Carcillo battling for a spot on Flyers' roster

Sabres goalie Ryan Miller makes save as Flyers' Jeff Carter sets up screen in first period.
Sabres goalie Ryan Miller makes save as Flyers' Jeff Carter sets up screen in first period.
Posted: October 02, 2010

OF THE 33 players still battling for jobs as the preseason disappears, Dan Carcillo might be in the most intriguing situation.

Last May, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said telling Carcillo he would be a healthy scratch during the Eastern Conference final was one of the hardest things he has had to do.

In the offseason, the Flyers brought in a talented right winger in Nikolay Zherdev - someone who could take Carcillo's miscast spot on the top line - and a true heavyweight fighter in Jody Shelley.

Carcillo is not renowned for his defensive prowess or his power-play expertise, although he did post eight power-play goals one season in Phoenix. And the Flyers already have Blair Betts, Darroll Powe and possibly Ian Laperriere to kill penalties.

"I thought Danny played well for us last year," Laviolette said Thursday. "He got caught at the end in a numbers game when Ville Leino came back in the lineup. I said back then and I stand by it, that somebody had to come out and Danny caught the number."

So is there a chance Carcillo falls into that same trap this season? "I'm not going to comment," Laviolette said last night. "I'm not going to comment on any lineup decisions. We have 13 forwards. You can only dress 12.

"If you want to ask me if Danny's had a good training camp, I think he's worked hard. He's played with a lot of energy and a lot of emotion."

The Flyers avoided arbitration with Carcillo, a restricted free agent, and signed him to a 1-year deal worth $1.1 million, a $260,000 raise from last year's salary.

Carcillo has undoubtedly played with his trademark emotion in the preseason, fighting once in Toronto, where he also picked up one assist. Last night, in the Flyers' 3-1 preseason win over Buffalo at the Wells Fargo Center, Carcillo and Shelley were the only Flyers players with under 10 minutes of ice time.

"I've just got to play my game, forecheck and play a simple game," Carcillo said. "I need to get to the puck, bang some bodies and fight when needed. I play a pretty straightforward game.

"You'd always like to have more points. But whether I'm playing with Powe and Betts, or Jeff [Carter] and Mike [Richards], it just depends on who I'm with. I just try and be the most complete player I can."

Carcillo can play on any of the Flyers' four lines. And he had two offseason surgeries, one to repair a hip injury, another for a sports hernia, that kept him sidelined until training camp began.

"I had a few surgeries and my main focus was just to get back skating again and get back to feeling normal again," Carcillo said. "I'm just trying to get my legs under me and get my speed back."

Has Carcillo distinguished himself enough to take a roster spot?

"He's a physical presence," Laviolette said. "He can skate, hit, forecheck, fight. His skill-sets are different than a lot of the people who play in the top nine [players on the top three forward lines]. What he brings to table is a little different."

Slap shots

Nikolay Zherdev has five goals in six preseason games . . . Brian Boucher stopped 32 of 33 shots . . . Bill Guerin (infected cut on elbow) missed last night's game but could play tomorrow in Buffalo. The Flyers open the regular season Thursday at Pittsburgh.

For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at

http://go.philly.com/frequentflyers. Follow him on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/DNFlyers.

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