More speculation on potential off-season moves for the Philadelphia Flyers, and evaluations of Colorado Avalanche free agents Milan Hejduk and Ryan Stoa.
PHILLYBURBS.COM: Wayne Fish reported Sunday the Flyers quick playoff elimination at the hands of the Boston Bruins raises many questions heading into the off-season. Does the goaltending strategy have to be changed? Is the defense getting a little long in the tooth (Kimmo Timonen and Chris Pronger are 36, Sean O’Donnell 39)? Were Kris Versteeg and Nik Zherdev the right forwards to replace Simon Gagne? Is this the right mix of players to execute Peter Laviolette’s system? Fish also reported backup goalie Brian Boucher is an unrestricted free agent, Sergei Bobrovsky will likely remain in the mix, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the Flyers attempted to move Michael Leighton, who still has another season remaining on his contract. The Flyers will also try to re-sign Ville Leino, and will probably be in the market for another scorer, as Zherdev – a UFA – probably won’t be back.
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Phil Sheridan reiterated his belief goaltending must be a priority for GM Paul Holmgren to address this summer.
PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS: Frank Seravalli looked at the Flyers roster and offered up his opinion of which players will remain and which could move on. He believes if the Flyers were to shop Jeff Carter there would be twenty teams interested, believes Scott Hartnell’s salary would make him hard to move, noted Zherdev was scratched 24 times this season, will have to figure out where RFA Dan Carcillo fits both under the salary cap and on the roster, believes Andreas Nodl will return next season, it might cost between $2-$3 million per season to retain Leino, Ian Laperriere is all but retired due to post-concussion symptoms but management would have to convince the league he’s still attempting a comeback in order to clear his salary from their books next season, it’s unknown if 39-year-old Sean O’Donnell wants to return or if the Flyers are interested, Bobrovsky will be back, it remains to be seen what happens with Leighton, while Boucher would love to return with the Flyers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky certainly will return, but the Flyers need to bring in an experienced starter for a year or two to take some pressure off “Bob” and aid in his development. Boucher probably won’t be re-signed, and Leighton could be shopped or waived in the off-season, or demoted next season. Given their limited cap space they’ll have to move salary if they hope to bring in an experienced starter, re-sign Leino and have enough left to fill out the rest of their roster. Trading for Evgeni Nabokov ($570K salary) makes the most sense cap-wise, but it remains to be seen if they go that route. Moving a player like Carter might help land a quality goalie, but that big contract might scare off some suitors, and we don’t know if that’s even an option Holmgren and company are willing to consider. Zherdev isn’t returning, and I wouldn’t fully rule out the possibility of Versteeg being shopped. Holmgren has proven a master at icing a competitive team with minimal cap space, but this summer could prove his toughest challenge yet.
DENVER POST: Adrian Dater has been rating the 2010-11 Colorado Avalanche roster, determining which free agents could return and which could be cut loose. Dater believes it would be worthwhile for the Avalanche to re-sign veteran winger Milan Hejduk to a one-year deal, but wondered if young forward Ryan Stoa would be re-signed after a disappointing performance in limited play this season with the Avs. Dater also predicted RFA forward David Jones could get a two-year, $4 million extension. He also suggested next season could be a make-or-break one for Brandon Yip, and feels it’s time to part ways with backup goalie Peter Budaj.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with Dater’s assessments. Hejduk would certainly be worthwhile to bring back for another season and he sounded receptive to that prospect. They definitely need to upgrade in goal and with Brian Elliott on the roster he could take over the backup role should they as expected seek a new starting goaltender.