Wednesday, the Flyers announced that forwards Scott Laughton and Roman Lyubimov to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Laughton is coming off of long-term injury reserve (LTIR) and is most likely being sent down for cap compliance. Laughton recently finished a conditioning stint with the Phantoms, coming back from a pre-season injury.
The Flyers may be carrying eight defensemen with Andrew Macdonald possibly coming back from a minor injury. The Flyers will be travelling to Toronto for a Friday night game without any extra forwards on the roster. For a longer trip, that may be a concern, not so much when they’re right back in Philadelphia on Saturday to face the Minnesota Wild. It is a back-to-back weekend so not carrying an extra forward may be an issue, which has lead some people to speculate that a trade is coming.
The demotion for Lyubimov opens up a few more questions. Why, when he has been playing well in a 4th line role, would they choose to send Lyubimov down when Chris VandeVelde is STILL, RIGHT, THERE? With lineup juggling and the handful of players rotating through the bottom six, it was inevitable that someone would eventually get sent down. Nick Cousins has been a victim of that juggling for a while, and recently Hakstol said that he would be getting back in the lineup after missing two games.
24-year-old Russian Roman Lyubimov has done decently this season with Flyers in NHL rookie season. But it’s a tough lineup to crack.
— Bob Rotruck (@BobRotruck) November 9, 2016
“He [Cousins] needs to come back into our lineup,” Hakstol said. “He’s played well, he’s done a good job. He didn’t come out of the lineup due to poor performance.”
Cousins has been effective in the games he’s played, usually fitting into the constantly shifting bottom six lines, but he hasn’t done anything spectacular enough to solidify his position. Now he’ll be fighting to keep his spot, especially with Boyd Gordon still set to come back from an injury. Obviously, Chris VandeVelde won’t be the odd man out. If Cousins wants to stay in the lineup he’ll at least have to outplay Dale Weise.
With Laughton already going to the Phantoms, someone else needed to move to make room for Cousins. Lyubimov seems to be the new odd man out. Both Lyubimov and Laughton are waiver exempt, which may have played a role in the reassignment.
If there is a trade coming, it’s not one we’ve heard about.