Philadelphia Flyers Latest Trade Rumors, Free-Agent News and Post-Draft Buzz

Jason Sapunka@moreSapunkaCorrespondent IIJune 21, 2012

Philadelphia Flyers Latest Trade Rumors, Free-Agent News and Post-Draft Buzz

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    Philadelphia Flyers trade rumors and free-agency news will be picking up with the NHL draft come and gone.

    Last offseason’s aggressive reconstruction of the roster saw the loss of a captain and leading goal scorer, the influx of an expensive, eccentric goalie, four talented young players and two former rivals.

    This summer should be less revolutionary, though some improvements are likely to be made.

James Van Riemsdyk Traded

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    After Paul Holmgren downplayed the ever-present JVR trade rumors, he sent the winger to Toronto for defenseman Luke Schenn in what was a highly discussed and anticipated trade.

    The Flyers now have five competent defenseman, a full six if Chris Pronger is ever healthy again or they keep Matt Carle. They have plenty of cap space left to either go after a big free agent or re-sign current players.

Offseason Priorities

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    Holmgren said the Flyers need to do a “better job of goals-against,” which suggests improving the defense will be his primary goal.

    Last season, the Flyers addressed their lack of a goaltender by signing Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year contract. Though Bryzgalov struggled in his first year, he showed signs of performing strongly in Philadelphia and will likely be better next season. 

Draft Results

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    With the 20th pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, the Flyers surprised some by taking center Scott Laughton despite high-ranked defenseman Olli Maata still available. Maatta went 22nd to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Though Laughton was ranked 24th in Craig Button of TSN’s final prospect rankings, his style makes him a perplexing pick for the Flyers.

    He is a two-way center with defensive abilities that draw comparisons to former Flyers captain Mike Richards. Sounds great, except the Flyers already have three young players that are exactly that; Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier.

    Though Giroux is an elite superstar, he is certainly a two-way player with defensive abilities. Schenn drew similar comparisons to Richards (and strangely enough, was traded for him). Couturier, along with his two teammate centers, proved his defensive abilities in the playoffs by helping shut down two of the world’s best offensive hockey players – Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Down the road, perhaps one of these players can switch to the wing instead of being relegated to the fourth line. Not many first-round draft picks aim to end up there.

    On to the positives; the Flyers saw Laughton worthy of the same part of the draft where they took Giroux and Richards (and before that, Simon Gagne). 



    Pre-Draft Analysis (Published June 20):

    The Flyers have the 20th-overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft. Their stellar history of drafting makes that position quite valuable.

    Philadelphia was able to get Simon Gagne 22nd in 1998 and Claude Giroux 22nd in 2006.

    With a plethora of youth on the offensive side, expect the Flyers to draft a defenseman in the first round.

    Some defensemen who are likely to be available when the Flyers select include Slater Koekkoek, Matt Finn and Brady Skjei.


Bobby Ryan Coming to Philadelphia?

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    According to a report, Ryan is unhappy with constant trade talks in Anaheim. The Flyers are one of four teams with serious interest and Ryan said he would welcome the opportunity to play for his hometown team.

    While the Flyers have enough cap space to fit Ryan's hit of $5.1 million if Jaromir Jagr is not re-signed, they may not have any players they are willing to part with after trading James van Riemsdyk to Toronto.

Sergei Bobrovsky Trade

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    Update June 22, 12:51 PM

    Darren Dreger of TSN reports that Bobrovsky is traded to Columbus for the 45th and 117th overall draft picks from this season, plus Phoenix's fourth round pick in 2012.

    The Flyers acquired good value for a player that was better off elsewhere.


    Original Publication (June 20): "Will Sergei Bobrovsky Be Traded?"

    The ever-present rumor about Sergei Bobrovsky, since the Flyers signed Bryzgalov, is that the young backup would be traded.

    If the Flyers do not intend to re-sign him in the 2013 offseason, when he will be a restricted free agent, trading him makes sense.

    However, the market for Bobrovsky could be slim. The Tampa Bay Lightning, who needed a goaltender more than any team, traded for Nashville’s backup, Anders Lindback.

    Roberto Luongo is on the trade market and Los Angeles does not need their young backup, Jonathan Bernier, who would likely draw more interest than Bobrovsky.

    Right now the teams most likely to trade for a goaltender seem to be the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets


Jaromir Jagr's New Contract

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    Despite a report two weeks ago in which Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, said he hoped a deal would be done before the draft, no deal is done. A new report from TSN’s Darren Dreger suggests Jagr will test free agency.

    Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren himself said there is a 50-50 chance of Jagr returning, noting the unknown salary cap for 2012-'13 as part of the reasoning.

Jake Voracek Re-Signing?

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    The top restricted free agent the Flyers have this summer is Jake Voracek, who made $2.25 million in the 2011-'12 season.

    That contract was signed after Voracek delivered a 50-point season in 2009-'10 and a 46-point season in 2010-'11. With a 49-point season in 2011-'12, there isn’t much ground for Voracek to be commanding a huge raise. Expect the Flyers to be able to re-sign him for under $3 million per season.

    Two weeks ago, Voracek’s agent, Petr Svoboda, said he was optimistic about a deal being done around the time of the draft. 

Matt Carle Likely to Re-Sign Soon

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    In May, Holmgren said Matt Carle’s salary demands were “not out of line.”

    Recent reports regarding the 27-year-old unrestricted free-agent defenseman are also optimistic in terms of the player staying with the team, suggesting a multi-year contract under market value could be announced on July 1.

New Captain?

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    Chris Pronger is still suffering from concussion-like symptoms. If he does not return, the Flyers will apparently address the situation, which seems to suggest a replacement captain would be named.

Flyers out of Ryan Suter Hunt

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    Ryan Suter apparently made a list of teams he would play for, which does not include any team in the Eastern Conference.

    While the Flyers are likely to look for defense, the best option apparently does not want to play for them.

Flyers Interested in Zach Parise

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    If the Flyers don’t sign Jagr or Suter, it is plausible that the team could make a run at Zach Parise. Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the team is interested in Parise, an unrestricted free agent, who could cost a cap hit above $7 million per season.

    After trading James van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn, the Flyers may have opened the spot necessary to land Parise.


    Jason Sapunka is a Featured Columnist for the Philadelphia Flyers. He covers a variety of NHL topics and is available on Twitter for day-to-day updates, commentary and analysis.