As the free-agency period in the NHL gets ready to begin, there have already been a handful or rumors surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers.
Teams can begin signing free agents on Tuesday, but the Flyers currently aren't going to be able to do much. According to CapGeek.com, the Flyers are currently over the cap by just $236,000. However, the team can clear up cap space through trades, and that's a real possibility once free agency begins.
Now that free agency is nearly here, let's take a look at a few of the latest rumors surrounding the Flyers organization.
Flyers Almost Traded For No. 1 Overall Pick
Even with a new general manager in Ron Hextall, the Flyers nearly made another draft-day splash this year—this time involving the No. 1 overall pick.
Dave Isaac from USA Today reported that the Flyers made a very enticing offer to the Florida Panthers for the top pick in the 2014 NHL draft, and the Panthers nearly pulled the trigger before deciding to draft Aaron Ekblad.
"We were close," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told Isaac. "They made a legitimate attempt. We had a number of conversations with Ron. They teased me. It was not an easy decision. They were willing. It was enticing."
Had the Flyers actually been able to pull off the trade, Ekblad would have likely still ended up being the No. 1 pick. After all, the Flyers were clearly interested in adding defensive talent in the draft, taking Samuel Morin with the No. 17 overall pick, then grabbing Robert Hagg in the second round.
The trade would have also likely let the Flyers clear up some much-needed cap space. While Hextall wouldn't publicly say what he offered the Panthers for the top pick, it would have likely involved shipping away a veteran or two with a big contract. The Panthers have over $32 million in cap space, per CapGeek.com, so it would have been possible.
However, the move didn't end up happening, so the Flyers will have to look elsewhere if they want to clear cap space.
Vincent Lecavalier Allowed to Speak to Teams Regarding Trade
After he was bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Flyers decided to pull the trigger on Vincent Lecavalier last year, giving him a five-year deal for $22.5 million, according to Spotrac. However, just one year in, the Flyers are apparently ready to trade away the 34-year-old.
It seems that the Flyers are ready to part ways with Lecavalier, and according to TSN's Darren Dreger, the team has given his agent permission to talk to teams about a potential trade. However, Dreger also points out it will be unlikely the team works out a trade until after free agency begins so that they won't have to pay the $2 million bonus.
2013-14 wasn't a bad season for Lecavalier, who had 20 goals and 17 assists. However, considering he's a fourth-line center on a team with more concerns about cap space than anything at this point, it makes sense for the Flyers to want to trade him away.
While the Flyers are going to want to trade away Lecavalier, it's not going to be easy. In fact, according to Tim Panaccio from CSN Philadelphia, the Nashville Predators nearly traded for the 34-year-old but decided that they didn't want to pay him for the next four years.
The Flyers will keep waiting to try and trade Lecavalier away, but if teams are as concerned with the cap hit as the Predators reportedly were, it won't be easy.
Could Matt Read and Brayden Schenn Be Traded to Clear Cap Space?
With all of the talk about the Flyers not having any cap space, they may potentially try to trade two of their talented young players to have some money to spend during the free-agency period.
According to Randy Miller from NJ.com, Matt Read and Brayden Schenn could have been traded to Florida for the No. 1 overall pick, and they may still be available, saying:
Remember Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon saying that he was "close" to trading the first overall draft pick to the Flyers? Well, that deal reportedly would have included two of Hextall's best young forwards, center Brayden Schenn and left wing Matt Read.
Maybe Hextall only was willing to trade Schenn and Read because he was that hungry to draft defenseman Aaron Ekblad, Florida's top pick.
Or maybe Hextall has decided that Schenn, who turns 23 in August, and Read, 28, aren't part of his long-term plan a la top-line left wing Scott Hartnell, who was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets on June 23 for veteran forward R.J. Umberger.
If one or both players were in fact traded away, it wouldn't create a ton of cap space but would be enough to make some moves. According to CapGeek.com, Read is set to make $3,625,000 each of the next four years, while Schenn will make $5 million over the next two.
Still, it will be hard to convince the Flyers to get rid of either of these guys, even if it means clearing some cap space. Schenn played in all 82 games this past season, putting up 20 goals and 21 assists. Meanwhile, Read put up another 40 points on 22 goals and 18 assists.
It's a very tough decision, but if the Flyers don't trade away either of these players, they'll likely be sitting back and won't be making a splash in free agency this year.
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