Should the Flyers pursue a goalie or a scorer? Will they be hampered by limited cap space? Is there a realistic chance Alex Radulov returns to the Predators? Read on for the latest.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio reports a league source “intimately familiar” with Phoenix goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov claims he’d relish playing for the Flyers. The source told Panaccio the Flyers and Coyotes have had some talks about trades this season, including Jeff Carter, as the Coyotes need some help at center and the Flyers would need to move salary (about $5.5 million) to make room for Bryzgalov, who’s on a list of goalies the Flyers are considering, including Florida’s Tomas Vokoun, Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff, Minnesota’s Niklas Backstorm and the NY Islanders’ Evgeni Nabokov.
PHILLYBURBS.COM: Wayne Fish reports Flyers GM Paul Holmgren doesn’t sound like he’s going to buck the recent NHL trend of not investing a lot of money in goaltending, suggesting Holmgren had seen enough of Sergei Bobrovsky to believe he’s a potential keeper for the next ten years, and if he needs a mentor next season they’ve got Michael Leighton under contract for next season. Fish believes if there’s money to be spent it should go toward landing another scorer, as Nik Zherdev wasn’t reliable enough this season while the jury is still out on Kris Versteeg.
DELAWARE ONLINE: Chuck Gormley reports the Flyers aren’t limited to free agency if they wish to pursue a top goalie, noting rumors have them linked to Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, New Jerrsey’s Martin Brodeur, Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff, and the NY Ranger’s Henrik Lundqvist. Gormley suggested the most logical choices would be Kiprusoff or Backstrom as they wouldn’t involve having to make a complicated three-way deal, and Backstrom would be the better choice given his youth. He suggested shipping either Jeff Carter or a package of Kris Versteeg and Matt Carle to the offensively starved Wild for Backstrom and perhaps defenseman Brent Burns.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of contradictory reports regarding the Flyers and how they’ll address their goaltending for next season. I’m inclined to believe they’ll make an upgrade but it could be a short-term one as Bobrovsky is considered their future between the pipes and they wouldn’t want to leave him in a backup role for too long. That would mean ruling out Bryzgalov unless he wants a two-year deal. Vokoun or Nabokov would appear the more viable options if they were to go that route. That of course seems the most sensible way to go, though it also wouldn’t surprise me if they went with Bobrovsky and Leighton next season, as they could always swing a trade during the season if that tandem isn’t working out as hoped. That however remains to be seen, as there could be pressure on Holmgren from ownership to bring in a better option. They would be dreaming in technocolour if they think they’ll land Miller, Lundqvist, Kiprusoff or Backstrom. Yes, I know, the Wild are starving for offense, but they’re not going to swap one problem (lack of offense) for another (lack of a quality starter).
YAHOO! SPORTS: Dmitry Chesnokov recently reported KHL money issues could play a factor in Alexander Radulov’s possible return to the Nashville Predators next season. Chesnokov noted funding for Salavat Yulaev, Radulov’s current club, will be cut considerably, which could make it difficult for the club to retain him. Chesnokov reports KHL contracts don’t contain an “out clause’, but if the club’s financing is reduced it’s possile Radulov and the team could reach a contract termination by “mutual consent” to save face for both sides.
EXAMINER.COM: Jim Diamond reports the Predators will have to reach a decision soon on the final year of winger J.P. Dumont’s contract. Though GM David Poile said in a recent press conference there currently wasn’t any plan to buy out the final season of Dumont’s contract, and he wanted to speak with the veteran forward before making any decision on his future, Diamond noted Dumont’s recent decline in his performance and that at 33 it’s unlikely the veteran’s performance will improve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chesnokov is in my opinion the most reliable source on news coming out of the KHL, so if he believes it’s possible Radulov could potentially part ways with his KHL club should their funding be cut, then it does indeed open the door for his possible return to the Predators. Bear in mind it’s only a possibility as nothing is set in stone yet, and I’m sure Salavat Yulaev would prefer to retain their star player. Until we get a definitive answer from Radulov as to his future plans, a return to the Predators shouldn’t be ruled out. As for Dumont, Poile publicly is being kind by not saying right away he’ll buy out Dumont, but I think that’s the only realistic option. They cannot continue to invest another $4 million into a player who is clearly no longer capable of playing up to that salary. They won’t be able to trade him and they certainly won’t want to demote him. They’ll need to free up cap space to re-sign Shea Weber and bolster their offense, either by Radulov’s return or via free agency or trade.