By David Strehle
NHL Hot Stove Managing Editor
Things had been going so smoothly for the Philadelphia Flyers. Paul Holmgren’s maneuvering had given the club a chance to explore some different options with their young forwards to start the season. When the Montreal Canadiens picked center Blair Betts off the waiver wire, it gave Philly the ability to allow 18-year-old Sean Couturier to stay with the big club without sending him back to juniors, and left a vacant spot to recall Brayden Schenn from the Adirondack Phantoms.
Schenn had been sent to the AHL for two reasons; a slight shoulder injury suffered in the preseason, and a $1.4 million bonus clause that would not count against Philadelphia’s cap hit this season.
But Betts failed his physical in Montreal and is heading back to the Flyers, according to a press release from the team. Here it is in it’s entirety:
NEW YORK (October 9, 2011) — Forward Blair Betts, who was claimed on
waivers by the Montreal Canadiens from the Philadelphia Flyers on October
5, has been returned to the Flyers, per NHL By-Law 11.8 (a), the National
Hockey League announced today.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman rendered the decision after reviewing
submissions from both Clubs. By-Law 11.8 (a) states: “The Member Club
acquiring a player by waiver claim shall take an assignment of the player’s
contract. Nevertheless, if the Commissioner determines that a player
acquired by waiver claim is not physically fit at the time the claim is
made, the Member Club making the claim may refuse to take an assignment of
such player’s contract and the request for waivers shall be cancelled.”
In reaching his decision, Commissioner Bettman stated: “While it is
clear that both clubs have acted in good faith in this unique situation
(i.e. a waiver claim), I am not prepared to dispute the conclusion of the
Montreal Club doctors that Mr. Betts was physically unfit to play at the
time of the claim. Therefore, it is my decision that, per League By-Laws,
the appropriate resolution to this matter is to restore the parties to the
position they were in prior to the waiver claim on Oct. 5.”
Couturier has been impressive in the season’s first two games, and his defensive work – especially on the penalty killing unit – has been invaluable. He has handled himself better than expected, and shown poise well beyond his years in doing so.
It would seem that if the team wants to bring Schenn to the Flyers, a contract will now have to be moved. The options appear to be to either return Couturier to his QMJHL team in Drummondville, or trade another forward from the existing roster.
The next few days should be very interesting in Philadelphia.
If you have any comments or questions, you can email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter – @David_Strehle
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