Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The Philadelphia Flyers are stepping up their efforts to acquire defenceman Jay Bouwmeester from the Florida Panthers, but salary cap constraints are rearing their ugly head.
The Flyers are bumping up against the cap and they are working hard to try to free up some space.
Sources say one of the options is trading goaltender Marty Biron and turning the number one job over to Antero Niittymaki. One potential scenario has the Flyers trading Biron to the Phoenix Coyotes as part of a plan that would see the Coyotes flip Biron to another team.
But the Coyotes aren’t going to make that move unless they have the other deal already set up.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
But to make room for Briere’s exorbitant salary, the Flyers were forced to demote promising right wing Claude Giroux ($473,000 cap hit) and depth defenseman Lasse Kukkonen ($875,000) to the Phantoms.
This just 24 hours after seeing center Glen Metropolit (two years, $2 million) and defenseman Ossi Vaananen (one year, $1 million) claimed off waivers by the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks, respectively.
“It’s very disappointing,” Flyers left wing Scottie Upshall said. “We had two key guys lost due to the business side of hockey.
“You try to act like it has no effect on the dressing room, but it definitely does. You’re losing two of your buddies, your teammates, and you’re not getting anything in return. We’re excited about getting Danny back, there’s no question about that. But the new CBA was put in place for that reason, and we’re on the side where we had to make moves.”
During today’s Flyers/Devils game, Simon Gagne took a shot off his open right hand. He went off the ice in obvious pain and has not returned.
added 2:05pm, Gagne back on the bench.
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Yes, it would be nice having a dependable, shutdown goalie like Tim Thomas, Steve Mason or Niklas Backstrom.
But it is what it is. That said, the Flyers’ goalie situation isn’t such a bad thing.
The competition should keep both goalies extra sharp and focused as the team jockeys for a playoff position. Biron and Niittymaki are playing for the right to be the playoff goalie. They are both unrestricted free agents after the season, so they are also playing for new contracts.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
First, he had to inform center Glen Metropolit he’d been claimed off waivers by the Montreal Canadiens and would be playing against the Flyers a few hours later.
Then he had to tell defenseman Ossi Vaananen he, too, was claimed and was heading to the Vancouver Canucks.
Then came word from Danny Briere that his nagging groin pain would not allow him to return to the lineup Friday night.
“When I talked to him (Friday) afternoon he told me he’s not quite there yet,” Holmgren said. “His words were, “In my mind I’m not 100 percent,’ and it’s not in our best interests to put him at risk.”...
With Florida Panthers general manager Jacques Martin back in Philadelphia for the second time in three nights, Holmgren acknowledged he has inquired about defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.
more on the Flyers…
from Anthony J. SanFilippo of the Delco Times,
The Flyers would like to improve their blue line and Bouwmeester would be a significant upgrade.
There are a few problems getting in the way of a possible deal.
First and foremost, the Flyers have salary-cap issues. They would need to trade the equivalent or greater salary to Florida in order to fit Bouwmeester on the roster. Bouwmeester makes $4.875 million.
Secondly, Bouwmeester, 25, is an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the season. If the Flyers were to make a deal for the defenseman, they would want to make sure they could sign him to a long-term deal. Trading for him as a rental wouldn’t be prudent, especially considering what he’s going to cost.
Which leads to problem No. 3: The Panthers want an NHL-caliber defenseman to replace him and an NHL forward, yet they don’t want to take too much salary back in return.
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull at the Philadelphia Inquirer,
In the last two games, each goalie has been superb.
In the Flyers’ 2-0 win over Los Angeles tonight, Biron made 34 saves and notched his second shutout of the season. It was also his 25th career shutout. The previous night, Niittymaki excelled in a 4-2 win at powerful Washington….
Coach John Stevens was asked if he would consider using two goalies in the playoffs.
“My focus right now is getting our team into the playoffs,” he said. “I think by that time, someone is going to take the lead role and then somebody is going to be the guy we count on.”
from Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Team officials privately, and coach John Stevens publicly, say the trade deadline probably won’t provide a big headline. There are salary-cap constraints and a limited number of available players who could make a big difference and, anyway, they like the team they have now.
“If the deadline comes and goes and the team that’s here is the team that’s here, I think we’re pretty confident this group can compete with anybody,” Stevens said. “I don’t think we’re looking for anybody to come in here and save the day. If we were to make any changes at all, I think it will be to complement what’s already here and not to resurrect anything.”
from Jack McCaffery of the Delco Times,
Without substantial new investment, Stevens has aligned his seven defensemen so snugly that should the March 4 trade deadline pass without Paul Holmgren adding one more big body to the group, the Flyers will be no less likely to make a serious postseason push….
Holmgren still could add a defenseman at the deadline. Injuries happen, and the Flyers’ defense was fractured during the last postseason. Derian Hatcher is still threatening to make a return. Luca Sbisa likely will rejoin the team for the playoffs. Lasse Kukkonen remains with the Phantoms, providing depth.
But for now, the Flyers’ defense is set, complementary and effective, with just enough youth, just enough experience, just enough offense, defense and skill to work.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Since Ron Hextall’s excellent first tour of duty in the Flyers’ net from the 1986-87 season to 1991-92, the revolving door in the Flyers’ goal has been mesmerizing. The search for a true No. 1 has been endless.
It started with Tommy Soderstrom in 1992-93, followed the next season by Dominic Roussel. Then came Hextall’s second tour of (twilight) duty, followed by the likes of Garth Snow, Sean Burke, John Vanbiesbrouck, Brian Boucher, Roman Cechmanek, Robert Esche, Niittymaki and then Biron.
By our count, that’s 11 masked men who have had legitimate handles on the Flyers’ No. 1 job over 16 seasons. The New Jersey Devils have had the same guy in net for the past 15 seasons. The Flyers? They’ve averaged about 1.5 seasons per starting goalie. Talk about a short shelf life.
Find out what it’s like to be a professional hockey player on ‘Day In The Life,’ airing tonight at 7:00pm ET on the NHL Network.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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