According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Flyers have placed Trenton goaltender Niko Hovinen on unconditional waivers for mutual termination of his NHL contract. Philadelphia was at the maximum 50 NHL contracts, and this would allow them to add a player to replace the injured Scott Hartnell.
Hovinen, who has long been rumored to be going to Finland — although those rumors were denied by both he and the Finnish team, KalPa, that he was said to be going to — could still return to the Flyers organization on an AHL deal or to Trenton on an ECHL deal, but both of those scenarios would seem rather unlikely. The 24-year-old netminder became the odd man out once the Flyers re-acquired Brian Boucher, but he had fallen out of favor well before then.
Hovinen had earned a reputation as being “lazy” and “aloof” according to several sources — and many point to the game in which he was pulled and subsequently called out in the media by Titans head coach Vince Williams as the beginning of the end. So, at least for now, the Flyers have sent Cal Heeter (pictured) to the Titans to replace Hovinen.
The 24-year-old first-year pro has played in 20 games with Adirondack, posting a 2.97 GAA and .906 save percentage. Although many are surprised that the Ohio State product would get sent down, there are two things to look at: the AHL All-Star break is this weekend, meaning that it may not be a long-term move, and it was a simple numbers game with the Phantoms. Boucher and Scott Munroe currently make up the tandem there, and both are veterans who need to play just as much as Heeter needs to develop.
The roster shuffling isn’t done, either. According to reports by both Michael Cignoli and Diana Nearhos out of Adirondack, the Phantoms are expected to bring in Titans forward Kory Nagy on a PTO. In 36 games, Nagy had posted a 3-12-15 line, and was surprisingly a team-worst -13 despite relatively steady defensive play. Given the team’s depth at forward, it would be surprising if they brought anyone in at this time.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com