PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 16: Mike Richards #18 congratulates teammate Ville Leino #22 of the Philadelphia Flyers after Leino scored a goal against the Buffalo Sabres during the second period of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 16, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Many times this offseason, we've pushed the idea that the acquisition of a top-notch, big-name goaltender by the Philadelphia Flyers will actually result in a net loss for the team, rather than the Cup-winning gain many seem to think it would create.
We believe this for a variety of reasons, but it basically boils down to two things: 1) the added value of an expensive goaltender like Ilya Bryzgalov or Tomas Vokoun is negligible when balanced by the fact that you'd have to rid at least $5 million, likely in the form of Jeff Carter and 2) who knows what you're going to get out of a guy in the postseason.
Look at Bryzgalov last season. All that money, all that stellar regular season play, atrocious postseason. It's a toss-up come playoff time, no matter who's in goal.
One thing, though: if the Flyers can add a goaltender without getting rid of a major piece like Carter, it changes things drastically. In an interview with Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post (who's been killing it lately), Holmgren indicated that he doesn't want to break up the core at all and that he'll trim from the bottom, not the top, to get a goalie.
In order to add a goalie and keep the Flyers' core intact, Holmgren will need to trim salary from the bottom of his roster and not the top. If he places Ian Laperriere's $1.16 million cap hit onto long-term injury and keeps goaltender Michael Leighton ($1.55 million) and defenseman Matt Walker ($1.7 million) in the minors, he'll pick up a total of $4.4 million of cap space.
Holmgren said the Flyers will make qualifying offers to restricted free agents Dan Carcillo, Darroll Powe and Andreas Nodl and would like to keep all three. But if Powe gets a raise from $725,000 to $1 million and Nodl jumps from $850,000 to $1 million, the club might be forced to trade Carcillo for a draft pick.
Here's the rub: it sounds like Holmgren wants to keep everybody, but still add a goaltender. That just ain't gonna work. If he keeps Carcillo, Powe and Nodl without trading away Carter (or Kris Versteeg or Scott Hartnell or somebody), he's simply not going to have the money to get a big-name goaltender. It doesn't add up.
That's what makes me believe that he's going after Evgeni Nabokov. It's the only option that fits into the puzzle here. Cheap compared to the rest, presumably available, fits the bill well since he won't get a long contract, allowing Bobrovsky to fill in as ready.
Most importantly, he's not going to cost you any big pieces on your roster, so the gain you get from him doesn't wind up hurting you in the end. Is he on the same level as one of the shiny $4 million goalies on the market?
No, he's more like a Hyundai compared to a Lexus. But there's nothing wrong with a Hyundai. It gets you around and doesn't hurt the bank account, and it doesn't look half bad either.
Other news from Homer's interview:
- The Flyers are still about $1 million apart from Ville Leino in contract negotiations. Given that they apparently want to keep the core in tact, it seems like they'd have to get him for the $2.5 million they want to spend, not the $3.5 million Leino wants, but we'll see what happens.
Honestly, he was great in the playoffs last year and all of that, but he's replaceable. He put up 50-something points while playing just about all of his time in easy offensive-minded assignments -- 62 percent of his shifts started in the offensive end of the ice, highest on the team by far. Mike Richards put up 60-something and played all over the place, with just 46.8 percent of his shifts starting in the offensive zone.
Not to mention that world-renowed chemistry with Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell was definitely not at the same level in all of 2010-11. Leino's not worth overpaying.
- Qualifying offers to Nodl, Powe and Carcillo mean they're basically all staying around.
- If they don't sign Leino, Gormley says the team could lean on Matt Read, the kid they signed out of Bemidji State. He was impressive in a short period of time with the Phantoms (we saw his pro debut during our trip to Glens Falls in March), but to think that he can step in that quickly and play a full NHL season seems silly to expect out of him.
He's got the talent to be good, and I'm not saying he can't step in and play in the NHL, but let's see what he does in rookie camp first. If they really expect him to replace Leino, let's hope he's not the only option.
- Gormley also indicated that Matt Carle's contract could be one to go. I haven't really thought too much about that potential move, so I'll just leave it at that and go have a burger.
Enjoy your Memorial Day and remember why we're off today.