t played this year due to injury. He’s already spent a bit of time in the American League on a conditioning stint with the Phantoms, scoring two points in two games.
Lyubimov, 24, made his NHL debut earlier this year and has been a steady presence in the lineup, scoring one goal while averaging 9:14 TOI in 11 games.
At first glance, it’s unclear why Philly made these transactions today:
The Flyers are pressed against the cap ceiling, so it’s possible these moves could be financially driven. Boyd Gordon is currently on long-term injured reserve, a move that happened after the club activated defenseman Michael Del Zotto.
Already down the services of Michael Raffl, Michael Del Zotto and Scott Laughton, the Flyers suffered another blow on the injury front Tuesday, announcing that Boyd Gordon would be out at least a week with an upper-body ailment.
Gordon, a veteran penalty killer and bottom-six checking forward, signed over from Arizona this past summer. One of Philly’s more active guys on the dot, he sits fourth on the team in faceoffs taken but leads in winning percentage (52.4).
In eight games, Gordon has one goal while averaging 8:31 TOI per night.
Beyond this injury, the Flyers could be making some lineup adjustments for tomorrow’s game against Detroit (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Raffl could make his return to the lineup at the expense of Chris Vande Velde.