Flyers waive Hovinen, create flexibility

The Flyers have placed goaltender Niko Hovinen, who has spent the season with the Trenton Titans, on unconditional waivers with the intent of mutual termination of his contract.

Hovinen, a 6-foot-7 monster in net, did not impress in Phantoms training camp in September and was assigned to the ECHL. In Trenton, Hovinen sported an unsightly 3.14 goals against-average and .889 save percentage. There were whispers that the organization did not appreciate his lacking work ethic.

The deal works for both sides. Hovinen, it seems, would much rather go back and play in his native Finland, and the Flyers have a glut of goaltenders (3) in Adirondack: Scott Munroe, Cal Heeter and Brian Boucher

Why does this matter for the Flyers?

If (or once, since it seems likely at this point with injuries) rookie Scott Laughton plays his 6th game with the Flyers, his contract will no longer “slide” on the NHL register and this shortened campaign will count as one-year on his entry-level contract.

Why does that matter for the Flyers?

Once Laughton’s contract counts, they will be at the 50-contract limit, as imposed by the NHL.

Hence, the Flyers will have no maneuverability to sign a free agent or accept multiple players in a deal. With Scott Hartnell (left foot) potentially out for an extended period of time, and Danny Briere (wrist) and Zac Rinaldo (leg laceration) already on the shelf, the Flyers need bodies.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren has significantly more wiggle room with only 49 contracts on the books, aside from the fact that this move also clears a logjam of netminders.

Hovinen's contract can be terminated as soon as he clears waivers on Friday at noon. Stay tuned.

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