Flyers poor start generating trade rumors linking them to the Calgary Flames, more “Vanek-to-Minnesota” speculation, the latest on the Penguins goaltending and more.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports the struggling (0-3) Flyers could face a shake-up if their performance doesn’t soon improve. He wonders how patient GM Paul Holmgren will be with coach Peter Laviolette, who is coming off a season in which the Flyers missed the playoffs for only the second time in 18 years.
Frank Seravalli, however, reports the Flyers have been linked to Calgary Flames winger Curtis Glencross, claiming the Flames are “desperate” for a blueliner to play alongside captain Mark Giordano. The Flyers reportedly dispatched scouts to watch the Flames recent games. Seravalli also speculated the Flyers could have interest in young Flames forward Sven Baertschi, while TSN’s Darren Dreger recently claimed the Flyers had interest in some of the Anaheim Ducks young forwards. Seravalli claims at this point a trade doesn’t appear imminent but it’s not out of the question Holmgren might shake up the dressing room.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Right now the Flames are off to a better-than-expected start (1-0-2) so they’re probably in no rush to make a deal right now. Glencross also has a full NMC and might be unwilling to waive it. The Flames might be unwilling to part with him right now unless he demands a trade. Despite Baertschi’s recent public scolding by Brian Burke, I don’t think they’re ready to part ways with the kid. They’re rebuilding for the long haul now, so I doubt they’re interested in “quick-fix” moves.
The Ducks, meanwhile, are reportedly seeking a defenseman and have depth in young forwards to draw from as trade bait, so they seem a better fit.
If a trade can’t be made to turn things around, Laviolette could take the fall.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the overall feeling around the league is Buffalo Sabres winger Thomas Vanek will end up with the Minnesota Wild at season’s end, and could take a pay cut to do so. Among the factors which could lure him to Minnesota is Vanek’s friend and former Sabres teammate Jason Pominville recently signed a five-year contract extension with the Wild…The strong play of Penguins rookie blueliner Olli Maata could make Simon Despres trade bait. Despres was recently demoted to the minors…With Sheldon Souray and Luca Sbisa sidelined, the Anaheim Ducks need a defenseman. The Penguins could dangle Despres, the Toronto Maple Leafs have John-Michael Liles available and the Flyers could offer up Andrej Meszaros…Matheson expects the Penguins will eventually acquire a veteran backup, suggesting Mathieu Garon as a possibility.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I noted yesterday, Vanek also has strong ties to Minnesota, having played his college hockey there, his wife is a Minnesotan and he lives in the state in the off-season. If the cap increases significantly next season, the Wild would have room to sign him, but it remains to be seen if they’re actually willing to invest in another expensive forward. He does seems like a perfect fit there…The Ducks currently have less than $1.3 million in cap space, so they can’t take on Meszaros ($4 million) unless the Flyers agree to take back a significant salary in return. Same goes for Liles ($3.875 million) and the Leafs. Liles also has a limited NTC. Despres ($840K) would be the perfect fit cap-wise, provided the Pens are willing to move him…As for the Penguins seeking an experienced goalie, that won’t happen right away, as they intend to give inexperienced Jeff Zatkoff an opportunity to prove him capable of handling the role of backup.
CORRECTION: Yesterday, I stated Washington’s Martin Erat has two years remaining on his contract and was being paid $5.5 million in actual salary for this season. In fact, he has one more season remaining after this one and his salary for this season is $3.75 million. The average cap hit, however, remains $4.5 million. My thanks to everyone who pointed out this error to me.