Saturday, February 26, 2011

Flyers claim Boynton, demote JVR for a day

Not wasting any time finding a replacement for the injured Oskars Bartulis, the Flyers acquired their new 7th defenseman, claiming Nick Boynton off waivers from the Blackhawks. Boynton, an 11 year NHL veteran, is a physical d-man who doesn't contribute anything offensively but can be pretty reliable in his own end. The former Bruin, Coyote, Panther and Duck as well as Blackhawk has a cap hit of $500,000 and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

The need for an extra body like Boynton came up because of Chris Pronger's hand injury. With Pronger possibly going to miss a game or two, the Flyers need someone they can rely on to play a few shifts. While rookie d-man Erik Gustafsson was called up for that role, Gustafsson needs to get ice time in the minors and would not be an option to sit in the press box as a 7th d-man when everyone is healthy. Enter Boynton, who has gotten pretty familiar sitting in the press box with the Blackhawks in the recent weeks.

To make room for Boynton on the roster, the Flyers had to make an interesting, though necessary, move. Not wanting to risk losing anyone to waivers, the Flyers have temporarily sent James van Riemsdyk to the minors. Since JVR has a contract that allows him to go down and come back up without any waiver issues, the Flyers are sending him down just for tonight's game so Gustafsson can play against Ottawa. After tonight's game, the Flyers will then re-call JVR and send Gustafsson back to the AHL. The most surprising revelation from all of these moves is that recently waived Nikolay Zherdev will likely get to suit up tonight against Ottawa. Talk about a strange turn of events for Zherdev.

While that's a somewhat complicated movement of pieces, the Flyers are making the necessary moves to keep their roster intact. Sure, they could have sent Zherdev to the minors but then they would have risked losing him in the re-entry waivers should they want to call him back up. Getting Boynton isn't a big move for the Flyers but it was a smart move to get some dependable defensive depth. If everything goes to plan, we won't even see Boynton in the lineup come playoff time but he will be a nice insurance policy.

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