The Flyers on Wednesday afternoon assigned defenseman Samuel Morin to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, officially securing Travis Sanheim's spot on the NHL roster.
Morin served as a healthy scratch during the Flyers' four-game season-opening road trip. The Flyers carried eight defensemen out west because of an upper-body injury to Shayne Gostisbehere, but the third-year defenseman didn't miss a game.
"It's the first time in my career that I've been a healthy scratch and it's pretty hard," Morin said Tuesday in Nashville. "What else can I do? I think it's normal that I'm pretty upset. I just need to keep working hard and see what's going to happen.
"There's not much I can do right now. … I'm sure I can play in this league. If I go back to the AHL, I'm going to just work my ass off like I do all the time. I just want to play in the NHL, honestly."
After their preseason finale, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said defenseman Robert Hagg and center Nolan Patrick earned their spots but didn't say who won the competition for the second opening on defense.
With both Morin and Sanheim scratched for the season opener in San Jose, it remained unclear. Then, in Los Angeles, the Flyers tipped their hat. Sanheim drew into the lineup against the Kings.
Sanheim has played since while Morin sat. There was some thought the Flyers could get one last look at Morin in Anaheim last Saturday following Sanheim had a costly mistake in his NHL debut, but that didn't happen.
Hagg, Morin and Sanheim were competing for two spots in training camp and despite previously indications all three defensemen could make the team, Hextall opted against carried three rookies on the blue line — at least for now.
Morin proved himself as an NHL player during camp, but he falls victim to a numbers game. One NHL scout said Morin is ready and the Flyers' current logjam is “a good problem to have.”
With veterans Brandon Manning and alternate captain Andrew MacDonald here, there's not enough room for Morin, who's strictly a left defenseman, which the Flyers are heavy on.
Whether that is the right decision is up for debate.
There's no question we'll be seeing Morin with the Flyers sooner or later. If an injury hits the Flyers' blue line, he'll come up from Lehigh Valley.
And in that scenario, it'll be hard to see him going back down.