So we all know about the 2011-12 season. We have big name players up for new contracts. The UFA's (only roster players) next season will Ville Leino, Simon Gagne, Riley Cote, Nikolai Zherdev, Sean O'Donnell and Brian Boucher. The RFA's next season will be Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux. Now Paul Holmgren has choices to make, and needs to find out when he plans to do them.
Well lets start with the players we believe will not be re-signed. Boucher and Cote will be givens to no longer be on the team after next season, and may potentially not even be here come the start of this season. The futures of Zherdev, Leino and O'Donnell will depend on how other things are worked out. The given who will be here beyond this season for many more years to come is Giroux. Then we get to Gagne and Carter. One of these two will not be here come training camp of THIS season. But when Holmgren makes this decision, he needs to think about next season as well.
By trading Gagne, it would solve this season's cap issues. The cap hit of Gagne's contract would be gone, and the Flyers' would be saving $5.25 million. But come next year, we'll be right back where we started. Faced with decisions that will ultimately result in more cap issues, then resulting in the loss of more players. Lets look at the cap situation should Carter be kept and Gagne is traded in the 2011-2012 season. Here are approximate new salaries assuming everyone (minus Gagne, Boucher and Cote) is kept:
Carter: $6 million, Giroux: $3.7, Zherdev: $3, Leino: $2.5 and O'Donnell: $1. That's $16.2 million against the cap. Obviousley this can't be afforded. So lets say O'Donnell is let go (which will probably be the case either way), still $15.2 million in cap hit. They then have to come to the decision between Zherdev and Leino. So in the end, they're left with Carter, Giroux and Leino/Zherdev, also needing another goalie plus more roster positions filled with the losses of Boucher, O'Donnell, Zherdev/Leino, and depending on what happens to Darroll Powe and Dan Carcillo.
Now lets look at if Carter is traded and Gagne is kept. Let me take into account that Gagne is signed to a contract in which he makes different salaries each year. This hypethetical contract I would think pays Gagne more at the beginning of his contract and the decreases (much like Pronger's). The overall cap hit in my opinion would be around 3 million. Once again lets look at the cap situation, this time considering Gagne is kept:
Gagne: $3, Giroux: $3.7, Zherdev: $3, Leino: $2.5 and O'Donnell: $1. That's $13.2 million against the cap, $3 million less then if Carter was kept. They may still be against the cap, but the Flyers will still have about $3 million more to work with. I'm just saying Paul Holmgren should start thinking about years after this one.