Amid the speculation surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers and their cap aches, it was bound to happen that the Leafsâ€™ name would get thrown into the mix. After all, whatâ€™s a rumor about a big name NHL player without Toronto somewhere in the headline?
However, much like a few years back, the recent Jeff Carter rumors actually make a lot of sense â€“ simply because the Flyers are in such a jam right now and have to move salary.
As if the Versteeg deal hasnâ€™t turned out good enough, it has effectively compounded the Flyersâ€™ cap troubles even further.Ville Leino canâ€™t be signed without moving out some other cash and Philadelphia are still in desperate, desperate need of a goalie.
Not only that, Flyers fans find themselves in a predicament similar to one Leafs fans have felt from time to time; â€œitâ€™s easy, move out Timonen, heâ€™s 36 and on the decline.â€
If only it were that easy. But paying 6.33 million to an aging defenseman for another two seasons isnâ€™t exactly on every teamâ€™s wishlist. Similarly, Scott Hartnell is tough to move as well. Heâ€™s a solid player, but not exactly 4.2 million solid, and definitelyÂ not the type of player the Leafs need.
The Flyers are down to Mike Richards, Danny Briere and Jeff Carter as real assets up front. They could try to move Giroux or Van Riemsdyk, but quite frankly, thatâ€™s stupid.
Briere is a great player, and possesses a lot of skill. But his salary is north of 6 million, and at 33, heâ€™s tough to move, especially considering he would have to waive a no movement clause. The Leafs will not be interested, but that isnâ€™t to say other teams wonâ€™t take a look.
And basically it could come down to that â€“ if Briere gets moved (it isnâ€™t impossibleâ€¦ Gomez for McDonagh anyone?), it would take Carter and Richards off the table immediately. The same goes for either of those two as well – the names are interchangeable, but the situation isnâ€™t. On one hand youâ€™ve got a 33 year old small center with an enormous salary, while on the other you have twoÂ forwards in their mid-twenties with manageable salaries, but extremely long term deals. Carter can play both center and wing, while Richards is strictly a center, so take that for what it’s worth.
To say Richards and Carter are on the same tradingÂ field isnâ€™t exactly incorrect. It always seems like Richards is untouchable because thereâ€™s a letter on the left side of his jersey, but that guy gets shredded by Flyers fans and media alike. His no movement clause obviously presents a majorÂ obstacleÂ doesn’t kick in until July 2012,Â though and I’m not sure he’ll be kicking and screaming to stay in PhiladelphiaÂ if an offer were to come up.Â Still,Â it’s an extreme longshotÂ for him to be involved in any trade talks right now.
And so it’s easy to see why Carter is the prime target, the rest are just too tough to move. Carter’s pending no trade clause that comes into effect next summer obviously puts a rush on making a decision as well.
Turning to the Leafsâ€™ side of things, a few questions come up.Â Will the Leafs overpay? Iâ€™m not sure, because the players that will likely be involved are completely different in what they bring to the table. Right now itâ€™s almostÂ impossible for me to weigh in on what I think would be going the other way from Toronto, considering the Flyers’ salary troubles.
It seems like a futureâ€™s package is the way to go, but there are a lot of other teams that can offer up much more than Burke can in terms of high draft picks. For the Leafs you’re probably looking along the lines ofÂ one of their top prospects, and picks (even that may not be enough).
And for that reason, this rumor is a little bit weak.
Not the speculation that Carter is trade block material, thatâ€™s basically fact â€“ the Flyers are a mess. But with 28 other teams looking at the idea of a twenty-six year old potential 40-40 guy, the Leafs are in no way the clear frontrunner and will be in a battle to outbid other clubs when it comes down to actually making a swap.
Regardless, the reasons for this type of move are basically undeniable. Whether it involves the Leafs or not, these Carter rumors definitely make a lot of sense.