VOORHEES, N.J. -- For the fourth time in his career, goaltender Brian Boucher is once again a member of the Flyers organization.
The Flyers sent minor leaguer Luke Pither to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Mark Alt and Boucher, who this time will head straight to the team's AHL affiliate the Adirondack Phantoms, assuming he passes a physical.
"Its a bit embarrassing, to be honest with you," Boucher said about returning to the organization yet again. "Im just thankful. Im sure theres a lot of people scratching their heads saying, 'What is going on?' But from a personal standpoint, its a good situation."
As for what's "going on" with the signing, which even surprised the 36-year-old netminder to an extent: It's an insurance move, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.
The Flyers, as you'll remember, signed goalie Michael Leighton to a one-year deal last offseason to back up starter Ilya Bryzgalov. Though the Phantoms' starter, Scott Munroe, has played well this year, he is on a minor-league deal and cannot be recalled by the Flyers in case of injury. Should Leighton or Bryzgalov succumb to injury, Boucher will be the Flyers' go-to call-up option.
He'll make a pro-rated 1 million in salary, but the Flyers will be charged just a 50,000 cap hit to send him to the AHL.
"Any way I can help the organization, Im willing to do it," Boucher said. "Im sure right now it will be in a depth role, but Ill take any opportunity I can."
Two of Boucher's previous stints with the Flyers involved time at the NHL level. One, in 2007-08, was with solely the Phantoms. Chances are, this time around he's not going to be the guy who helps carry the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final as he was in 2010, but that's OK with Boucher, who said he'll always have something to fight for, no matter his role with the team.
"We all have pride as professional athletes," he said. "We all want to do a good job when we get out there. I look at my situation, Ive got a son who plays hockey hes 10 years old, I want to play well for him, too. Theres always pride, theres always something to prove, theres always something to show up and give your best for. ...
"I want to do a good job, and the fact that the Flyers have traded for me and brought me back again, I want to do well for them. I want to make sure that they didnt make a mistake, and that I can help them."
Boucher struggled with injury last season, appearing in just 10 games for the Hurricanes. He posted a 1-6-1 record with an .881 save percentage and 3.41 goals against average. Last summer, Boucher underwent shoulder surgery, and was expected to miss four to six months while rehabbing.
He spent the lockout practicing here at the Flyers' facility in Voorhees and says he feels good.
"Its funny how things work out," he said. "I got hurt in the summer, and it was a bad time, but the lockout turned out to be the best thing for me. I was able to heal up from my injury in six months Jan. 2 was six months for me. I feel good. Nobody liked to go through that lockout, but for me it was a blessing in disguise."
Alt, the prospect the Flyers received in the trade, is a 21-year-old junior defenseman at the University of Minnesota who was selected 53rd overall the 2010 draft by the Hurricanes.
"Alt is 6-3, he can skate, hes playing in a good program on a good team," said Holmgren. "Weve liked him. Hes a good young prospect."
As a "thank you" to fans, the Flyers will hold an open practice at the Wells Fargo Center Thursday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m. Steve Coates will emcee the event. Though the event is free, tickets must be picked up on the team's website. ... Training camp sessions at Skate Zone Voorhees run through Friday, Jan. 18, with varying ice times. All are free and open to the public.
E-mail Sarah Baicker at firstname.lastname@example.org