The Flyers Could Trade For Steven Stamkos

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Report: Flyers Violate CBA With Max Talbot Contract

TSN’s Gord Miller is reporting that the Flyers appear to have violated the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with their five-year contract to Max Talbot.

Briefly, according to Article 50.7 of the CBA, a player cannot have their salary decrease from year to year by more than half the amount of their first two year’s salaries. In the reported Talbot contract, he has a salary of $2.25 million in the second year, but sees his salary decrease from $2.25 million in the third year to $1 million in the fourth year. That $1.25 million decrease is more than half the amount of the lowest salary during the first two years.

While this is clearly a problem, it is relatively easy to fix. If true, the NHL will void Talbot’s contract and make him a free agent again. At which point, the Flyers can simply offer him another five-year, $9 million contract, but this time have him make $2.5 million each of the first two years, and $2 million the third (rather than $2.5 million the first, $2.25 million each of the next two.) Same cap hit, same length, same dollar amount, same two-year bookend.

It appears as though the NHL has discretion to penalize the Flyers through either fines or loss of draft picks, but for something as minor as this, we will probably never hear about it.

While the error has very little practical effect, if true, this blunder has to be embarrassing for Assistant General Manager Barry Hanrahan, GM Paul Holmgren, and Owner Ed Snider.


Vokoun Signs With Washington; Proves Flyers Overpaid for Bryzgalov

So the Washington Capitals signed Tomas Vokoun to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. For those keeping score at home, that’s eight years and $4.166667 million less than the Flyers paid for Ilya Bryzgalov. It also means the Capitals saved $1.333333 million by trading Semyon Varlamov to Colorado for a first round pick, and either a second or third round pick.

For the second straight year, there was no market for UFA goaltenders. The highest cap hit given out to a goalie who reached unrestricted free agency belongs to… Mike Smith at $2 million per year over two years. The only other goalie scheduled to be a UFA to get a $2 million cap hit was Dwayne Roloson in Tampa, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal on June 29th.

Some will argue that the reason there is no market is because the Flyers took the best goalie off the market prior to free agency. This is a decent argument, except for the fact that Vokoun has a higher career even-strength save percentage than Bryzgalov as well as a higher total save percentage. Further, when there was only one elite goaltender left, wouldn’t that make the market crazier? With all those teams desperate for the only elite goalie left, wouldn’t they be bidding against each other?

No, because the sad truth is that there was no market for goalies. When Mike Smith gets the biggest UFA contract for a goalie, there is no bidding war. If the Flyers let Bryzgalov get to July 1st, who else would be bidding on him? Colorado? Let Colorado overpay him and go get Vokoun then.

The Flyers ignored all of this and signed Ilya Bryzgalov to the only contract for longer than two years, and the only contract worth more than $4 million. Not by a little, mind you. No, they went nine years and $51 million. When there are two teams who want an elite goalie and two elite goalies on the market, it’s pretty hard to overpay by seven years (a 350% overpay) and $47 million (1175% overpay). And yet the Flyers pulled it off.

This is remarkable if for no other reason than all we heard for the past week and a half is “this is a business.”

I have no doubt the Flyers are run by shrewd businessmen. I have no doubt that Ed Snider knows how to run a successful business. But the blatant disregard for market forces isn’t good business, and the UFA goaltending market continues to baffle the Flyers.


NHL Free Agency: Ville Leino Signs With Buffalo Sabres

Ville Leino is now a former Flyer. The 27 year old Finland native signed a 6 year, $27 million deal. The TSN crew met the news with some shock at the size of the deal given what Leino is as a player, but that is the nature of free agency. Teams overpay if they want a guy, that’s nothing new.

Leino was a guy we noted a few days ago probably wouldn’t be as big a loss as people think. In fact, ESPN’s Neil Greenberg had him on his list of the top potential free agent busts.

Leino was the beneficiary of the hockey trifecta — puck luck, good linemates and very soft minutes. His shooting percentage of 16.2 percent was good for fourth among forwards playing at least 40 games last season. Fifty-eight goals were scored by his most frequent linemates, Daniel Briere and Scotty Hartnell, and he saw almost two-thirds of his starts occur in the offensive zone against the weakest competition that opposing teams put on the ice. General managers will recall Leino’s impressive 2010 postseason in which Philadelphia advanced to the Stanley Cup finals, but without teammates such as Carter and Richards to handle the tough minutes, it’s likely his production level drops to single-digit goals.

Still, good for Leino, who has spent a couple years being pretty well underpaid for the value he was providing to the Flyers. So he certainly deserves to be overpaid for a while if anyone does.

If you’re a fantasy hockey player though, it might be wise to sell high on Leino, who will likely see his 19 goals and 34 assists drop in Buffalo.


