Philadelphia Flyers Move 6 Players: Who's Playing on NHL's Opening Night?

Jason SapunkaCorrespondent IIOctober 5, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 29: A fan directs players to the open net during the game between the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on September 29, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Devils 2-1.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Paul Holmgren warned not too look too far into it, but the roster movements made by the Philadelphia Flyers on October 4, 2011 cannot be ignored.

The Flyers placed three players on waivers: Blair Betts, Matt Walker and Oskars Bartulis.

Betts was claimed by the Montreal Canadiens. Walker was listed on the opening night roster in a recent announcement.

The team also loaned three players to the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms: Brayden Schenn, Erik Gustafsson and Harry Zolnierczyk.

The players join other preseason participants who are no longer on the NHL roster, including Michael Leighton, Mike Testwuide, Eric Wellwood, Ben Holmstrom and Tom Sestito.

What should also be noted is that Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Zac Rinaldo are staying on the roster.

Couturier played in six preseason games, scoring one goal with five assists. For a 19-year-old drafted just four months ago, Couturier's performance has been surprising.

Read also played in six games, scoring two goals with five assists.

Rinaldo scored just one goal with fourth-line playing time, averaging roughly eight minutes per game.

Both Read and Rinaldo have shown impressive speed. Read's speed translates into offensive opportunities, whereas Rinaldo successfully turns it into physical play.

Rookie Sean Couturier's NHL debut may be sooner than expected.
Rookie Sean Couturier's NHL debut may be sooner than expected.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Rinaldo is a perfect fourth-line player for the Flyers.


The forechecking system coach Peter Laviolette used last season was powered by Betts, Jody Shelley, Darroll Powe and Dan Carcillo. With Betts, Powe and Carcillo no longer with the team and Shelley serving a suspension, that fourth line is entirely in question.

Rinaldo tied for the Flyers lead in fights this preseason, including a dominating victory over Dale Weise of the New York Rangers.

On Thursday October 6, the Flyers will play their season opener against the Boston Bruins.

With the recent roster movements made, including Shelley's suspension (which will last for the first five games of the regular season), this is a possible lineup the Flyers have for Thursday night's game:



James van Riemsdyk Claude Giroux Jaromir Jagr
Scott Hartnell Danny Briere Jake Voracek
Andreas Nodl Sean Couturier Wayne Simmonds
Zac Rinaldo Max Talbot Matt Read




Matt Carle Chris Pronger
Kimmo Timonen Braydon Coburn
Andrej Meszaros Andreas Lilja/Matt Walker

Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky will be the goaltenders.

Certain issues persist for the skaters.

The first two lines are as close to a lock as possible. The bottom forward lines present problems.

Couturier, Talbot and Rinaldo all played the center position during preseason. Simmonds and Read both played right wing.

With Shelley suspended, Walker will likely play in order to give the Flyers a capable heavyweight enforcer. Boston is a physical team that was second in fighting majors last season.

The Philadelphia Flyers roster finally appears ready to go for the 2011-2012 NHL season.