Oilers and Flyers Need to Talk

News came today that Nikolai Zherdev was signed by the Flyers to a one year $2 million dollar deal. When word first broke that Zherdev wanted to return and it was the Flyers who were interested, everyone seemed to ask the same questions -- how could the Flyers possibly afford Zherdev?

The $2 million dollar number Zherdev signed for one year is far less than the rumored reports Zherdev was seeking $4 million over multiple years. That kind of money was outrageous considering what he offers and his reputation as a skilled but full of attitude and half-assed effort kind of player. The reality is, the Flyers got a pretty good offensive weapon at a pretty good price.

The question still remains how the Flyers intend to get themselves under the cap. Here are the logical choices and to me, everyone single one of them speaks volumes that Steve Tambellini should pick up the phone and make something happen here...

Simon Gagne is placed on waivers

I'd be amazed if the Flyers gave Gagne away for free, but from a report we wrote on earlier, it sounds like this is an option the Flyers are considering. Edmonton becomes the first team eligible to lay claim to Gagne if he is waived and despite the strengths of the Oilers on LW, they should take Gagne if he's free.

Gagne has one year with a manageable cap hit. He's a two time 40 goal scorer, a veteran leader and he gives the Oilers prospects a bit more time should they require it. I'd like to see the kids play, but if they're not ready passing on Gagne now is a kick yourself proposition later if you need someone when a LW goes back to the AHL.

If the Flyers are not 100% sure, I'd even throw a 6th rounder to Philadelphia in trade so they get something instead of nothing. You'll easily be able to upgrade the 6th for a 2nd or higher come the trade deadline for a playoff team needing to make a push. With only one year on his contract, he becomes one of the most attractive deadline deals for any team if he's healthy. The Oilers likely won't re-sign him so make him an investment.

Scott Hartnell is Moved for Cap Space

The Oilers like Hartnell. Why wouldn't they? He's 6' and 210 pounds and nasty. He's tough, he does the dirty work, he's big, he's still young and he's signed until a point the Oilers should be competitive. Because of his $4.2 cap hit, he's also likely a move for the Flyers to clear their cap space problems.

The thing I like about Hartnell is that he has another gear. In big games and in nasty situations, he seems to excel. Look at last years playoffs for example. Hartnell had a decent regular season with 14 goals and 44 points, but in the playoffs he had 8 goals and 17 points in 23 games. That's huge.

He might be too expensive to be a third line guy, but man oh man would he fit nicely there and he can be used on the 2nd unit powerplay and used effectively for the Edmonton Oilers. Over in the depth chart it would give Edmonton Penner/Hall/Hartnell/Jones. That's a line-up your set with at left wing for a long time. It's got a nice combination of speed, size, grit and feistiness. It's also under $12 million of your entire cap which is not terrible in the bigger picture.

Jeff Carter Moved to Clear Cap Space

Carter's been talked about a lot in rumors involving the Flyers and possible trades. He wasn't a factor in last years playoffs thanks to two broken feet, so for some reason that makes him expendable. If he is and money can't go back the other way, why not an Andrew Cogliano or Gilbert Brule, Theo Peckham and a late draft pick for Carter?

That's decent value going the other way and should save the Flyers the $2 million plus in space they need to save. The Oilers give up good prospects but get a 30-40 goal and 60-75 point first line center. If the Flyers cap problems mean when Carter's RFA contract is due he has to be shipped anyways, Philly might as well get something you can use now instead of less later.

Some might suggest Carter's RFA status a problem for Edmonton, but think about it this way. Re-signing Carter is going to be in the Oilers favor come contract time. Even if Carter earns an RFA offer, the Oilers are bound to get a pile of draft picks when that offer comes in somewhere around $5 million per season. If it's $5 million or less, the Oilers would likely match.

With Carter in, the Oilers have Carter/Gagner/Horcoff/Fraser. That's about $13-$14 million depending on what Gagner gets for this contract. It means that Horcoff is overpaid as a third line center, but we already knew that. I'd still do the deal and try to move the space later. It's not like the Oilers all of a sudden become the Flyers and go $2 million over the cap.

Flyers Move Daniel Carcillo Because There's No Room to Re-sign Him

Daniel Carcillo is a jerk. He's also a great fourth line winger who can play higher than fourth line minutes at an affordable price. You hate him on every other team he plays for and perhaps you don't like him as an Oiler, but he can be effective and has hockey skill.

He's purely a depth trade for Edmonton in which the Oilers would move maybe a late round draft pick to get him considering the Flyers have no space to sign him. He's got a reputation for stirring the pot, but he will drop the gloves if he has to.

Flyers Trade Matt Carle Because They See Him As Somewhat Expendable

I'm not sure this is actually the train of thought in Philadelphia right now, but look at what the Flyers have on defence. Pronger, Timonen, Mezaros, Coburn, Carle and others. Of those names Carle seems the odd man out.

Carle makes $3.4 million for the next three years and makes total sense as a #3 or #4 defenceman on the Oilers. He logs 23 plus minutes of hard ice-time, he can kill penalties and he logged heavy powerplay time.

In any other situation Carle isn't likely someone you'd trade. The Flyers aren't in any other situation though.


Long story short (I may be passed that point now), there are literally a number of options for what Edmonton should see as attractive players. Some of them are temporary stop-gaps while the kids mature and others are actually workable parts you can include in your rebuild.

If things got interesting there could be a deal that sees more than one of things happen at the same time. The interesting part becomes what these Flyers players are worth in terms of cache around the NHL. If a lot, the Oilers might not have much to go on here except Gagne (who if waived Edmonton has first shot at).

Even if that's all Edmonton does here, that's a pretty good upgrade for one year and a solid investment comes trade deadline day to pick up more picks or prospects for a proper rebuild.


You can't deal Gagne at the deadline if you pick him off of waivers, and I don't think he'd waive his NTC to go to Edmonton in a trade.

Otherwise, valid points. I'd rather the Oilers pick him up and lose him as a UFA, if only to shelter the rookies.

July 11, 2010 at 5:26 PM comment-delete

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