Party on the Blue Line

1) The Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ signing of veteran offensive defenseman Logan Pyett creates an increasingly crowded group of candidates for the Flyers AHL affiliates’ blueline entering training camp. Assuming that neither Samuel Morin nor Shayne Gostisbehere open the 2015-16 season in the NHL with the Flyers and that Brandon Manning sticks with the big club as a seventh or eighth defenseman, the Phantoms defense currently has 10 candidates for playing time.

Morin, Gostisbehere, Robert Hägg and Mark Alt are locks for the Phantoms roster, as Manning (who is on a one-way contract this season ala Oliver Lauridsen last year) would be if he is waived by Philly, clears NHL waivers and is assigned to Allentown. Likewise, veterans Davis Drewiske and Pyett were signed to play in the AHL, not the ECHL. Additionally, the Flyers organization is high on Swiss import defensive defenseman Christian Marti, who was signed to an NHL entry-level contract on May 1.

That makes seven spots taken on the Lehigh Valley defense roster, barring injury or NHL-level callups; eight if the Flyers do not make any trades of veterans during the season and elect to carry seven rather than eight defensemen (which would squeeze out Manning). As of now, it would seem that second-year pro Jesper Pettersson is more likely to be assigned to the ECHL’s Reading Royals to start the season. Nick Luukko and Maxim Lamarche are almost certainly ticketed for Reading.