WILL THE PRICE BE RIGHT FOR FLYERS?
I know I promised this update postgame last night, but I got a little tied up, but believe me, it'll be worth the wait.
I wrote a second story last night that talked about the Flyers efforts to land Robert Esche this past weekend, only to be thwarted by the remaining months on his Russian contract.
I then mentioned how Esche might be a possibility in the summer. And he still is, but, I had a conversation later in the night, after that story was already written, hinting as to what the Flyers offseason plans might be.
The person I spoke with will remain anonymous, just know that it's someone within the organization who has full knowledge of what the team's personnel decisions and plans are.
Here is what he said to me:
"We can't go into next year with the same situation or a similar situation in goal that we have right now. What happened this year is really nobody's fault. Ray (Emery) came in here and did everything we asked and was good until he got hurt. We got lucky with (Michael) Leighton, but we can't expect to win doing things this way in goal.
"It's already been decided that our No. 1 priority for next season is to get a goalie. We have to go out and get that player and commit to him as our guy.
"It's probably going to mean somebody is going to have to be traded away, especially if we go after a young goalie on another team, but that's what we're going to have to do. We can't keep going the way we have been. The goalie has to be the most important target and we don't want to keep replacing one veteran with another. We want to get a guy who can be our goalie for several years.... We have to go in another direction."
O.K., so no names were mentioned there, but when you talk about trading for a young goalie on another team, there's very few places you can look and be excited about what you'll get in return.
There's Antii Niemi in Chicago, although methinks he's going to be their goalie of the future, not Cristobal Huet.
There's Cory Schneider in Vancouver, who is blocked by Roberto Luongo, but keep in mind, Schneider is still a wholly unproven commodity.
Then there's Montreal, where it appears Jaroslav Halak has won out over Carey Price.
Now we're talking.
Price, still just 22, was the fifth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and burst on the scene two seasons ago going 24-12-3 as a rookie and leading the Habs to the best record in the Eastern Conference until he was completely unnerved and dismantled by R.J. Umberger and the Flyers in the second round of the playoffs.
He endured a sophomore slump last season, but bounced back some this season, but not enough to hold on to his job in the pressure cooker that is Montreal.
So, the Canadiens will likely look to pawn him off this summer, but it could be costly.
Who exactly would have to go back in exchange? Well, that's the key question which answer needs to be fleshed out.
Will the Canadiens take a veteran whom the Flyers' might convince to waive a no trade clause? Or will they want one of the Flyers top young players like Claude Giroux or James van Riemsdyk?
This is all conversation that will be better suited for June than the end of March, but be certain it's coming.
Because another source told me recently:
"A number of these guys (on the Flyers roster) won't be back."
Let the whirlwind speculation begin.
UPDATE: One fan suggested to me on Twitter today that Jonathan Bernier should be added to this mix. I concur. Bernier has had a great season in the AHL this year and seems to be in a logjam with Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles.
Considering the Flyers have a very good relationship with Kings management (Dean Lombardi and Ron Hextall) this would also make sense.
Although, I still think they want a young goalie WITH experience in the NHL.