Late last week, the Flyers signed former NHL forward Nikolai Zherdev. As speculated in my previous post and pretty much everywhere in the hockey blogger community, Zherdev would be getting a small contract from a club who was willing to take a gamble on the young forward. The Flyers were rumored to be in the front-running for it, and they landed a one-year deal supposedly worth $2 million. Not a bad price to pay for a guy that could pan out to being quite an offensive force out there with a roster that already has the talent we do. Of course, with this signing comes the inevitable question of where do we go from here?
In this day’s NHL, you can be over your salary cap by up to 10% during the off-season, but must trim it down before the season starts. Using CapGeek.com as my source (they’re pretty reliable), I’ve noticed that the Flyers are bit over $1 million in cap space. $1,422,263 to be exact. I’m sure we will be shedding Bartulis’ contract by putting him down in the AHL this year and that would free up $600,000. But what up the other $822,263? Dropping Cote would cut $550,000… but that would still leave us at $322,263 to free up before opening night. This is where my previous angst of the Shelley signing comes into play. We would be about $500,000 under the cap granted we sent down Bartulis and Cote and did not sign Shelley. Also, the Meszaros contract is quite big at $4 million a year; even if I do think he has an upside.
This cap hell has led many to speculate that somebody has to be traded, and it’s true. Someone has to be traded in order to get prospects or cheap players back and create more salary room. Pundits have been throwing Simon Gagne around as he has apparently attracted interest from the Kings, but no deals have been made. Talks have been going on, and they will be just that, talks. As long as the Ilya Kovalchuk Show goes on and we wait for him to be signed with a team willing to overpay him for his services, Gagne will remain a second option for a team that needs a scoring winger. Scott Hartnell’s name has been flying under the radar, along with Jeff Carter. Hartnell’s contract and NTC would get in the way, but the Kings apparently had interest in him a few months ago. Carter’s move makes the most sense because we won’t be able to sign him for the pay raise next year, considering Giroux is up for a contract extension next year. Trade Carter for some prospects and/or some picks, and you have $5 million to work with for emergency cap space, and maybe even another goalie signing. Turco or Esche maybe? Another veteran presence to battle with Leighton for a spot would be great.
Even so, I’ll be back soon with another post.