Flyers 'Frontrunners' for G Jonathan Bernier, Kings Want Jake Voracek

Flyers 'Frontrunners' for G Jonathan Bernier, Kings Want Jake Voracek

Peter Laviolette set an NHL record by making seven in-game goaltender switches during the 2011 playoffs. Now it seems Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren is trying to one-up his head coach with a juggling act of his own.

For a franchise that was determined to discontinue the merry-go-round in their own net, the front office doesn’t appear to have much of a plan.

During the offseason that followed Lavvy’s historic indecisiveness, club chairman Ed Snider proclaimed the Flyers would “never” go through that with goalies again – except that’s exactly what’s happening here. The only difference is instead of playing out on the ice, it’s taking place over the telephone and on paper, fantasy hockey style.

Holmgren signed Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine year, $51 million contract. Part of the aftermath of that deal was trading 24-year-old Sergei Bobrovsky to Columbus, where he promptly won the Vezina Trophy. Since trading Bob the club has acquired and extended Steve Mason, and drafted Anthony Stolarz. This was all over the past two years, mind you.

Now the front office is reportedly chasing Jonathan Bernier, the 24-year-old backup netminder for the Los Angeles Kings, and he won’t come cheap. Bernier, who has appeared in 62 career games over five NHL seasons, will likely demand a sizable contract extension, plus the Flyers will have send one or two of the quality players that make up their young core.

And no, this is not a deal that gets done with Matt Read as a key part of the package. Per Tim Panaccio, the Kings are asking for Jakub Voracek, who is coming off a breakout season where he was named the Flyers’ most valuable player. You can bank on Sean Couturier’s name coming up as the feature piece in package at some point as well.

If you think Homer would reject either offer out of hand, it’s worth noting the Flyers (along with the Leafs) are currently considered one of the frontrunners to acquire Bernier according to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos. He also adds that the Kings are looking to make the exchange “sooner than later.”

The whole situation is completely ludicrous. Should they buyout Bryzgalov’s contract and land Bernier, in two years time the Flyers will have agreed to pay one goalie in excess of $20 million to play somewhere else, traded another who – at least for one season – was the best player between the pipes in the entire NHL, and blocked yet another who was brought here to compete for a job. Plus in doing so, they will have traded one, possibly two players/draft picks with future-All-Star potential.

That’s not even delving into what if anything this deal would mean long-term for Stolarz, a 2012 second-round pick who is doing well in the OHL.

This for a player in Bernier who himself is not a proven commodity as a starting goaltender. Don’t get me wrong, Jonathan Quick’s understudy is an enticing option considering his career numbers – 29-20-6 record, .912 save percentage, and 2.36 goals against average. That’s 62 games during five years though. How would he hold up over a full season?

Is Bernier a sure thing? Is he the missing piece to a Stanley Cup run?

Who knows the answer to such questions, but trading an emerging star like Voracek after he posted 46 points in 48 games last season and was a perfect pairing for Claude Giroux, or Couturier who is already one of the better defensive forwards in the league seems incredibly short-sighted. The Flyers may feel like they have to move on this now because signing Bryz hasn’t worked out so far, but Bernier just looks like another costly band-aid – both in dollars and talent.

When this trade inevitably goes through, it will be the mark of an organization that's working without blueprints. They panicked in 2011 with Bobrovsky, leading directly to Bryzgalov's enormous contract, and they are panicking again with their wheeling and dealing, digging one hole to fill another somewhere else. That's the Flyers way.

>> Source: Kings contact Flyers about goalie Bernier [CSN]

NFL Notes: Martavis Bryant conditionally reinstated

NFL Notes: Martavis Bryant conditionally reinstated

PITTSBURGH -- The NFL has conditionally reinstated Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant from his yearlong suspension. The decision could give the team a big boost for the 2017 season.

Bryant was suspended in March 2016 for a second violation of the league's substance abuse policy.

The league said Tuesday that Bryant may work out at the team facility and participate in meetings. He will not be cleared for all preseason activities, including practices and games, until the league has confirmed Bryant has found "clinical resources" in Pittsburgh.

Bryant caught 76 passes for 1,314 yards during his first two seasons, in 2014 and 2015. His return could ease some of the pressure on All-Pro teammate Antonio Brown.

