Existing no-movement clauses could be new Flyers general manager Ron Hextall's biggest obstacles this summer

Existing no-movement clauses could be new Flyers general manager Ron Hextall's biggest obstacles this summer

With the immediate aftershock of the latest in recent string of disappointing early playoff exits now in the rearview mirror, new Flyers general manager Ron Hextall surely has jotted down a checklist of things he’d like to accomplish this summer.

Obviously, jotting down an offseason checklist of things is completely different than accomplishing the things on that offseason checklist. There will be plenty of obstacles along the way.

And perhaps the biggest of those obstacles will be the existing no-movement clauses in the contracts of current Flyers whom Hextall may want to move via the trade route.

Those players specifically are forwards Vinny Lecavalier and Scott Hartnell and defensemen Braydon Coburn and Nick Grossmann. The latter two have modified no-movement clauses that say they can negate a trade to certain teams while Hartnell and Lecavalier have full no-movement clauses.

The only other Flyers with any sort of no-movement clauses are Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Chris Pronger. Pronger won’t be coming off long-term injury reserve any time soon and it’s pretty safe to say Giroux and Simmonds will be wearing orange and black for quite a long time.

Let’s start with Lecavalier, whose name has been bandied around the rumor mill since the Flyers’ season ended a few weeks ago.

It’s not that Lecavalier’s goal-scoring numbers were disappointing. 20 goals is a real solid year no matter how you look at things. The problems were that Lecavalier fell out of favor at times with head coach Craig Berube, lost his second-line center spot to Brayden Schenn and dropped to the fourth line before seeing his ice time slashed in the playoff series against the Rangers.

His $4.5 million cap hit is a lot for a guy basically without a spot to play in the lineup. Hextall will have to work around the 34-year-old’s no-movement clause and the fact that his cap hit remains steady at $4.5 million for the next four seasons may scare some teams off.

The story is much the same for Hartnell.

Hartnell is very much a useful player, as evidenced by his 65 goals over the past three seasons. But he’s just not the kind of player Giroux and Jake Voracek need playing with them on the first-line wing. They need a polished finisher. A sniper, some would say.

Hartnell is an integral part of the team and locker room but would fit better on a lower line where his physically grinding skillset could excel. But his $4.75 million cap hit for the next five seasons is second only to Giroux among forwards.

This isn’t to say Hextall has any intention of trying to move Hartnell. But with a team that needs that big-time scorer on the wing, has depth at the position on other lines and in the minors along with desperate blue line needs, not to mention resigning Brayden Schenn – an issue of importance, apparently, - freeing that $4.75 could be an attractive option for Hextall to at least try.

As mentioned above, both Coburn and Grossmann have limited no-movement clauses. In layman’s terms, neither player can be traded to certain teams without their approval. Usually, a player with this kind of clause will be asked to submit a list of teams he’d be willing to go to or not willing to go to if a trade seems imminent.

We’ve grown accustomed over the years to what Coburn brings to the ice. The longest-tenured Flyer, Coburn can look like unbeatable some nights while using his great speed for a big man to his advantage. Other nights he can look completely lost and look like he doesn’t know what to do with the puck, much like he looked during the entire seven-game series against the Rangers.

Add that into a $4.5 million cap hit for the next two seasons and that makes him a possible target of Hextall’s trade endeavors.

Grossmann is what he is. He’s a big defenseman that is going to wallop opposing players and block a ton of shots. He isn’t going to put up points or skate up and down the ice. And that comes with a $3.5 million cap hit for the next two seasons.

With Luke Schenn the only other real bruiser on the blue line, Grossmann wouldn’t seem to be at the top of the Flyers’ trade list but no one outside of Hextall knows for sure.

Remember, both Mark Streit and Andrew MacDonald have cap hits of over $5 million on the blue line for the next few years, Kimmo Timonen has yet to decide on his future and Shayne Gostisbehere and Sam Morin are lurking in the wings just waiting on their chances to impress.

Another thing to keep in mind here is that the cap is rising to approximately $71.1 million for next season. That’s just under $7 million more than this season’s $64.3 million cap limit.

That also means that the cap floor will rise. TSN reported during this past regular season that the floor will likely rise from $44 million to $52 million.

Add a little bit here, carry the one over there, multiple here – come on, you can put it together – and that means teams will have to spend to reach that cap floor.

As of this writing, all but 12 teams have a cap number under $52 million. That’s kind of skewed because that doesn’t count the unsigned unrestricted and restricted free agents for each team. But you still get the point.

And that point is that with teams that will be forced to spend this summer, which might make it a tad bit easier for Hextall to move some of those higher salaries mentioned above, if he can get those players to agree to waive those clauses.

Either way, we’ll find out soon enough what the man who tended the Flyers’ net for parts of 11 seasons has in store as he molds the team in his own vision.

Gary Bettman talks NHL expansion, missing Ed Snider's presence, 2018 Winter Olympics

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Gary Bettman talks NHL expansion, missing Ed Snider's presence, 2018 Winter Olympics

PITTSBURGH -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman offered no clues on Monday during his annual Stanley Cup Final address as to the state of NHL expansion or the current odds that Las Vegas gets a franchise.
 
The league’s Board of Governors will meet on June 22 to make a decision on expansion. The earliest a team(s) could play would be 2017-18.
 
Quebec City is also in the running, but the value of the Canadian dollars weighs heavily against another team being added north of the border at the moment.
 
If a Vegas franchise is added, it would have a direct impact on Pacific Division clubs such as the Sharks, who take on the Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final Monday night at CONSOL Energy Center.
 
Bettman refused to “handicap” the situation but said he expected to know at least a week in advance as to what the committee’s recommendation will be.
 
Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said there are “a lot of on-going” issues related to expansion and some involve input from third parties.
 
“We’ve made good progress ... it hasn’t been quick progress,” Daly said.
 
Asked about rumors of the NFL, specifically the Oakland Raiders, going to Vegas and what that impact would mean to hockey, Bettman said he hasn’t even broached the topic of having two pro sports there with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or even considered such.
 
“If the NFL comes to Vegas at some point, so be it,” Bettman said. “We’re judging the application we have before us on the merits of that application.”
 
Bettman said the thought the NFL moving to Vegas, in his opinion, wasn’t “anywhere close to a done deal.”
 
Daly added that even if there is movement by the NFL toward Vegas, it would not be seen as a “deterrent” to the NHL expanding there.
 
Snider not replaced
Bettman said that former Flyers chairman Ed Snider’s spot on the 10-person executive and competition committees has not been filled since Snider's death in April.
 
Snider was an original member of the league’s competition committee and the only owner on it.
 
“He was a great owner and is terribly missed,” Bettman said.

More Olympic issues  
IOC President Thomas Bach and IIHF President Rene Fasel have gone on record they want to end paying the out-of-pocket expenses for NHL players to attend the Olympics.
 
That’s a non-starter for the NHL if both organizations want participation of the NHL's players at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. The practice of subsidy has been in effect for the past five Winter Olympics.
 
“If they are unable to resolve the issue, I have no doubt it will have an impact on our decision,” Bettman said, adding the NHL would have to take a hard look at continued Olympic participation since its member clubs aren’t interested in putting up the “many, many millions” it would take to make up the financial gap.
 
Whenever there is change in the IOC leadership, Bettman said, there are always discussions of whether some sports, such as hockey, should receive subsidies.

P.J. Carlesimo turns down Sixers' associate head coach job for 'family reasons'

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P.J. Carlesimo turns down Sixers' associate head coach job for 'family reasons'

Thirty-five years is more than enough time to get a sense of who a person is and how they do their job. That is how long Brett Brown has known P.J. Carlesimo, which made it easy for the Sixers' head coach to have interest in adding him to the staff. 

With Mike D’Antoni leaving to coach the Rockets, the Sixers had a vacancy at the associate head coach position. On Sunday, though, Carlesimo decided not to join the Sixers’ staff and remain a television analyst.

“He was a natural fit for me,” Brown said Monday following a pre-draft workout. “For family reasons, he just couldn’t do it. We talked a lot and it was an emotional thing from P.J.’s perspective. 

“P.J. is a very close friend of mine and he made that decision for family reasons and I understand it. The phone call really didn’t surprise me knowing what I know of him and how he views his family, having to travel across the country the whole time.”

Like D’Antoni, Carlesimo has a lengthy résumé on the NBA sidelines. He was a head coach for parts of nine seasons and worked five as an assistant coach. Brown called working with D’Antoni “a real learning experience,” and an ideal candidate would have similar experience to help both the staff and the young roster.

“That role will be filled with maybe that type of flavor,” Brown said. “I know this, we are still in a complete development mode. We still have a bunch of 20 year olds, guys that could be with us for a long time, but they’re not old, that we have to make sure that the city and me, we remember that. We still need people and teachers that can teach and coach and establish relationships. 

“So you tick boxes on relationships, teaching, development, those still rule the day. If you can do that with some veteran wisdom and some type of experiences like Mike’s, say, or P.J. had, well then you’re really knocking it out of the park.”

Coaching vacancies are coveted at this level. With the No. 1 pick in the draft, a revamped front office, and a 125,000-square foot training facility under construction, the Sixers have enhanced the appeal of the role. 

"My phone is very active, as you can imagine," Brown said. "I think it’s a highly attractive position. … Like our draft picks, I too spend a lot of time studying who will be the best fit for me and our program."

Tonight's Lineup: Ryan Howard (surprisingly) starts at 1B

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Tonight's Lineup: Ryan Howard (surprisingly) starts at 1B

So much for trimming Ryan Howard's playing time.

One day after Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said he plans on giving 24-year-old Tommy Joseph more starts against right-handed pitchers, Mackanin flipped the switch Monday.

Howard is penciled in as the starting first baseman for the Phils' series-opener against the Nationals on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park against Tanner Roark (3-4, 2.71).

After the Phillies were clobbered by the MLB-best Chicago Cubs on Sunday — and the weekend, really — Mackanin said the Phils have to get a longer look at Joseph.

"We brought up Joseph up here for a reason, to get a look at him," the manager said after the Phillies' 7-2 on Sunday afternoon (see story). "I can't let him stagnate on the bench like (Darin) Ruf ended up doing, so he's going to face some right-handed pitchers to keep his timing."

Joseph will have to wait another day to get in the lineup. To be fair, Joseph did face five righties last week, but three of those came with the designated hitter in play.

For Howard, however, the club icon is in a major rut that has had many outsiders calling for him to retire or for the team to release him. He's hitting .154 with eight home runs and 18 RBIs in 136 at-bats and is 6 for 62 (.097) with 25 strikeouts in May.

Here's the silver lining, however. Howard is a career .333 hitter in 12 at-bats against Roark, who he's taken deep once and has six RBIs against.

The Phillies turn to Jeremy Hellickson (4-3, 3.97) to snap their three-game skid. He's faced the Nationals twice this season, allowing six — five earned — runs over 10⅓ innings.

Here is the Phillies' full lineup:

Phillies
1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Carlos Ruiz, C
6. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
7. Tyler Goeddel, LF
8. Jeremy Hellickson, P
9. Peter Bourjos, RF

For more on tonight's game, check out Steven Tyding's game notes.