Interesting conversation with a source out of Philly that the Penguins, who were active Thursday acquring Chris Kunitz and a prospect for defenseman Ryan Whitney, are trying to pry forward Scottie Upshall from the Flyers, who are trying to free up space to secure their blue line. They would love to deal Danny Briere, but no one wants the salary or years that come with him. The Flyers are also very much pursuing Tomas Kaberle and Jay Bouwmeester.
Could Upshall be on the Bruins radar? Maybe.
I find it hard to believe that the Flyers would trade Upshall to the a divisional opponent at this time of year, especially when that opponent is the Penguins, who still happen to be in the playoff mix. A deal of Upshall would make sense though given his cap hit of $1.125 million and the fact that he will be a free agent at the end of the season (albeit a restricted one). The Flyers depth on offense makes a guy like Upshall expendable, but it would sheerly be a numbers trade and I wouldn't expect anything to come back.
But it would free up space for that defenseman the Flyers are searching for. As I said the other day, a deal for Jay Bouwmeester would have a defenseman such as Matt Carle or Braydon Coburn going back in the other direction to Florida. That would be a mistake. Those guys mean too much to this Flyers team and their subtraction from the lineup would hurt, regardless of who is coming back in the deal. The other half of that rumored deal included Joffrey Lupul, and with Upshall out, Lupul cannot go. Without Lupul and Upshall, the dynamic offensive depth the Flyers have is significantly diminished.
Another guy the Flyers could ship out to make room under the cap is Randy Jones. He's been playing a ton of minutes lately in the absence of Kimmo Timonen, but we all for the most part agree that he's not worthy of those minutes. The fact that he is getting them could be because there isn't another guy there to take over, or because the Flyers really are high on the guy. The contract extension Holmgren signed him to suggests the latter, unfortunately. I don't see the Flyers trading Jones for two reasons: a) I think they like him and b) his contract.
So that turns us to Tomas Kaberle, the defenseman from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flyers are very high on him, and they almost dealt Jeff Carter last year in order to get him. Obviously, with Carter's emergence this year as one of the best scorers in the NHL, Paul Holmgren is glad he didn't get that deal done, and he wouldn't offer Carter up again this year. But that proves the interest in Kaberle is there.
He is costly though. His cap hit is at 4.25 million, although when you get someone at the deadline, you don't incur that entire number since the season is almost over. Without Upshall, it probably works under the cap. It's just a question of who goes back to the Leafs. They'd probably get a good prospect and a pick or two.