Flyers claim surprised Boynton off waivers

The Flyers claimed defenseman Nick Boynton off waivers. (Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo)

The Flyers have gone to the waiver wire to try and bolster their banged up defense.

On Saturday morning, the Flyers claimed defenseman Nick Boynton off waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks. Boynton, 32, a veteran journeyman, has played 595 NHL games.

"Nick is a right shot defenseman that will bring experience and depth to our team," Paul Holmgren said.

Boynton will not be available to play for the Flyers tonight in Ottawa. Rookie defenseman Erik Gustafsson is expected to make his NHL debut in place of an injured Chris Pronger.

With Gustafsson on the roster, Holmgren was forced to send forward James van Riemsdyk down to Adirondack to make room to add Boynton. That means that van Riemsdyk, who went to Ottawa with the Flyers on Friday, cannot play tonight against the Senators.

"Just for today," Holmgren said in a text message about van Riemsdyk's status.

By default, that means that Nik Zherdev will play against Ottawa after sitting out the last 7 games as a healthy scratch. Van Riemsdyk, along with Claude Giroux, Sergei Bobrovsky and Andreas Nodl, are the only players Holmgren has the flexibility to send to the AHL and back without risk of losing them on waivers.

With Boynton healthy, he can take Gustafsson's spot on the roster, which would clear room for Van Riemsdyk to be brought back.

By claiming Boynton off waivers, the Flyers are responsible to pay the prorated remainder of his $500,000 salary, which is $118,280. To put his salary in perspective, Boynton earns $100,000 less this year than Oskars Bartulis.

Boynton was a small part of the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup team last season, playing in just 3 playoff games and another 7 games in the regular season. He did play in the clinching Game 6 for Chicago at the Wells Fargo Center.

"I couldn't be happier," Boynton said Saturday. "I was a little shocked and didn't realize that I was put on waivers until late last night, but I couldn't ask to be coming to a better team or organization. I've been around the league for a while and I hope to bring that experience, try to work hard and play solid defense and chip in with whatever the team needs."

Boynton will wear No. 24 with the Flyers.

He has been a healthy scratch in 18 of the Blackhawks’ last 22 games, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, but has collected 1 goal and 7 assists in 41 games this season. He came to Chicago via a trade from Anaheim last season.

Interestingly, Boynton played his first full professional season under Flyers coach Peter Laviolette with the AHL's Providence Bruins.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

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