Sunday, February 14, 2016

Schenn ready for opener; Flyers have tough decisions

After he took part in Sunday’s practice in Voorhees, rookie center Brayden Schenn said he is healthy and available to play in Thursday’s opener in Boston.

Schenn ready for opener; Flyers have tough decisions

Flyers´ Brayden Schenn skates with the puck against the the New York<br />Rangers during a preseason game.  (Yong<br />Kim / Staff Photographer)
Flyers' Brayden Schenn skates with the puck against the the New York Rangers during a preseason game. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

After he took part in Sunday’s practice in Voorhees, rookie center Brayden Schenn said he is healthy and available to play in Thursday’s opener in Boston.

But are the Flyers ready to put him on their roster?

General manager Paul Holmgren said he probably won’t finalize his decision until Wednesday at 3 p.m., when rosters must be submitted to the NHL.

Schenn, who missed the last two preseason games because of a shoulder injury, has a $3.1 million salary-cap hit. If he starts the season with the AHL Phantoms, the Flyers will have cap space to include a player like defenseman Matt Walker ($1.7 million cap hit) on their roster.

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Acquired in the blockbuster summer deal that sent Mike Richards to Los Angeles, Schenn was injured in an exhibition Monday against the New York Rangers.

“It would have been nice to get a couple more games in, but I’m feeling pretty good; it was a faster recovery than I thought,” said Schenn, who later had an ice pack on his left shoulder. “I’m shooting the puck hard and hope it gets better every day. Should be 100 percent coming up here” on Thursday.

Schenn, 20, regarded as one of the NHL’s up-and-coming young player, said he “absolutely” wants to start the season with the Flyers instead of Adirondack. He did not take any contact Sunday.

“I feel like I’m ready to play and ready to help this team, but at the same time, it’s their decision,” he said.

Asked if he had seen enough of Schenn to make an evaluation, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said, “I thought he played well. I would have liked to have seen him more. Andreas Nodl, the same thing. We’re trying to slot people and find out the jockeying of everything, and that makes it difficult when guys aren’t in the lineup.”

Like Schenn, Sean Couturier, 18, is a center who is on the bubble. He might open the season with the Flyers and, after 10 games, be sent to juniors if they don’t think he is NHL-ready.

“I thought he had a good camp,” Laviolette said. “Defensively, he did a lot of things right. He played a good, solid two-way game. He threw in some points and was a plus-player. We used him in just about every situation imaginable.”

Barring a trade, it’s likely two of the following three forwards will make the team: Schenn, Couturier and Matt Read.

Breakaways. Read (two goals, five assists) and Claude Giroux (seven assists) each led the Flyers with seven points in the preseason…Goalie Michael Leighton was sent to the Phantoms......Walker missed Sunday's practice because it was his "maintenance" day.....James van Riemsdyk and Nodl, bothered by lower-body injuries late in camp, practiced Sunday and said they were ready to play Thursday. Van Riemsdyk is expected to be on a line with Giroux and Jaromir Jagr, while Nodl is fighting for a roster spot…..Jakub Voracek didn’t score any goals but led the team with 14 preseason shots….The Flyers have an off day Monday.

Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at or on Twitter at @BroadStBull.

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