By random chance, I had lunch on Friday with someone that works in the scouting office for an NHL team and I brought up the fact that the Flyers had released a goaltending prospect (referring to Joacim Eriksson).
They replied, “Riopel?” which threw me for a loop, to say the least. Talking further, they indicated that prospect Nicola Riopel’s rights had been released by the Flyers.
I elected not to post that information until there was confirmation from another reporter. Bill Meltzer of Hockeybuzz confirmed that news.
Riopel, unfortunately, never grabbed the reins at the AHL level. At 22, he’s too young to call him a “bust,” but like Eriksson he wasn’t playing at a level where the Flyers felt he was worth a contract. He had a 3.55 goals-against-average and 0.874 save percentage over ten games with the Adirondack Phantoms this past season. He spent the bulk of the season in the ECHL.
Geoff Detweiler of Broad Street Hockey said it best on twitter- “Losing Riopel too would just be the spit after the groin kick.”
The status of goaltender Brian Stewart is unknown while the Flyers still hold the rights of Jakub Kovar thanks to a ridiculous loophole in the NHL’s drafting rules.
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