NHL Free Agency: Flyers Snatch C Max Talbot From Penguins

The Flyers angered Penguins fans by signing one of their all time favorite players in Jaromir Jagr. But at 39 years old, and being out of the NHL for a few years, it was a more of a nostalgic anger for the Penguins.

However, this latest signing will anger Pens from from an on the ice perspective. The Flyers have agreed to a 5-year, $9 million deal with free agent C Maxime Talbot, who scored the game winning goal that won the Pens the Stanley Cup.

After the Flyers traded away Richards and Carter, the Flyers were expected to be out in the market for a third line center to take on those tough minutes lost. Talbot would certainly seem to fit that bill. He’s a good penalty killer with a strong work ethic that can be a plus defensive presence.

It’s a long deal at 5 years, but the money really isn’t crazy. He’s not a big point producer, but should be a valuable role player for the Flyers going forward.


NHL Free Agency: Flyers Sign Jaromir Jagr

The Flyers have made a bit of a shock today with the signing of free agent winger Jaromir Jagr. The 39 year old was expected to sign back with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he started his career and played over 800 games. Obviously though, those negotiations broke down at some point and the Flyers pounced.

Jagr has been out of the NHL for three years playing Russia with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. He’s played very well over there scoring over 20 goals per year, Considering he was only playing around 50 games, that’s a good haul.

The reports on him are that he is in good shape and is working harder than he did in his younger days, however pundits feel that he’s really most effective in the first 20 seconds of a shift and can tend to wear down over the course of a :40-45 second shift. However, he still has fantastic hands, a great shot and should be an asset on the power play unit. He could very well end up on a line with Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk.

Darren Dreger reports that Jagr’s deal is for one year and $3.3 million.

Jagr has now basically completed the tour of the old Patrick division by signing with the Flyers after playing for most all of their biggest rivals. First the Penguins, then the Capitals and finally the Rangers. If he'd only been a Devil... Penguins fans are shocked and seemingly feel betrayed the Jagr would spurn Pittsburgh for Philadelphia.


Flyers Sign Jaromir Jagr

Per Paul Holmgren, the Flyers have agreed to terms with free agent winger Jaromir Jagr. The contract is apparently much higher than previously discussed.

Chuck Gormley believes it's a one-year deal worth $2.3 million.


Ville Leino Will Hit Free Agent Market

Welp, it looks like Ville Leino will test the waters in free agency after rejecting the Flyers' generous offer of $12 million for four years. There goes the wrench that I talked about in my previous update.

Read more here: SB Nation


NHL Free Agent Frenzy Begins

It's here. The start of NHL free agency will take place in less than one hour from now and teams everywhere are gearing up to make some moves. Now that Steven Stamkos is out of the picture for the Flyers, they can focus their attention elsewhere.

Ryan Bright of Philly Sports Daily has some ideas of what the Flyers will do as well as a preview of how the lines will be structured this upcoming season.

Of the options available, the most talked about is 32-year-old forward Erik Cole, who won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes and Flyers coach Peter Laviolette in 2007. Cole made $2.9 million against the cap last season, while scoring 26 goals and 26 assists in 82 games. At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Cole is a sizable veteran power forward. With the young wingers on the roster for the Flyers this upcoming season, the leadership and a gritty style that Cole possesses could go a long way.

Erik Cole is someone I could deal with as a Flyer. Sure, Jamie Langenbrunner (35-years-old) and John Madden (38-years-old) are probably great guys, but do the Flyers really want players with that type of age?

Regardless of their roster, come Friday afternoon, the Flyers will undoubtedly be buyers. It’s just a matter of who, where and what happens with Leino.

This is an important point. Ville Leino holds the key so to speak. If the Flyers can't re-sign him, they'll have to go after a winger to take his place and that could throw a wrench in the whole "depth-building" plan.

Head on over to Broad Street Hockey and follow along the NHL Free Agency Discussion Thread.


Flyers Trade Darroll Powe To Minnesota Wild For 3rd Round Pick In 2013

The Flyers have made yet another trade, although this one won’t make nearly the headlines of the other two they pulled off last week. This time they shipped center Darroll Powe to the Minnesota Wild for a third round pick in the 2013 draft.

That brings the Flyers Ivy league graduate contingent down to nil… It also means one less good skater that was useful on the penalty kill. In fact, the only Flyer to log more minutes on the penalty kill last year was Blair Betts and even that was only by a slight margin. Powe never put up many points, but is certainly the kind of role player that most every team likes to have.

The team also announced today that it had signed Andreas Nodl to a new two year deal that will pay him $845K per year. He’s a fairly similar player to Powe with maybe a little more upside. Nodl is two years younger than Powe and will likely be expected to play Powe’s role next year.


