Report: Flyers and Coyotes discussed a Jeff Carter-Ilya Bryzgalov trade

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With the Flyers and Coyotes seasons being over as they’ve both been bounced out of the playoffs, their offseasons filled with intrigue about what to do to fix the team for next year is well under way. While some might be looking ahead, others are looking behind them to find out just what they could’ve done to fix things up. Apparently, some folks close to the Flyers are doing a bit of both.

CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio reported today that a source close to the Flyers tells him that the team may be taking a shine to impending free agent goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.The Flyers’ like of him was so strong that the teams discussed a potential trade last season that would’ve sent Flyers leading goal scorer and center Jeff Carter to Phoenix in exchange for Bryzgalov.

The inside source close to Bryzgalov says that the Flyers might be wise to make a run at the free agent this summer.

“He would love the adulation he’d get in Philadelphia,” the source said. “This is a big guy, who plays back in the net and can play a lot of games for the Flyers. Phoenix and the Flyers have had some talks this season about trades, including Jeff Carter.

“Phoenix needs some significant help up the middle with Kyle Turris. They’ve talked to Philadelphia about trading for Carter to achieve that. Maybe they do that. Philadelphia has to move salary. You need to clear about $5.5 million to bring Bryzagalov to Philly, if he’s their guy.”

Take what an anonymous source says with the size grain of salt you feel is appropriate but the idea is intriguing. The Flyers do have a ton of talent up the middle with Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, and Daniel Briere all being capable centers. Carter split time playing wing and center depending on how Peter Laviolette shuffled things around. Still, the thought of bringing in a loose cannon sort of guy into Philadelphia reeks of playing with fire. After all, how would he respond the first time the crowd turns on him after a string of tough starts? Either he rallies from it or melts down. Risky.

While a trade sounds foolish now, given the sort of contract Bryzgalov would demand as a free agent and how close the Flyers are and will be to the salary cap, losing Carter’s $5.272 million cap hit that goes all the way until 2022 (!) would help free the kind of cash the Russian goalie will likely want on the market.

Of course with young fellow Russian Sergei Bobrovsky already having thrived this season in Philadelphia, some wonder if the Flyers even need to pursue a top flight goalie when they very well might have one in their midst already. Travis Hughes at Broad Street Hockey is really hoping that GM Paul Holmgren stays away from dealing a prized goal scorer and offensive threat like Carter just to bring on another possible headache in goal.

We’ve already been over this in great detail, but a big-name goaltender like Ilya Bryzgalov just isn’t worth the money. Geoff ran the numbers last week, and he’d earn the Flyers just about two extra wins over the course of a season.

And if you’re one to brush off that stat because it won’t matter come playoff time, he was relied upon by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2011 postseason. He was the great equalizer in their series with the Detroit Red Wings, and he simply didn’t show up. They were swept, and a lot of it was his fault. Just saying.

Having a goalie no-show in the playoffs is something they’re a bit too familiar with in Philadelphia so you can understand why they’d have flashbacks of playoff failures past when it comes down to it. Still, the Flyers apparent need to figure out their goaltending is still up for debate. They’ve struggled with sub-par goaltending for this long and now that they’ve got a young heir apparent on a team poised to make a run now people, including Flyers executive Ed Snider, are nervous. It’s a situation that will bear watching leading up to and after the July 1 start of free agency.

BREAKING: Isles acquire Eberle from Edmonton for Strome

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Everyone knew this was going to be a massive offseason for Islanders GM Garth Snow.

And Snow has now responded in kind.

Per TSN, the Isles are on the verge of acquiring Jordan Eberle from Edmonton. No word yet on what’s headed to New York in return. Sportsnet has confirmed the move, saying all involved parties are being informed of the move.

Update: Ryan Strome headed to Edmonton in exchange, per Darren Dreger.

The move comes after weeks of speculation about Eberle’s future with the Oilers. He had a solid regular season in Edmonton, with 20 goals and 51 points through 82 games, but struggled mightily in the postseason. He went scoreless through 13 games, finishing with just two points while watching his ice time dwindle to 14:32 per night.

Eberle is still a quality offensive talent, though, and should be thrilled about the prospect of playing with Isles captain John Tavares. Tavares, in turn, will undoubtedly be pleased with Snow’s bold move to bring in additional scoring up front, which could go a long way towards signing an extension with the Isles.

It’s safe to assume Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will feel some heat for this deal. While he did get out from under Eberle’s contract — $6 million annually for each of the next two years — Strome is coming off a disappointing year, and was exposed by the Isles at last night’s expansion draft.

That said, Chiarelli does have bigger fish to fry. Connor McDavid is eligible to sign an extension this summer, as is Leon Draisaitl.

Needless to say, those contracts are going to be expensive.

Losing Neal to Vegas was a ‘pretty big price to pay’ for Predators

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The Vegas Golden Knights named their team on Wednesday, and it was no surprise that James Neal was among their selections in the expansion draft.

Why not? Since entering the league in 2008, Neal has scored at least 20 goals in each of his nine seasons, hitting the 40-goal mark in 2011-12 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

But after coming up two wins shy of a Stanley Cup this spring, Neal was left unprotected by the Predators.

Predators general manager David Poile had reportedly been in talks with Vegas GM George McPhee, but a deal couldn’t be achieved.

“With how well we played in the playoffs, I’d certainly like to bring everybody back, but the prices [to make a deal with Vegas] were very high,” Poile told the Predators website.

“[McPhee] was looking for younger players or high draft picks, and at the end of the day, I just felt that we had to do what the Expansion Draft was set out to do and that was to lose a player. In this case, we lost James Neal and that’s a pretty big price to pay.”

Neal has one more year left on his six-year contract that has an annual cap hit of $5 million, before he’s a pending unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.

Nashville has about $22.7 million in cap space, per CapFriendly, but five pending restricted free agents — Austin Watson, Frederick Gaudreau, Pontus Aberg and most notably Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson — in need of contracts. In Arvidsson’s case, he’s due for a significant raise from the $640,000 he made in NHL salary last season, in which he scored 31 goals and 61 points.

“James had a much bigger contract and he only had one year left before he was an unrestricted free agent. We didn’t have any negotiations, but there was no guarantees that we would be able to keep him. It really was a business decision. It was as simple as that,” Poile the Tennessean.

Caps re-sign Christian Djoos, who could get his NHL shot next season

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The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman Christian Djoos to a two-year, $1.3 million contract.

It’s a two-way deal in 2017-18, and a one-way deal the following season.

Djoos, 22, is expected to push for an NHL spot next season, along with Madison Bowey and possibly Tyler Lewington.

That’s because Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk, both unrestricted free agents, aren’t expected to re-sign with Washington.

On top of that, the Caps lost d-man Nate Schmidt in yesterday’s expansion draft.

Djoos, a seventh-round pick in 2012, had 13 goals and 45 assists in 66 games for AHL Hershey this past season.

It was his second full season in the AHL.

Bettman says NHL will call more slashes next season

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Commissioner Gary Bettman says the NHL will look to enforce slashing penalties more next season.

Following the league’s board of governors meeting, Bettman said pointless slashes to players’ hands will be called more. Ottawa’s Marc Methot and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau were among the players to miss time last season with hand injuries from slashes.

Related PHT coverage:

Gaudreau (finger) out six weeks, Treliving says Staal slash the culprit

— Flames made ‘mountain out of a molehill’ over Gaudreau slash

— Methot ‘out for weeks’ after suffering a shattered finger from Crosby slash

— Melnyk blasts ‘whiner’ Crosby, who won’t face hearing for Methot slash