If not Carter, who will Flyers deal to make space?

If not Carter, who will Flyers deal to make space?
June 13, 2011, 1:54 pm
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Monday, June 13, 2011
Posted: 9:53 a.m.

By Tim Panaccio
CSNPhilly.com

Sometime either before or during the first day of the NHL draft on June 24, the Flyers figure to be making some roster moves to secure the salary cap space needed to sign goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

Theres been speculation everywhere, most notably in the Columbus Dispatch, and locally among some blogs, about the Flyers' dealing Jeff Carter for the Blue Jackets eighth overall pick in the first round and enigmatic forward Jakub Voracek.

Various sources in both cities confirm the Flyers talked about moving up in the draft. Even general manager Paul Holmgren has said it in talks with media.

But the discussions that Holmgren had at the draft combine recently with Columbus GM Scott Howson werent about Carter or the pick. At that time, sources said, it was a dinner to discuss a deal that would have brought goalie Steve Mason to the Flyers.

Shortly after, the Flyers reconsidered and ended up making a deal with Phoenix to get Bryzgalovs rights. The Flyers have until July 1 to sign the Russian or he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Now, Holmgren and Howson are still talking about that pick but in a lesser deal, sources say. The Blue Jackets have long lacked a scoring forward of Carters pedigree. But the Flyers dont appear willing to move Carters 5.27 million cap hit to clear space for Bryzgalov.

Rather, they are leaning toward making a series of moves totaling at least 5 million, if they can. Columbus is also seeking a power-play defenseman. Matt Carle (3.43 million cap hit) would fit that bill, but Howson wants more than him for the eighth pick, were told.

Would he take Scott Hartnell (4.2 million) or Kris Versteeg (3.083 million)? Not likely. Howson wants a proven, impact scorer for that pick, preferably a centerman.

One thing is certain. The lay of the land is about to change for the Flyers. If they sign Bryzgalov and thats not an absolute certainty their team has to change. They have to lose money, which means they will either lose depth up front or lose depth on the back end.

Thats the price to sign Bryzgalov.

If you go for this goaltender, youre changing some other part of your club given the money and the years, said one NHL personnel guy, looking at the Flyers' situation. Youre either different up front or different in the back end.

If the Bryzgalov deal goes through, the dominos begin to fall. And when that begins, the next question is what to do with Sergei Bobrovsky, who the organization as recently as a month ago, continued to say was their goalie of the future.

Clearly, thats changed.

It will be almost impossible for Bob to develop here as a backup if he is playing just 30 games a season. The Flyers have often looked out for prospects best interests when confronted with players being ready and nowhere to put them.

Cant see any other move there but to trade him, the personnel guy said.

And knowing how Holmgren feels about Bobrovsky, a trade seems likely.

But thats down the road.

For now, the Blue Jackets eighth pick remains in play and for all we know, perhaps someone elses pick too. There are a couple NHL clubs with multiple picks in the first round.

One more thing. The Flyers figure to be busier trying to get their cap in order than trying to sign free agents come July 1.

In other words, the real action figures to come before free agency begins.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanaccio@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow him on Twitter @TPanotchCSN.

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