Quick Hits: July 19, 2019
1) Earlier this year, there were reports from Russia that the Flyers were among the NHL teams heavily scouting 28-year-old Salavat Yulaev Ufa left winger Anton Burdasov. During the regular season, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound veteran of 10 seasons in the KHL scored 19 goals and 31 points in 50 games. An injury limited him to two games in the Gagarin Cup playoffs.
Now, according to Russian outlet Sports.Ru
Burdasov is weighing offers from three NHL teams: the Florida Panthers, New York Rangers and the Flyers.
Are the reports true? It's hard to say. With many NHL teams, including the Flyers (once restricted free agents Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov are signed), having limited cap space remaining beneath the $81.5 million ceiling, there isn't a lot of room to bid on an older free agent aiming to come over from the KHL.
Philly currently has $13.4 million of space available, which will be enough to eventually come to terms with their two remaining RFAs but may not leave much cushion beneath the ceiling. The Rangers, who still need to get arbitration-eligible Jacob Trouba signed to a multi-year deal to preempt UFA status next summer, have $7.09 in space. Factoring just an 18-man roster at present, the Panthers presently only have $4.7 million of room under the ceiling.
NHL teams are permitted to exceed the cap in the summer time by up to 10 percent but clubs are often reluctant to do so because it puts them in a position of weakness to make moves to become cap compliant by the opening night roster deadline.
2) Sometimes, when it comes to hockey reports from the Russian national hockey media, there is a little higher degree of skepticism required than with their media counterparts from other European nations. A case in point is with Flyers PTO winger Chris Stewart. A report from Russia last year suggested that it was the KHL team that was courting the longtime NHLer that decided at the 11th hour against bringing over the import player. According to a source familiar with the situation, it was actually Stewart himself who, for family reasons, decided at the last moment not to go. Ultimately, he signed with a team in the British League.
3) Over on the Flyers official website, Part 2 of the "System Analysis" series is now online. This segment profiles Michel Therrien, his hiring and his views on the Flyers forward corps and power play. Part 1 looked at Mike Yeo, the defense, and the PK. Part 3, a big-picture focused profile on Alain Vigneault, the preparatory steps to come in formulating the team's systems and his general philosophies, will be published later today.
4) Today in Flyers History: On July 19, 2010, the Flyers traded left wing Simon Gagne to the Tampa Bay Lightning for depth defenseman Matt Walker. The reason why the Flyers -- who, per Flyers at 50 by Jay Greenberg, had previously been offered goaltender Tim Thomas from Boston in a one-for-one trade offer but could not accept the deal for two reasons (which will be touched on momentarily) -- had to take such a lowball trade was that Gagne was only willing to waive his no-movement clause for one team.
The Flyers had salary cap problems that summer, and needed to move Gagne (who was one year away from UFA status) to alleviate it. Since Thomas was making a very similar salary, and had more term remaining on his contract, it would not work out cap wise to make that trade. The other reason was that Gagne was not yet willing to give consent to waive his no-trade, so no such deal was even possible.
Things got ugly that summer between Gagne and Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren -- something that Holmgren later expressed regret over for not handling more diplomatically with Gagne and agent Bob Sauve -- to the point where there was no turning back. Eventually, Gagne agreed to waive the no-trade but it had to be on his conditions: in UFA-like fashion, he'd choose his own destination and then it was up to the Flyers to make a deal.
Unfortunately, this was a situation where the Flyers came out decidedly on the short end of the stick. Walker was not healthy, and not very effective even when he was able to get in the lineup. Thomas reclaimed his starting job in Boston from Tuukka Rask, and went on to win the 2010-11 Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe and the Vezina Trophy. Gagne, although he never again had a truly healthy "A-grade" season again after 2009-10, did subsequently win a Stanley Cup in LA before a short-lived return to the Flyers.
Any way you slice it, this was not one of the prouder episodes in team annals, especially after Gagne's strong overall career in Philadelphia.