Jeff Carter

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.

Sheary’s in for Penguins in Game 2; Kunitz is a game-time decision

Pittsburgh Penguins' Conor Sheary (43) is greeted by teammates Brian Dumoulin (8) and Chris Kunitz (14) after scoring his first NHL goal, in the first period of the Penguins' hockey game against the Boston Bruins, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in Pittsburgh. Bruins' Brad Marchand is at lower right. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might look a little different in Game 2 on Saturday after that blistering Game 1.

As the team down 1-0, it’s not too surprising that the Penguins boast the more significant lineup questions, although they lean toward health concerns rather than performance tweaks.

Conor Sheary was able to return during Game 1 after Tom Wilson‘s controversial knee-to-knee hit, and he appears to be in for tonight’s contest as well. Chris Kunitz isn’t quite a guarantee, as he’s currently labeled a game-time decision.

For what it’s worth, Kunitz himself believes he’ll be in. Whether he plays on Saturday or not, it sounds like Kunitz is taking extra safety measures going forward.

The Penguins stayed vague with Marc-Andre Fleury, merely claiming that he’s making “progress.”

Generally speaking, Matt Murray has been playing well for the Penguins. Of course, the scrutiny will rise if Pittsburgh loses Game 2 on Saturday.

The Capitals are also considering a tweak. CSN Mid-Atlantic reports that Barry Trotz is pondering replacing Dmitry Orlov with Taylor Chorney.

“They told me to be prepared as if I’m going to be playing,” Chorney said. “We’ll just see how it goes.”

As you may notice, Chorney isn’t the only one in wait-and-see mode heading into Game 2, which you can watch on NBC.

Hitchcock, Blues know they need to slow down the Stars … but can they?

The puck shot by Dallas Stars left wing Antoine Roussel crosses the goal line as St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (19) attempt the stop during the second period of Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinals, Friday, April 29, 2016, in Dallas. The Stars won 2-1. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
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The Dallas Stars only beat the St. Louis Blues by one goal (2-1) in Game 1, but the feeling is that the score was deceptively close.

Blame it on fatigue from that epic series against the Chicago Blackhawks or not; the Blues looked out of rhythm and out of breath against the hard-charging Stars.

At least they’re not in denial about that, though.

“We’re not going to beat anybody giving up 40 shots on goal,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after their Game 1 loss on Friday. “We’re not going to beat anybody giving up the scoring chances we did today.”

Hitchcock added “we’ve got to find the energy to play our game, and we’ve got to find it quickly in the next 48 hours.”

Allowing 40 shots on goal might not be that common for the Blues, yet they leaned heavily on Brian Elliott against the Blackhawks in that series.

Just look at the SOG comparison in that series and in Game 1 vs. Dallas:

Game 1: Blues – 18 SOG, Blackhawks – 35
Game 2: Blues – 31, Blackhawks – 29
Game 3: Blues – 36, Blackhawks – 46
Game 4: Blues – 20, Blackhawks – 42
Game 5: Blues – 46, Blackhawks – 35
Game 6: Blues – 28, Blachawks – 36
Game 7: Blues – 26, Blackhawks – 33

Game 1: Blues – 32, Stars – 42

Such shot comparisons make you wonder if Game 1 provided evidence of a rest advantage or if this might just be the state of affairs for the Blues (at least against two electric offenses).

One area to watch is the transition game. The Stars seemed to tear through the neutral zone while the Blues sometimes struggled to get things going.

“They’re a team that wants to play real fast up the ice and through the neutral zone,” Jay Bouwmeester said, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Yeah, we didn’t do a very good job of slowing them down. A lot of their chances were off the rush. That’s what you want to take away from them.”

File that under “easier said than done.”

Gather your lucky charms, 2016 NHL Draft Lottery is tonight

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Honestly, it’s tough to blame people for making Edmonton Oilers jokes in regards to the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery.

Really it’s only human nature to drop one-liners about the perennial cellar-dweller that (seemingly) always lands the No. 1 pick.

Will it happen again this time around? We’ll find out soon enough, more precisely sometime around 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

As you can see, the Oilers do not have the best odds to land the top pick … but they’re close:

A reminder: this time around the lottery will determine the top three picks. The NHL discusses that tweak and other changes here:

For the first time, the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery will assign the top three slots in the first round of the NHL Draft – a change from prior years, when the Draft Lottery was used to determine the winner of the first overall selection exclusively.

Want the full lowdown on the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery? PHT has you covered here.

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

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The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with two games on Saturday. You can catch tonight’s games via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

NY Islanders at Tampa Bay (3:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 2 will be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Pittsburgh at Washington (8:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 2 will also be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Some reading to get you pumped up:

– The Penguins are keeping chatty Marc-Andre Fleury from speaking to the media (reportedly).

Tom Wilson received a fine, not a suspension, for that knee-to-knee hit.

T.J. Oshie was the difference-maker for Washington in Game 1.

– Don’t expect Steven Stamkos to face red-hot John Tavares anytime soon (or at all, maybe).

Read about the Isles’ Game 1 win.