Schenn: Pure Money Move

General manager Paul Holmgren said he was not trying to be “cryptic,” but the messages sent from the Flyers to the rest of the NHL on Tuesday were muddled.

Curiously, on the day that Brayden Schenn had his locker moved from the Phantoms’ locker room down the hall to the Flyers’ big boy room, the Flyers “loaned” their prized prospect to the AHL.

We say “loaned” in quotations because he may not actually be traveling far.

In fact, Schenn may still end up flying to Boston with the Flyers.

It all has to do with the cap. By not skating in Thursday’s opener against the Bruins, the Flyers will save themselves a ton of money on the cap - and make Schenn’s seemingly large $3.11 million cap hit turn into a much more manageable $1.75 million cap hit, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

Schenn would have qualified for a $1.405 million bonus payout - which counts against the salary cap - if he played in all 82 games with the Flyers this season.

Thus, by spending Thursday on the the AHL roster, Schenn would immediately save the Flyers that money off the top of the cap. That bonus clause reportedly only applies to the 2011-12 season on his contract.

Even though Schenn played just 4 preseason games with the Flyers because of a shoulder injury, Holmgren said they had enough of a look at him to know where he stands in the lineup.

“He’s healthy now, he’s ready to play and take part in things,” Holmgren said. “I think we all have a good handle on what he can do. I don’t know if this is going to be short-term or long-term with Brayden.”

OTHER MOVES: In addition to loaning Schenn, the Flyers also loaned defenseman Erik Gustafsson and rookie forward Harry Zolnierczyk to the Phantoms. Neither move was a surprise.

The Flyers did also place Blair Betts, Oskars Bartulis and Matt Walker on waivers at noon, opening them up to a claim from any of the other 29 teams before noon tomorrow.

Still, Holmgren said the waivers could actually have little impact on the Flyers’ opening day roster. Players who have cleared waivers are eligible to remain with the team and play in games.

“I wouldn’t read into who’s on waivers,” Holmgren said. “We need to make decisions tomorrow.”

Betts, 31, would be an attractive options for teams in need of an ace penalty killer and a perfect fourth line center. Holmgren said it was a “tough conversation” to let Betts know he would be susceptible to waivers.

Walker, 31, is less attractive because of his $1.7 million cap hit. For a depth defenseman, that’s normally more than most teams would spend, though he could fit for a team that still needs to add salary. Walker received high praise from the Flyers for a solid preseason in which he did almost everything he could to make the team - including dropping the gloves and bringing a physical presence to the ice every night.

One of Bartulis or Walker would likely need to be in Boston with the team as the seventh defenseman. Bartulis, 24, did not have a solid camp but has a cheap salary cap number.

Perhaps the waivers are a way of posturing for the Flyers, hoping that one team will bite - at full salary - to place a claim and open up a contract spot against the 50 contract limit to allow Sean Couturier to remain with the team throughout the season.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli: @DNFlyers

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