The Flyers trimmed their roster to 25 players on Wednesday by sending centers Mike Vecchione and Mikhail Vorobyov to the American Hockey League’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
They need to get down to 23 players by 5 p.m. Tuesday. The season starts next Wednesday in San Jose.
The Flyers have two preseason games left — Boston on Thursday and the Islanders on Sunday, both at the Wells Fargo Center — and coach Dave Hakstol said he expected the final roster decisions to go “down to the wire.”
If the Flyers decide to keep impressive rookie defensemen Travis Sanheim, Sam Morin, and Robert Hagg, they might get down to 23 by sending Matt Read and Brandon Manning to the Phantoms. Both would probably clear waivers. Read has a $3.6-million cap hit, and Manning is coming off April back surgery.
If that happened, the Flyers would have six rookies, a club record for the start of the season: Sanheim, Morin, Hagg, Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom, and Taylor Leier.
The speedy Leier would need to clear waivers if the Flyers tried to send him to Lehigh Valley, and that is a risk General Manager Ron Hextall might not want to take.
Vecchione, signed as a free agent late last season after a brilliant career at Union College, has played in only two preseason games and scored a goal.
“He’s a pretty mature young man,” Hakstol said after Tuesday’s 4-3 overtime win over the Rangers improved the Flyers preseason record to 2-1-3. “He shows up and works every day and keeps a pretty good perspective on everything.”
Hakstol also was impressed with Vorobyov’s camp, and liked his performance Tuesday, calling him “reliable from the faceoff dot out.”
Breakaways. When the Flyers host Boston, goalie Michal Neuvirth is expected to make his final start before the season opener. … Leier on fighting for a roster spot: “I’m just trying to enjoy the game and enjoy the process of the battle that a lot of us are in.” … The Flyers will have a 10:30 morning skate Thursday in Voorhees.