- Goaltending: The Flyers are going to buy out, waive or trade Brian Boucher now that Michael Leighton has re-signed. Trading Boosh has to be the first choice over a buy out, simply because of cap space, but a buy out might be necessary if there aren't any takers. Leighton will likely serve as the backup next season, as one of Dan Ellis, Evgeni Nabokov, Marty Turco and Chris Mason are being targeted by the orange and black to fill the starting role.
The organization does not believe Ellis will be signing in Montreal, and that doesn't really make much sense anyway. Why would Ellis sign with Montreal as a backup to Carey Price when he could get a starting job with another team if he waits another day?
The interest in Turco and Nabokov was evident over the weekend, but now we have more confirmation on it. Mason is a guy that hasn't stirred up a lot of rumor thus far, but he's probably just as feasible an option as the other three. He's cheaper and, realistically, not much less of a talent.
Let's be real for a second: all four of these guys are steps up from Leighton, who, despite all of his brilliance this season, is still a backup goaltender. According to SanFilippo's source, the Flyers don't believe goaltending is going to be as expensive as has been reported, re: $5 million for a guy like Nabokov. That makes a lot of sense considering the few teams that are in search of starting goaltending and the plethora of talent on the market.
Ellis and Mason are obviously on the lower end while Nabokov will come in as the most expensive of that bunch, but as mentioned, they think those guys will go cheaper than reported thus far. It makes sense when you think about the market.
Oh, and Tim Thomas: not happening, according to SanFilippo.
- Defense: We wrote earlier today that the Flyers should be fine if they just shore up that third pairing. They have higher hopes than that. You want names? Well, they hope Anton Volchenkov stays at around $4 million, and despite what Holmgren has said publicly, they're pretty sure Dan Hamhuis is going west and they won't have a chance at signing him.
Read between those lines, though: they believe Hamhuis is going west, meaning they knew that when they traded him to Pittsburgh for a third rounder over the weekend. Holmgren, man... dude is real.
Other guys they're after: Paul Martin is at the top of the list, but the Flyers believe he's out of their price range. After Martin and Volchenkov, they really like Henrik Tallinder from the Sabres. Kurtis Foster, expected to be an absolute bargain tomorrow despite the raise he will get, is also on their radar.
A third pairing of Volchenkov and Tallinder or even Tallinder and Foster would make me a happy fan. Foster is a right handed shot while the other three are all left handed shots.
- Forwards: The Flyers are indeed after a free agent forward. A mid-level guy like a Colby Armstrong or a Matt Cullen are on their radar. Whether they can fit someone in is yet to be seen, of course, and this is probably their lowest priority. Still, the Flyers want to improve things with a third line forward.
The defense might not be sorted out right away and the Flyers could wait til mid-July on that front, at least with a guy not named Volchenkov. The goaltending is half way there, and we have to expect that the first thing the team will get done is that department. It should be fun tomorrow.
Go over to SanFilippo's blog and read the entire thing. He has a ton of detail over there and goes beyond what we've said here. It's the perfect read to get you excited about what the Flyers might get done in the next couple of days.