Defenseman raises eyebrows at Flyers' camp

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Oliver Lauridsen, who played two games in the AHL last year, was the Flyers' seventh-round pick in 2009. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)

   In all likelihood, towering defenseman Oliver Lauridsen will start the season with the AHL Adirondack Phantoms.

   But the 6-foot-6, 236-pound Denmark native with the l-o-o-o-n-g reach raised some eyebrows during the opening of the Flyers' prospect camp Wednesday in Voorhees.

   He was one of the most impressive players on the ice _ outshining highly touted Brayden Schenn in a one-on-one drill _ and could be in the mix as the Flyers try to figure out who will be their sixth defenseman during training camp in September.

   That Dman will replace veteran Sean O'Donnell, who signed as a free agent with Chicago. (I would have re-signed O'Donnell, but that's a story for another day.)

   The Flyers' top five defensemen are Chris Pronger, Andrej Meszaros, Braydon Coburn, Kimmo Timonen and Matt Carle.

    The sixth spot figures to go to either Oskars Bartulis, Erik Gustafsson, recently signed Andreas Lilja or Matt Walker, whose $1.7 million cap hit may work against him.

   That said, Lauridsen, 22, is an intriguing prospect. He is expected to start the season with the Phantoms, but you never know. (Remember how 18-year-old Luca Sbisa was the surprise of camp in 2008 and made the big-league team?)

  Drafted in the seventh round in 2009, Lauridsen played just two games with the Phantoms last season before injuring his shoulder in March and requiring surgery.

   "It's hard to find a 6-6 guy who can get around the ice like that," GM Paul Holmgren said. "It's really remarkable the turnaround he's made since the injury."

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    Holmgren is still negotiating with RFA Wayne Simmonds....The GM said there is still a chance he adds a (low-level) free agent, but that nothing is imminent.

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   Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter at BroadStBull.

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