The addition of Daniel Cleary could force the Flyers to dump salary before the start of the season, the Panthers extend a training camp invitation to Tim Thomas, and an update on Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson.
PHILLY.COM/CSNPHILLY.COM: Frank Seravalli reports the Flyers haven’t officially announced agreeing to terms with free agent forward Daniel Cleary on a three-year, $8.25 million contract, insisting they’re bringing him to training camp on a tryout basis before signing off on his contract. That’s because the Flyers are currently $2 million over the salary cap and have to clear cap space before they can officially announce his signing.
They’re expected to place Chris Pronger and Marc-Andre Bourdon, but the Flyers must carry the duo “on the opening day salary cap before receiving their combined $5.5 million cushion on Day Two.” That’s stoked speculation defenseman Andrej Meszaros ($4 million) could be dealt.The move means the Flyers won’t be inviting Simon Gagne to training camp.
Tim Panaccio meanwhile cited a Flyers sources suggesting they could demote Sean Couturier and/or Brayden Schenn to their AHL affiliate for a couple of days and then recall them. Couturier and Schenn are on two-way contracts and are exempt from waivers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Few NHL GMs dance so close to the line with the salary cap as the Flyers’ Paul Holmgren. If he can’t dump salary via trade, expect Couturier and/or Schenn to be short-term demotions to make the Flyers cap compliant until Pronger and Bourdon are placed on LTIR, then they’ll be recalled.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov noted a report by TSN’s Bob McKenzie claiming the Florida Panthers have extended a professional tryout offer (PTO) to UFA goalie Tim Thomas. The Panthers haven’t confirmed this and Fialkov is awaiting word from Thomas’ agent. Fialkov also speculates the NY Islanders and Vancouver Canucks might be interested, but noted Thomas prefers to be a starting goalie.
SI.COM: Allan Muir wonders if former NY Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro could get a call from the Panthers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hopefully we’ll have clarification on the Panthers reported invite to Thomas later today. The only team I could see Thomas having a shot as a starter is with the Calgary Flames, but there’s no indication the Flames are interested in him. Otherwise, if he wants to play, he could be forced to accept a backup role.
THE SPORTING NEWS: Sean Gentille notes the Toronto Maple Leafs, having re-signed Nazem Kadri last night, will turn their focus on re-signing defenseman Cody Franson. TSN’s Darren Dreger believes Franson will get a one-year deal for around $2 million. Gentille noted that means the Leafs wouldn’t necessarily have to clear cap space, but they’ll have to if they intend on signing training camp invitee Mason Raymond.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gentille recently suggested the Leafs could clear cap space by trading winger Nikolai Kulemin. They could also demote one of their lower-salaried player and, as Gentille noted, carry a 22-man roster entering the season.