Updated: 1:38 p.m.
VOORHEES, N.J. — Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher continues to trim some of the dead weight off the Flyers roster, and he cut ties from one of the team's more controversial players.
Wednesday, the Flyers placed forward Jori Lehtera on waivers. However, it’s unlikely that another team will pick up Lehtera and his $4.7 million cap hit. Even if Lehtera clears waivers, it’s very likely that the 31-year-old forward has played his final game with the Flyers.
It’s a move that seemed long overdue as Lehtera had been a healthy scratch since his last game on Jan. 17. Lehtera has also been dealing with off-ice issues as he faces charges of obtaining and possessing cocaine in his native Finland.
Lehtera has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation.
If Lehtera clears, as expected, he’ll likely be assigned to the Phantoms' roster. With the Flyers currently at 23 on the active roster, erasing Lehtera from the equation would also open up a roster spot for either forward Corban Knight or goaltender Brian Elliott, whenever they’re activated from injured reserve.
Lehtera had scored just one goal in 27 games this season, and just four goals in 89 games over the past two seasons playing on the fourth line.
With the Blues looking for cap relief, former Flyers general manager Ron Hextall acquired Lehtera as part of the Brayden Schenn deal at the 2017 NHL draft, receiving an extra first-round pick as compensation. That pick may prove to be worth the headache of Lehtera and his contract as the Flyers selected Joel Farabee 14th overall this past June. The Flyers also received the 27th overall pick of the 2017 draft and selected Morgan Frost.
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