The Flyers' roster is starting to take form after they made several moves on Tuesday, a day in which they waived Blair Betts, Matt Walker and Oskars Bartulis.
The Betts move was the biggest surprise because he was one of the team's top penalty killers, and overall he won 50.3 percent of his face-offs last season. In shorthanded situations, he won 46.2 percent.
Meanwhile, Brayden Schenn, projected as the NHL's best rookie in some preseason publications, was sent to the AHL Phantoms, along with Harry Zolnierczyk and Erik Gustafsson.
Schenn missed the last two preseason games with a left shoulder injury.
“He needs to play a little bit,” GM Paul Holmgren said. “I don’t know how long that’s going to be, but he’s healthy now, and he’s ready to take part in things. We’ve got to get him playing.”
If he plays one game in the AHL, Schenn's cap hit for the year drops from $3.1 million to $1.69 million because of the contract's bonus structure, which was set up by the Kings.
Schenn's demotion opens a spot for 18-year-old Sean Couturier.
"I thought he was very strong defensively," center Danny Briere said.
"You're never afraid to put him on the ice," Briere added. "We saw flashes of him where offensively he's very strong on the puck. He's big and he's lanky and he's got a good reach. You don't even realize he's 18 years old when he's out there, which is very impressive."
Once Couturier plays in his 10th game (not the team's), a year of his contract will be on the books. When he plays in his 11th game, he counts toward the 50-man reserve list.
"I think it's a moot point," Holmgren said. "If he starts on the roster and looks like he's going to help us, it doesn't matter to me."
In other words, he's hoping Couturier stays for the entire season.
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Three of last season's penalty killers - Richards, Betts, and Darroll Powe - are no longer on the team. If Betts doesn't return, this year's penalty-killing forwards likely will be Claude Giroux, Max Talbot, Wayne Simmonds, and Matt Read. Couturier is also in the mix.
Holmgren hinted that, if Walker clears, he will be brought back to the team.
It appears the four centers on the roster will be Briere, Giroux, Couturier and Talbot.
At Tuesday's practice, Briere was centering Jakub Voracek and Simmonds, and Giroux was centering James van Riemsdyk and Jaromir Jagr.
The third line had Read with Scott Hartnell and Andreas Nodl. Couturier is expected to center the third line in Thursday's opener in Boston, with Talbot perhaps centering Nodl and Zac Rinaldo.
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It appears defenseman Kimmo Timonen will start the season paired with Andrej Meszaros. Braydon Coburn had been his partner during most of last season.
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Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.
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