The latest speculation on possible moves by the Philadelphia Flyers, while two pending UFA forwards won’t be re-signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
COURIERPOST ONLINE: Chuck Gormley reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren hopes he can add to his roster without subtracting key players this summer. The Flyers currently have 18 players under contract for just under $59 million, meaning they’ll gain around $3 million in cap space if as expected the cap ceiling for next season increases to $62 million. Holmgren’s challenge will be to retain his core while adding a proven goalie either via free agency (a pool which includes Ilya Bryzgalov, Tomas Vokoun, Dwayne Roloson and Evgeni Nabokov) or trade, where Miikka Kiprusoff, Niklas Backstrom, or Jonathan Quick could be on the Flyers radar. Holmgren has indicated he’d like to retain forward Jeff Carter, who’s been the subject of trade speculation. Gormley believes Holmgren will have to cut salary from the bottom of his roster. If he places Ian Laperriere on LTIR next season and keeps Michael Leighton and defenseman Matt Walker in the minors, that would free up an additional $4.4 million. Holmgren intends to send qualifying offers to RFAs Dan Carcillo, Darroll Powe and Andreas Nodl, but Gormley suggested Carcillo could become the odd man out. Gormley also reports Holmgren would prefer to retain pending UFA forward Ville Leino, but Leino is seeking $3.5 million per season, while the Flyers would prefer to sign him for $2.5 million. If Leino departs and they replace him with promising Matt Read, they would have about $1.5 million in available cap space before tinkering with their defense. Gormley assumes if Holmgren retains his core forwards (minus Leino and Carcillo), he could turn to moving a defenseman, perhaps Matt Carle and his one-year, $3.4 million salary.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nabokov won’t be a free agent, as the Islanders intend to “toll” his contract toward next season, with the intent of shopping him in the off-season. His one-year, $570K salary would be much more affordable, without the need of having to dump around $5 million to free up cap space for a more expensive goalie. Forget about Kiprusoff and Backstrom, they’re not available, and I don’t believe the Kings are in a big hurry to move Quick. If Leino is seeking $3.5 million per season, Holmgren will let him walk, as that asking price is far too much. Burying Leighton and Walker in the minors and putting Laperriere on LTIR will also work, as well as shopping Carle. Carter won’t be shopped, and even if he were his expensive, lengthy deal would be very difficult to move, especially with only one season remaining in the current CBA. Looks like Holmgren has several options, with trading Carter the least likely.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Shelly Anderson reports Penguins GM Ray Shero said pending UFA forwards Alex Kovalev and Mike Comrie won’t be re-signed, indicating the 30-year-old Comrie could be “leaning toward retirement”. Shero wouldn’t rule out re-signing any of his other UFAs, a list which includes Max Talbot, Pascal Dupuis, Michael Rupp, Craig Adams, Arron Asham, Eric Goddard, Chris Conner and Nick Johnson. Talks with Adams are ongoing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg. No surprise Comrie and Kovalev won’t be back, and I would be very surprised if they’re playing in the NHL next season.