CARTER TO COLUMBUS? SOME SAY YES, OTHERS NO.
He said that a lot of teams - including the Columbus Blue Jackets - have called asking about Jeff Carter.
"Just like everyone else they were told no," the exec said.
While conversations between Paul Holmgren and Columbus GM Scott Howson have taken place, this executive said it was "nothing on that level."
That could be interpreted as a smaller deal with the Jackets could be in the works, or that the executive was trying to divert attention away from a bigger deal.
Below is the original story I wrote. Another item of note us that if the Rangers pull out of the Winter Classic, I've been told the frontrunner to replace them is Chicago, who have a trip East planned at the turn of the calendar and on a preliminary schedule are due to stop in Philly Jan. 5.
Boy, make a deal for a pending free agent and it gets everybody worked up in a tizzy, doesn't it?
As expected, the rumors about how the Flyers will manage to sign Ilya Bryzgalov, the goalie whose exclusive negotiating rights they acquired from Phoenix yesterday, rolled out en masse Wednesday.
None of them really seemed to have legs... that is, except one.
According to several sources in multiple cities, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren has spoken several times with Columbus Blue Jackets G.M. Scott Howson about a possible deal before the June 24th entry draft.
The deal would have the Flyers trading Jeff Carter to the Blue Jackets for restricted free agent Jakob Voracek and the Blue Jackets first round draft pick which is eighth overall.
Mathematically this makes sense. Carter's $5.25 million salary cap hit would be shed to make room for the big money Bryzgalov is looking for (rumored to me in the neighborhood of $30 million over five years).
Meanwhile the Flyers would have a lottery pick in a draft in which they have very few selections, and would acquire the 21-year-old Voracek, who just completed his entry level contract that finished with a cap hit of $1.27 million (including bonus money).
Voracek is an interesting piece to the equation because he plays the wing - an area of need for the Flyers - is durable, having missed only five games in his three NHL seasons, and has put up good offensive numbers for a young player:
The Flyers would simply have to offer Voracek a qualifying offer of 105 percent of his 2010-11 salary - which is $826,875 - because it is based on the actual salary ($787,500), and not the cap hit that includes bonus dollars.
However, while that all sounds good numbers-wise, the big question is, does this have a realistic chance of happening?
Outside of Philadelphia the belief is yes, as NHL folks affiliated with two other teams - one in the Eastern Conference and one in the Western Conference - think this deal could go down anytime in the next 16 days.
However, here in Philadelphia, it is being shrugged off as simply a rumor.
"(It) isn't true," said one Flyers' executive who declined to elaborate further.
And it might not be. There are a lot of people in the organization who really like Carter and what he brings to the Flyers. However, when asked last month about what the offseason might bring, the same executive told me:
"We will get a goaltender. Whether it's by trade or through free agency we will get a goaltender."
And when I asked how they planned to afford said goalie, the response was:
"Sometimes you have to give up something of value to get something of value."
Carter might not be that specific value, but he makes the most sense - especially since he's a natural center and the Flyers have one-too-many at that position with Mike Richards, Danny Briere, Claude Giroux and Blair Betts.
If it's not Carter that is going to be moved, then it means Flyers will have to shed multiple pieces in order to create the space needed to sign Bryzgalov.
Holmgren continues to say "I like this team," the way it's made up. If that's so, then why would he break it apart considerably for the goalie addition? He wouldn't, which is why Carter still remains the likely candidate to go - whether it's to Columbus or somewhere else.
Here's another interesting note:
According to an NHL source, the New York Rangers may not be the Flyers opponent for the Winter Classic after all.
The game, slated for Jan. 2 at Citizens Bank Park, hasn't been formally announced by the league yet. That's because the Rangers are allegedly waffling about whether they want to participate in the game or not.
It's no secret the Rangers would like to host the Classic at some point, but are bereft of a venue to do it right now - although there is an idea that has been quietly discussed about bringing in portable stands and lights and holding the game in Central Park at some point down the road.
However, the Rangers are up in the air about the game, allegedly because they are already taking part in games in Europe to start the season and adding the Winter Classic to that hectic schedule could be too much of a distraction (Especially with HBO cameras around... um... 24/7).
As such, the league is looking into alternatives to play in the game against the Flyers but still want the Rangers to be the Flyers' opponent.
They are willing to give the Rangers a few days, but the league wants to make the official announcement of the game as soon as possible, so they won't wait long and might choose a different route (Chicago? Detroit? Toronto?) if the Rangers can't make up their mind soon.
One last item....
I was told on Twitter after last night's blog posting by a couple astute readers that Sergei Bobrovsky is now waiver-eligible because he appeared in 60 games for the Flyers last season - including playoffs.
That means in order to be sent down to the Phantoms, he would have to clear waivers. That's obviously not going to happen now.
If Bobrovsky would have only played 59 games (or fewer), the Flyers could have sent him down and called him back up as often as they would have liked next year. Now, they can't.
The tipping point for this change in status came when Bobrovsky relieved Brian Boucher in Game 2 against Boston when Boucher suffered a hand injury that cost him the last five minutes or so of the second period.
Bobrovsky finished the period but Boucher returned to start the third period.
That brief snippet of time ultimately cost the Flyers the ability to send him down to the AHL. Bobrovsky relieved Boucher in Game 3 for appearance No. 59 of the season and then started Game 4 for appearance No. 60.
Maybe Bobrovsky is part of the trading block too no? Otherwise, why sign Brzygalov for five years? Isn't Bobrovsky supposed to be "the future?" When? 2016-17?