Saints: Peterson to New Orleans 
NEW ORLEANS -- Free-agent running back Adrian Peterson says he has agreed to a two-year contract with the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints have not announced a deal, but Peterson told ESPN in a statement Tuesday that he's agreed to play in New Orleans.

"It goes without saying that the Saints are really solid behind Drew Brees. I feel like my skill set can make them even more dominant as a unit," Peterson said in his statement. "They have a great offensive line, which is something that stood out to me as well."

Peterson, 32, has spent his entire 10-year NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings, surpassing 1,000 yards rushing in a season seven times and 2,000 yards once. His career-best 2,097-yard rushing season in 2012 came one season after he had reconstructive knee surgery to repair a torn ACL.

Peterson played in only three games last season before being sidelined by another knee injury, a meniscal tear that was surgically repaired. He also missed 15 games in 2014 because of a child abuse case in which he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor reckless assault. The victim was his son, then 4 years old.

Peterson's last full season was in 2015, when he had 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing.

Now, Peterson joins a club for which he could wind up as a backup running back in an offense that passes the ball most of the time. Mark Ingram, who is coming off one of his best seasons, is New Orleans' incumbent starter at running back. Brees led the NFL in passing last season with 5,208 yards.

Yet, in his statement, Peterson did not seem concerned about how frequently he'd get to carry the ball in the Saints' system.

"I could tell from talking to head coach Sean Payton over the last two weeks that he did his due diligence in evaluating how I could contribute," Peterson said.

Titans: Lewan's option exercised 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans have picked up the fifth-year option on Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan.

General manager Jon Robinson announced the move Tuesday.

The 11th pick overall in 2014, the 6-foot-7 Lewan helped anchor a much-improved offensive line last season. The Titans ranked third in the NFL in rushing offense and also tied for seventh-fewest sacks allowed with 28 a year after giving up a league-worst 54 sacks in 2015.

Robinson says he talked with Lewan on Tuesday morning and picking up the option was an easy decision. The general manager says they'll likely have discussions about a contract extension with someone who did a really nice job for them last season.

The Titans also announced cornerback Bennett Okotcha, who did not report for the offseason program, is retiring.

Sixers 2016-17 player evaluation: Justin Anderson

Sixers 2016-17 player evaluation: Justin Anderson

Justin Anderson

Position: Small forward

Status for 2017-18: Guaranteed -- $1,579,440

Anderson in 2016-17
Anderson was the main return from the unpopular Nerlens Noel trade. The Sixers traded Noel to the Dallas Mavericks for a heavily protected first-round pick (which predictably did not convey) and the swingman Anderson.

Anderson struggled to crack the Mavs' rotation behind veterans like Chandler Parson and Wesley Matthews and their never-ending supply of point guards who also played off the ball. Anderson showed signs of being the player that was drafted 21st overall in 2015 out of Virginia while getting more run with the Sixers. In his 24-game stint with the team, Anderson averaged 8.5 points and four rebounds in 21.6 minutes a game. He also showed off a toughness and physical nature on the defensive end as well.

Signature game
Anderson saved his best for last. In the Sixers' one-point loss to the Knicks in the final game of the season, Anderson scored a career-high 26 points. He shot 9 of 10 from the field, including 3 of 4 from three. He also added three assists and three steals.

Looking ahead to 2017-18
The Sixers have an interesting situation on the wing. Robert Covington is clearly the best wing player on the roster, but he'll get pushed by Anderson and 2016 first-round pick Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. This year's draft also has a few intriguing wing prospects.

If Anderson can shoot the way he did his final season at Virginia (45 percent from three), he'd be a perfect fit for the Sixers. He's shown he can be a tough defender on opposing wings. Covington and Anderson could be a nice tandem for the Sixers at small forward.

On Anderson
"When we look at players and we talk about, 'Do they fit how we want to play?' We talk about, first and always, defense. 'Do we feel like that guy can guard?' And I feel like he can. I think that there was a toughness in him, a physicality with his body and his mind that equal the type of spirit that we want from our young players in relation to willing, wanting to play defense first."

-- Sixers head coach Brett Brown