Scouting Reports: Sean Couturier As Big, Two-Way Center Comparable to Jordan Staal

With their first top-10 pick in five years, and their first pick in the first round since 2008, the Flyers selected center Sean Couturier of the QMJHL. Central Scouting ranked him the sixth best skater in North America, and he was listed as the second best as of the halfway point of this year.

Couturier is often compared to Jordan Staal as a shutdown type center, capable of facing the opposition’s best. The list of accolades for Couturier includes 2011 World Juniors silver medalist, QMJHL MVP in 2011, QMJHL leading scorer in 2010, and the first 17-year old to lead the QMJHL in scoring since Sidney Crosby in 2005.

The scouting report on Courturier says:

“At his size, he’ll be hard to pass up in the draft. He possesses a very good work ethic and he’s out there for every important faceoff. He’s very responsible in the defensive aspect of the game — a rare quality for such a young player in junior hockey."

After trading both Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, it seems like the Flyers have drafted their replacements. Courturier is a two-way player who can also score, just like the former Flyers’ duo.

For more on Couturier, check out In Lou We Trust’s thorough report, his Elite Prospects page for stats, and the story on his being drafted.


Blockbuster: Flyers Trade Mike Richards to Kings for Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds

On the heels of trading Jeff Carter to the Blue Jackets, the Flyers shipped out Captain Mike Richards for Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.

While the Carter trade was not a surprise – it had been rumored for weeks – the trade of Mike Richards was completely unforeseen. While one trade can be seen as clearing cap space for Ilya Bryzgalov, trading both of your 2003 first round picks – which make up the core of your team – signifies something completely different.

This isn’t about getting a goalie, this is about a complete organizational rebuild. A month ago, we wrote that the argument over a big-name goalie was about the makeup of the team. Trading your franchise cornerstones, who were contracted through 2020, is a complete reworking of your team.

While neither trade was poor – Brayden Schenn is going to be a legit star in this league while both Voracek and Simmonds are top-9 talent – the act of trading your two most recognizable faces is a risky move. Ed Snider ordered Paul Holmgren to get a goalie, and Holmgren took the opportunity to start from scratch.

Barely over a calendar year after being two wins away from the Stanley Cup, the Flyers have traded their two franchise players. They’re starting over, and they’re building around Ilya Bryzgalov.

[Update by JasonB, 06/23/11 5:07 PM EDT ] The Flyers have announced that they've also received a 2nd round pick from LA.


Report: Flyers Trade Jeff Carter to Columbus, Get Jakub Voracek and Draft Picks

According to multiple sources – including TSN’s Bob McKenzie and DelcoTimes writer Anthony SanFilippo – the Flyers have traded Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for restricted free agent winger Jakub Voracek and Columbus’ first and third round draft picks.

This trade had been rumored for a while now, and it appears to finally have happened. While the Flyers do get the #8 overall pick in tomorrow’s draft and a former #7 overall draft pick in Jakub Voracek, the team loses their best offensive forward, an elite two-way NHL forward, and a key member of their “core” that Paul Holmgren continuously pledged to keep together.

What does this mean? It means Ilya Bryzgalov will be a Flyer next year. And it means he’s going to cost a lot of money against the cap.

More to come…


Reports: Flyers Have Deal With Bryzgalov for Roughly $7 Million Per Year

According to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet, Ilya Bryzgalov is seeking a seven year, $50 million contract from the Flyers. In response, Elliotte Friedman of CBC stated that he “heard [the cap hit] will be around $7 million”.

Now, obviously these are rumors. But two journalists from separate news organizations have stated that the Flyers are ready to offer Ilya Bryzgalov a $7 million contract that runs to the end of the decade. This would make Bryzgalov the highest paid goalie in the NHL (behind NY RangersHenrik Lundqvist at $6.875 million) and one of the top-20 highest paid players in the NHL. Simply put, that’s a huge contract that will be very difficult to earn.

If true, what that move means for the Flyers roster is yet to be determined. But it certainly means the Jeff Carter rumors are back on the table, even with the $4.6 million increase in the salary cap. It also means that the Flyers will need to make difficult decisions about what those salary dumps are worth in a trade market, after tipping your hand.

Whether or not Bryzgalov is worth $7 million depends on your perspective. Ed Snider thinks he is, therefore a lot of people will agree. But as J.P. of Japers’ Rink pointed out, Bryzgalov hasn’t been that much better than his backups in Phoenix over the last three years. In terms of even-strength save percentage over those three years, Bryzgalov stopped 0.92587% while his primary backups stopped 0.92589%. Yes, the primary backups to Bryzgalov in Phoenix (Jason LaBarbera and Mikael Tellqvist) stopped a higher percentage of even-strength shots.

