Flyers' loan to Phantoms to cost Schenn

Posted: October 05, 2011

PRIZED prospect Brayden Schenn has been loaned to the Adirondack Phantoms.

Well, at least for 1 day, anyway.

In fact, Schenn - the jewel of the Flyers' June 23 trade with Los Angeles - may be with the Flyers on their road trip in Boston, he just won't be in the Opening Night lineup when they take on the Bruins tomorrow night.

It's a minor salary cap move that will cut into Schenn's wallet but ultimately pay dividends for the Flyers. That's because Schenn has a bonus clause in his entry-level contract that will pay him a $1.405 million bonus if he is on the NHL roster all season and plays in all 82 games.

Since all possible bonuses count toward the $64.3 million salary cap this year, Schenn's cap hit will decrease from $3.1 million to $1.75 million with one simple trip to the AHL.

Schenn's bonus was first reported by salary cap website CapGeek.com yesterday. This is the only year in Schenn's 3-year deal that has the clause.

The Flyers did not confirm Schenn's salary information yesterday, and as a general policy do not publicly discuss contract details.

Schenn, 20, was limited to just four preseason games because of a shoulder injury, but the Flyers have apparently seen enough to keep him in the NHL. Yesterday, on the same day he was "loaned," the Flyers actually moved his equipment from the Phantoms' locker room down the hall to the big boys' clubhouse in their practice facility.

"He's healthy now, he's ready to play and take part in things," general manager Paul Holmgren said. "I think we all have a good handle on what he can do. I don't know if this is going to be a short-term or long-term thing with Brayden."

Betts, Walker waived

In a move that was somewhat expected, the Flyers waived veteran center Blair Betts and defensemen Matt Walker and Oskars Bartulis yesterday, making them susceptible to a claim by all 29 other teams before noon today.

Holmgren said it was a "tough conversation" to let Betts know he was on the waiver wire. Betts, 31, is an attractive option for teams as a prototypical fourth-line center, faceoff expert and ace penalty killer for a manageable $700,000.

Of the three, Betts has the highest likelihood of being claimed. Holmgren said he made a few phone calls to gauge interest in his players before finally putting them on waivers.

Walker, 31, was praised for a strong training camp after missing nearly all of last season with three different surgeries. He has cleared waivers before and his $1.7 million salary, with 2 years remaining, makes him a tough sell for teams as a depth defenseman.

Just because Betts, Walker and Bartulis are on waivers does not mean they will not be in the lineup tomorrow night. If they are not claimed, they are free to remain on the roster for 10 days or be loaned to Adirondack before having to go through the process again. Either Walker or Bartulis would likely remain with the team as an extra defenseman.

With Schenn off the salary cap for now, and no roster space issues, yesterday's waiver moves were a head-scratcher unless the Flyers are trying to trade for salary.

"It gives us flexibility, more than anything," Holmgren said. "There are certain things I can't tell you. I'm not trying to be cryptic or anything. But we'll just leave it at that."

The Flyers complete roster will be announced at 3 p.m. today.

Slap shots

No. 8 overall pick Sean Couturier will make his NHL debut tomorrow . . . Defenseman Erik Gustafsson and rookie forward Harry Zolnierczyk were also loaned to Adirondack . . . These moves mean Andreas Lilja will be the Flyers' sixth defenseman on Opening Night . . . Kimmo Timonen is expected to start the season on a pairing with Andrej Meszaros, a departure from his normal partner in Braydon Coburn . . . Pennsylvania native Brandon Saad, skipped over in the draft's first round last summer, signed an entry-level deal with Chicago yesterday and will start the season on a line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp.

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