NHL RUMOR SATURDAY
Flyers looking to Add: The Philadelphia Flyers lead the Eastern Conference with 71 points and arguably have the most depth in the National Hockey League.
Philadelphia ranks 1st in the league in goals per game at 3.46 and are tied for a league-high with 8 players scoring 10 or more goals.
Despite offensive depth that few teams if any can match, the Flyers are actively exploring the market for a top-9 forward.
They made a strong run at New Jersey’s Jamie Langenbrunner and reportedly have serious interest in Hurricanes forward Erik Cole who could become available next month.
The Flyers are a dangerous team leading up to the trade deadline because they can take on a cap hit of almost $3.7 million, after putting Matt Walker ($1.7 million cap hit) on waivers.
They are going to have the ability to add.
Will Sens be able to move Gonchar?: Chatter around the league is that the Ottawa Senators have yet to put a plan in place on whether they intend to go into “full rebuilding” mode but things are said to be moving into that direction and GM Bryan Murray has made it known that 36 year old defenseman Sergei Gonchar is available.
Gonchar is in the first year of a 3 year – $16.5 million deal. A very difficult contract to move but there are several teams eyeing puck moving defensemen but as Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun mentions, the Senators are likely going to have to take on a salary in return.
Gonchar has a no trade caluse and at this point the Senators have yet to ask Gonchar’s agent J.P. Barry for a list of teams that Gonchar would accept a trade to.
One sleeper team is the New York Rangers who according to Capgeek’s projections will have the ability to take on close to $13 million in salary by the trade deadline.
The Rangers are actively looking for a puck moving power play specialist and Gonchar would be a great fit with the Rangers young blueline.
However, New York is looking to have as much cap space as possible to sign centerman Brad Richards this summer and their top target on the blue line is believed to be Tomas Kaberle who has strong interest in playing in New York. The sense around the league is that New York is Kaberle’s most likely landing spot this summer.
The Rangers appear more likely to go after a rental puck moving defenseman and Florida’s Bryan McCabe could emerge as a target.
Pens scouting Higgins?:
Here’s a name to keep an eye on I’m told from sources; Florida’s Chris Higgins.
The 27 year 6-foot-1, 210-pound winger is a player that has drawn interest from the Penguins scouting staff in the past.
Higgins has 8 goals and 9 assists on the season and the former 20 goal scorer has 8 points in his last 9 games.
He’s a preliminary target whose name has come up in organizational meetings, sources say. Higgins has a cap hit of $1.6 million and is a free agent at seasons end.
The asking price from the Panthers is said to be a mid-round draft pick. For a player who was coming off two under-achieving seasons, there was a pretty strong market for Higgins in free agency this past season.
The Penguins project to barely be able to take on a cap hit of $700,000. They will have to find ways to create cap space to make a move of significance. The Penguins are not involved in any serious trade talks at this point.
Higgins skates well and would fit the Penguins system well from that standpoint. Higgins scored 20+ goals in three straight seasons from 2005-2008. He collected 27 goals in 2007-2008, a career high.