The Flyers need to start preparing for the season as if Pronger skating is an impossibility.
With recent news of Prongs potentially not being 100% by training camp, I see no reason to rush him back and potentially injure him even further.
Paul Holmgren's taken a major risk dealing Mike Richards and Jeff Carter (two of our top scorers), so perhaps he's willing to make another gamble?
Here's my proposal to the Phoenix Coyotes:
Rumors have been popping up all over the place about Sergei Bobrovsky going on the market as trade bait. I even decided to write about why it made sense. Phoenix signed netminder Mike Smith to a 2-year, $4M deal throughout Free Agent Frenzy Day, but he isn't much of a reliable puck stopper. And certainly a downgrade from former 'Yote, Ilya Bryzgalov.
Sergei Bobrovsky's got all the potential in the world, and like I've said before, he's proven he can hack a starter's job between the pipes in the NHL after only one season. A Bob-Smith tandem in net doesn't sound too shabby for a team who's lost its true #1 goaltender, either.
Here comes the defensive chunk of this deal:
Matt Carle's contract ends at the end of this upcoming league year, which is why I offer the 2013 1st Round pick to sweeten the transaction.
"But, Mike, we want to add depth to our blue line, not replace one defender with another more expensive d-man and lose a reliable backup goalie in the process!"
That's a great point, which is why I mentioned that this IS a gamble. But here's why I believe that it works out for both parties equally:
It is strictly my personal prediction that Chris Pronger will dress and play a total of 40 - 45 regular season games in the 2011-12 season. Those numbers of tilts played would come towards the later end of the schedule. There's no reason to take a chance on Pronger rushing back prematurely and winding up costing us much, much more than another Cup run minus #20.
Though Carle is a valuable defenseman, he works his best magic being paired with Pronger. Keith Yandle is a proven force from the blue line, and though on paper it may seem we're just substituting d-men, we're actually getting a much more dependable skater in Yandle.
The Coyotes get a defenseman, they get their goalie, a 1st round pick, and shed cap space.
Oh yea....cap space.
Something the Flyers need to flirt lightly with at the moment. Currently Philadelphia has $1,577,739 in cap room. Shedding Carle's and Bobrovsky's salary, plus taking on Yandle's would leave the Flyers with exactly $1,515,239 to play with. That number is only a $62,500 difference.
Now, take Pronger's $4,921,429 AAV and throw it on the LTIR where it will not count against us for the time being and you have $6,436,668 to do with as you sensibly please. Do keep in mind that Pronger will come back. You want enough sitting around to absorb his hit. That's when 2-Way skaters play a factor in this equation (but I'll let management sort that out).
But if Chris is out a good portion of the season, then the lesser of the two evils is that he heals up 100% and returns towards the end of the schedule when the Playoffs are on the horizon.
Something tells me I'd feel a lot better with a Meszaros - Yandle pairing than a Meszaros - Carle pairing.
One final reason I believe this makes sense is because you've set yourself up to retain a great defender for 5 seasons. By next July 1st Matt Carle becomes a UFA and will no doubt ask for more than what he's paid now.
Not worth it, in my opinion.
"But what about Coburn and JVR's contracts ending after this season?"
Jaromir Jagr and Jakub Voracek come off the books. They signed on board for one year. Laperriere's contract ends so there's even more money to throw at Braydon and James. Blair Betts' $700K? Divvy it up between Riemsdyk and Coburn.
Show me the Yandle!
So I went ahead and asked former PhillyReign writer, and CBA wizard, Tyler J Altemose for his opinion on the article and discovered that I was CLOSE to being correct about Pronger and the LTIR issue. Here's his response.
"As far as trade speculation is generally concerned, you need to remember that the same trade is viewed in different ways from both sides. What seems like a decent trade for the Flyers would probably not be good for Phoenix.First, they'd be giving up Yandle. The immediate concern there is the return. Phoenix has no other reason to give up a guy that big (in terms of skill and cap hit). You're talking about a team that's the 4th lowest-spending team in the NHL and a good $3-4M away from the cap floor. They need to gain salary, not shed it.Which leads me to my other point. I generally am not of the belief that the return Phoenix would receive for Yandle is sufficient.Oh, and Pronger still counts--even on LTIR.
A team can have more than one player on LTIR. If a player is on LTIR, their cap hit still counts. What's different is that if the team runs out of banked cap space they are allowed to go above the cap by the amount of the injured player's salary."
The CBA's trickier than an eager teenage guy unfastening a bra off the first girl that lets him.
Also, his opinion is always appreciated. Thanks to HockeyGuyTy!