Hextall: It’s status quo between Flyers, Lecavalier

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We’ve seen quite a few “impossible-to-move” contracts actually get traded lately (see: Chris Pronger’s dead money), but it sounds like Vincent Lecavalier and the Philadelphia Flyers are stuck together. For now.

GM Ron Hextall described the situation as “status quo” on Friday, as CSNPhilly.com notes.

“We’re status quo,” Hextall said. “We’re planning on going into the season with Vinny and see what happens. Do I get a call with interest? I don’t know. At this point, we’re status quo.”

Tough sell

Simply put, it’s not easy to market a 35-year-old who was an occasional healthy scratch on a non-playoff team and also happens to carry a $4.5 million cap hit through 2017-18.

Hextall was describing the salary cap situation as a whole when he called it “not ideal” yet manageable, but perhaps those descriptions work best for Lecavalier’s situation.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

One thing to note is that Philly has already stomached some of the biggest financial burdens of his deal, so his contract might be easier to move later on.

After receiving $6 million in salary during 2013-14 and 2014-15 (not to mention hefty signing bonuses), Lecavalier’s receiving $4.5 million in salary in 2015-16 and already received his $2 million bonus in July, according to CSNPhilly.com.

Things get more affordable toward the end of the deal: he receives $3 million in salary in 2016-17 and 2017-18 and his final bonus is a little easier to stomach: $500K in July 2016. Teams hoping to save some cash while getting to the salary cap floor in 2016-17 may just find Lecavalier more interesting right after he gets that half-million bonus next summer.

Waiting another full year to get rid of Lecavalier’s contract obviously isn’t the most desirable thought, but it might be the most realistic scenario.

You can bet that Hextall will take other general managers’ calls about the floundering veteran whenever they come, though.

Related: Flyers are still stuck in salary cap jail

Del Zotto deal is a reminder: Flyers are in salary cap jail

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Every GM experiences a hiccup or two, but there are many signs that Ron Hextall has a sound plan for the Philadelphia Flyers. Unfortunately, Paul Holmgren left behind quite the mess.

Michael Del Zotto’s two-year contract more or less takes up Philly’s cap space for 2015-16 (unless Hextall clears some room with a move or two). That spending has to sting, especially since this largely similar roster failed to earn a playoff bid last season.

By signing Del Zotto to a two-year deal at that $3.875 million cap hit, this also reminds us that the Flyers could take some time to break themselves out of salary cap jail. At the moment, the outlook doesn’t look so great for 2016-17 and maybe beyond:

Indeed, $48.5 million for 13 players is rough when you start to forecast a possible deal for Jakub Voracek, assuming the Flyers can find a compromise with their outstanding winger.

It doesn’t stop there, either.

The summer of 2016 could be challenging

While Sam Gagner’s $3.2 million cap hit could very well be funneled into other bank accounts, the Flyers really might need to fork over some money to keep RFAs Brayden Schenn ($2.5 million next season) and Sean Couturier (a steal at $1.75 million in 2015-16) in the fold.

Much-criticized deals, especially Andrew MacDonald’s $5 million cap hit, only sting that much more when you start to think about the raises Philly may need to hand out.

New life – but also uncertainty – in a few years

Beyond those payouts, there’s also the fact that many contracts run out after 2016-17 … although maybe that’s the time when we’ll really get a sense of what Hextall can do?

That’s actually the enticing thing for Flyers fans: the impressive array of draft picks Hextall has been compiling might start to really pay off by right at the time when the organization could finally enjoy some financial breathing room. Hextall is doing what he can with the situation he’s been given, so it’s intriguing to imagine what he might do with more cash to burn.

You know, if he makes it that far.

Flyers re-sign Del Zotto, reportedly for two years, $7.75M

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The Philadelphia Flyers signed defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a multi-year contract on Thursday.

The team didn’t provide details, but the Courier-Post’s Dave Isaac reports that it’s a two-year, $7.75 million contract. (The Canadian Press’ Stephen Whyno backs him up.) To save you the math, that’s a $3.875 million cap hit, more or less taking up the Flyers’ remaining space.

It’s quite the reclamation story for the 25-year-old defenseman. Philly essentially grabbed Del Zotto off of the scrap heap last summer, giving him a $1.3 million “prove it” deal in 2014-15.

If nothing else, he proved that he can continue to generate impressive offense, as he generated 32 points in 64 games (exactly a point for every two contests).

Of course, the rub with “MDZ” is that his defensive game can be lacking, as those calling him “Del-Zaster” will attest. Flyers fans likely felt more comfortable with the occasional lapse when he was relatively cheap, but what about now that he’s being more richly rewarded?

The Flyers avoided arbitration with Del Zotto, by the way.

Sabres re-sign Pysyk: two years, $2.25 million

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The Buffalo Sabres have re-upped with RFA blueliner Mark Pysyk on a two-year, $2.25 million deal, per CBC.

Pysyk, 23, just wrapped his entry-level deal with Buffalo — he was the club’s first-round pick (23rd overall) in 2010 — but only appeared in seven games for the Sabres last year, spending most of the season in AHL Rochester before collapsing during a pickup basketball game in February.

(Pysyk, once medically cleared, did return to play three games for the Amerks at the end of the season.)

This new deal has a $1.125M cap hit, and Pysyk will carry that into next season looking to become a full-time NHLer. He appeared in 44 games during the ’13-14 campaign, but was dispatched to the AHL last year to work on his game; Pysyk’s chances of sticking with Buffalo in ’15-16 should be aided by the fact three regulars from last year — Nikita Zadorov, Andrej Meszaros, Andre Benoit — are no longer with the club.

That said, GM Tim Murray did bring in a trio of veteran presences in Matt Donovan, Carlo Colaiacovo and Bobby Sanguinetti this offseason.

Sabres, Varone avoid arbitration with one-year, $600K deal

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Just over a week after filing for arbitration, Phil Varone has avoided the hearing by agreeing to a one-year, $600,000 deal with the Sabres.

The contract is of the two-way variety.

Varone, 24, split last season between the Sabres and their AHL affiliate in Rochester, appearing in a career-high 28 NHL games while scoring five points. With the Amerks, he had 15 goals and 44 points in 55 games — and it was the AHL part of his contract that led to the original arbitration filing, per the Buffalo News:

Varone had a pro-rated NHL salary of $595,000 last season and made $62,500 in the AHL. The Sabres tendered him his NHL qualifying offer by last week’s deadline, which would push his NHL salary into the $655,000 range. He’s likely looking for a much bigger salary for the AHL portion of his deal, given the large minor-league salaries the Sabres handed out last week in free agency.

Buffalo will be paying former Utica Comets captain Cal O’Reilly $700,000 next season to play in the AHL, while defenseman Matt Donovan would make $400,000 with the Amerks, defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti would make $300,000 and forward Jason Akeson would be at $250,000.

Varone will be in tough for minutes with Buffalo next season. The team will be dramatically different at center, with Ryan O’Reilly as the new No. 1 and both Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart looking to crack the roster and be full-time contributors.

GM Tim Murray also added some depth in veteran David Legwand, acquired from Ottawa in the Robin Lehner deal.