The Philadelphia Flyers acquired the rights to Dan Hamhuis earlier today from the Nashville Predators. These moves are very common in the NHL and is also a very common tactic the Flyers have employed in the past. Such rights of players to be dealt to Philadelphia have been Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell. That trade ended up being the negotiation rights to Timonen and Hartnell for the Flyers first round selection that year, who turned out to be Jonathan Blum.
In recent memory, the best name I can remember whose negotiation rights were dealt was Jay Bouwmeester just before the July 1st beginning of free agency.
Often acquiring these rights gives teams enough time to sign that player outright. With that said, I expect a Tomas Kaberle-like salary for Hamhuis in the range of $4-5 million a season.
What's my point?
The salary cap for next season is $58.1 million, and the Flyers' payroll currently sits around $48 million. They have restricted free agents to resign in Braydon Coburn, Dan Carcillo, Darrell Powe and un-restriced free agents that they may want back in Ray Emery, Dan Hamhuis and Lukas Krajicek.
If Hamhuis accounts for around $4 million of that, I really doubt the Flyers can afford to get all of these guys resigned or get that elusive goaltender they've been longing for since Bernie Parent left.
What does this have to do with the Leafs? I believe the Leafs should be all over that Flyers roster like a fat kid in a candy store. The Flyers' team as a whole plays the game much like the way Brian Burke likes it to be played. They're tenacious, quick, tough, and hard-hitting. They could be the exact kind of remedy the Leafs need on their top two lines.
Here's my proposal...
According to nhlnumbers.com, the Flyers top-five highest-paid forwards—with their cap hits in parentheses—are Danny Briere ($7M), Mike Richards ($6.4M), Simon Gagne ($5.25M), Jeff Carter ($5.0M) and Scotty Hartnell ($4.2M).
Simon Gagne is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year while Jeff Carter is a restricted free agent at the conclusion of next season.
I would have no interest in Gagne for the Leafs. I just find he's too injury prone for my liking and I believe has hit the prime of his career, as he is going to be 31 next season. Mike Richards is their captain and, in my opinion, is off limits to everyone asking. As for Danny Briere, despite having a great ending to last year, I believe that contract may keep the Flyers' hands tied for quite awhile.
My two targets of course are Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell. Carter may come at a great price, but he could easily fill the first-line center role for the Leafs. Scott Hartnell is exactly the type of player Burke covets. Hartnell is a beast down low, tough as nails and has the ability to score 20-plus goals a season. He could easily fill a top-six role for the Leafs.
The best part of the deal with these guys is that they'd either be asking for draft picks, future considerations or prospects; somebody who doesn't have a significant cap hit in other words.
So anyways, I'm not going to speculate for potential deals; however, I would like to hear from you guys what you believe to be a decent deal.
Edit: Just as I posted this, I checked hockeybuzz for poops and giggles, and of course Eklund, our favorite rumor guy (jokes), posted a blog that a Leafs/Flyers trade could go down. So we will see guys.