By: Adam Gretz
When the Philadelphia Flyers take on the Washington Capitals Thursday night they're going to get their first regular season look at Brayden Schenn, one of the key players acquired in the Mike Richards trade over the summer. He was recalled from the American Hockey League on Wednesday, after spending four games playing for the Adirondack Phantoms. He started the season in the minors for two main reasons. For one, he was recovering from a shoulder injury, and perhaps more importantly, his salary cap hit wasn't going to fit on the Flyers roster at the start of the year.
Because of his contract structure his cap hit for this season goes from $3.1 million all the way down to $1.69 million because he played at least one game in the minor leagues. He ended up playing four, scoring four goals to go with four assists. For a team that is crammed to the top of the NHL's salary cap that extra $1.41 million in cap space is a huge deal.
In a related move, the Flyers also sent Zac Rinaldo and Harry Zolnierczyk back to the minor leagues.
Tim Panaccio of CSNPhiladelphia speculates Schenn could make his debut on a line with fellow rookies Matt Read and Sean Couturier, Philadelphia's first-round pick from this past June, which was acquired in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Jeff Carter. It would certainly be an interesting line, and a nice glimpse of what the future might hold for the Flyers as all three are highly touted, and in the case of Read and Couturier, already playing quite well at the NHL level.
As an 18-year-old rookie, Couturier is already logging a ton of minutes on the penalty kill, averaging 4:27 per game, a number that is fourth among all NHL forwards, trailing only Max Talbot, Lauri Korpikoski and Adam Hall. Read, meanwhile, has emerged as an early-season Calder Trophy favorite with two goals and four assists in five games. He's second on the team in scoring behind only Claude Giroux.
The Flyers, one of just four teams in the NHL that has yet to lose a game in regulation, are off to a 4-0-1 start and were the most recent team to systematically dismantle the Ottawa Senators, 7-2, on Tuesday night.
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