Obviously, there are caveats to that fact. Bryzgalov played a lot more minutes, faced a lot more shots, and almost certainly faced a lot stiffer competition. That doesn’t mean LaBarbera and Tellqvist are as good as Bryzgalov. However, it does show that the Coyotes defense was quite good, since they can show Jason LaBarbera as an above-average NHL goalie – and an elite NHL backup – on the level of Bryzgalov.

It also shows that Ilya Bryzgalov is not a $7 million goalie. Unless you value 65 game goalies at roughly $5 million, regardless of how much better than the $1.25 million backup they are.

[Note by JasonB, 06/22/11 2:27 PM EDT ] For what it's worth, Tim Panaccio is reporting that the Flyers are denying these reported figures.


Report: NHL Salary Cap Will Be $64 Million for 2011-12

According to both CapGeek and TSN, the NHL will announce that the salary cap for 2011-12 will be $64 million, up from $59.4 million last season.

This is good news for the Flyers, especially in their quest to sign Ilya Bryzgalov. As it stands, the Flyers have only $430k in cap space with 18 players signed. With the increase, the Flyers will now have over $5 million in space. In an attempt to sign Bryzgalov, the Flyers will be giving most of that cap increase to the unrestricted free agent.

With the larger increase, the Flyers will be able to keep more of their high priced players that were rumored to be on the way out, such as Jeff Carter, Ville Leino, Kris Versteeg, and Matt Carle. The team will likely still have to move someone – and still be unlikely to sign Leino – but the $4.6 million cap increase makes the squeeze less painful.


Tomas Vokoun Says The Flyers Have Contacted Him

Ilya Bryzgalov is not the only high-name, high-priced goalie on the Flyers radar this summer. According to an Edmonton Journal translation of a Czech newspaper, pending unrestricted free agent Tomas Vokoun has been contacted by the Flyers, as well as Bryzgalov’s former employer, the Phoenix Coyotes.

According to the Edmonton Journal, Vokoun "has heard from Philadelphia". Further, the Journal quoted Vokoun as saying:

“I would not be displeased if I got a good offer from Floria and accepted it. But if I happen to get an offer from a team that might have a chance to challenge for the Stanley Cup, now, that might be irresistible.”

When asked which team might have a change to challenge, Vokoun oddly stated Colorado. Either way, it is clear that Philadelphia fits into that category as well.

However, a Google Translation of the article reveals something entirely different:

“I still remain calm, as it still does not solve I can not. Now is the only option: to get an offer from Florida. No one else can not offer me anything. Time is 30 June, then I know,”

First, if the Edmonton Journal report is true, the Panthers may have a grievance with the NHL against the Flyers for contacting one of their players. But beyond that, it would be good to know that the Flyers aren’t backing themselves into Bryzgalov’s corner, allowing him to beat every last dollar and year out of them.

But if the Google Translation is correct, and that is the article the Edmonton Journal is citing, Vokoun says nothing about receiving offers or calls from other teams. That certainly clouds the situation.

Either way, the gap between Bryzgalov and Vokoun is small (a 0.001 difference in both even-strength save percentage and total save percentage for their careers), but it may surprise you to know that Vokoun is better than Bryzgalov in both categories.

It would be prudent of Paul Holmgren to keep tabs on Tomas Vokoun, since he’s just as good, likely looking for less money, and is certainly looking for fewer years.


Flyers Acquire Rights to Ilya Bryzgalov

For the second year in a row, the Flyers have traded for a pending free agent’s negotiating rights. Late on Tuesday, the Flyers sent Matt Clackson, a third round pick, and a conditional pick to the Phoenix Coyotes for the right to speak with free agent goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.

After rumors swirled that the Flyers were interested in acquiring Bryzgalov, the team finally did. Now, the biggest hurdle will be the goaltender’s demands. It has been reported that Bryzgalov was seeking a multi-year contract with a raise from his $4.5 million salary last year. If true, the Flyers will be hard pressed to offer him a contract that fits under the cap.

As it stands, the Flyers have $58.97 million committed to 18 players for next year. Depending on how much the salary cap goes up – which could be as much as $5 million, though estimates are closer to a three or four million increase – the Flyers will have to get creative.

Over at Broad Street Hockey, I already showed that Ilya Bryzgalov would not be much of an improvement in net, and that was even before accounting for the pieces that would have to be subtracted in order to afford him. But here we are, with the Flyers giving up (another) third round draft pick just to speak to a goalie for three weeks. Maybe they can’t sign him and swap his rights for a draft pick, maybe they sign him for dirt cheap, but maybe they are forced to trade Jeff Carter. Stay tuned.

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