Flyers in the mix of teams chasing San Jose forward Ryane Clowe

Posted: April 03, 2013

RYANE CLOWE and the San Jose Sharks have the Flyers waiting with bated breath.

Clowe, the forward the Flyers have spent the better part of the past 2 days chasing, was scratched from Monday night's lineup by the Sharks in order to "protect the asset" in the event of a trade. An injury would have derailed the process.

As of press time for this edition, Clowe had not been traded. Check Philly.com/Sports for the latest Flyers information.

Multiple sources confirmed to the Daily News on Monday that the Flyers have been negotiating with Clowe's agent, Boston-based Kent Hughes from MFive Sports. Clowe, 30, is a pending unrestricted free agent with a full no-trade clause and Sharks general manager Doug Wilson granted Hughes permission to gauge Clowe's interest.

Two key members of the Sharks' scouting staff - including director of pro scouting John Ferguson and Eastern-based scout Jason Rowe - were at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday. Rowe was in town all week and at the Flyers' four home games.

The Canucks, Rangers, Canadiens, Wild and Bruins also have been publicly linked to Clowe over the past week.

Unlike most of those playoff-bound clubs, the Flyers' push to acquire Clowe is not a designed effort to beef up the roster in advance of Wednesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline. His services down the stretch would be a bonus. With the Rangers' win Monday, the Flyers are four points out of a playoff spot with 13 games to play.

Instead, the Flyers view Clowe as a part of their long-term plan. Clowe is finishing the final season of a 4-year, $14.5 million pact. With the free-agent market dwindling daily, Paul Holmgren's only legitimate options to bolster the Flyers roster will be through the trade market, either before Wednesday or in the summer.

Clowe is a strong, top-line winger who has averaged 54 points over the last four seasons. He is in the midst of a down season, still scoreless with 11 assists in 29 games. He would be a candidate to play alongside Claude Giroux. He is not all that different - in both talent level and style of play - than Scott Hartnell.

A deal of this stature, with so many teams involved, has a lot of moving parts. And the Flyers have a decision to make. History would suggest that the price for Clowe will rise with each passing hour, led by teams in the "rental" market pushing the pace.

A report Monday from the Ottawa Sun said Clowe would cost the Flyers young star Sean Couturier, though a Flyers source told the Daily News that Couturier makes the deal a "non-starter." At some point, the Flyers will need to decide whether the price for Clowe is too rich. Ultimately, it may be cheaper for the Flyers to not spend assets on Clowe now and attempt to sign him from one of the "rental" teams who are currently bidding for the Stanley Cup.

Some of the decision also remains with Clowe, since he holds all the power with veto rights. Is signing an extension now the utmost priority? Or is Clowe willing to play, with a chance to win, and possibly earn more on the open market? Time will tell. Some sort of movement is expected Tuesday, if not sooner. Either way, the Flyers will be in the thick of it all.

Harry 'Z' dealt

The Flyers did make a minor move Monday, shipping forward Harry Zolnierczyk to Anaheim in exchange for enforcer Jay Rosehill. After watching leading scorer Jake Voracek step up to defend Claude Giroux on Sunday night - two games after no one did - Paul Holmgren felt the need to bring in a tough guy.

Usual heavyweight Jody Shelley won't begin the skating portion of his rehab from hip surgery for another 2 weeks at the earliest. Capable fighter (and player) Tom Sestito was nabbed by Vancouver off waivers last month. And Zac Rinaldo is focusing on his suddenly important role as penalty killer and pest.

Rosehill, 27, has 18 career fights on his card. He's played 72 games, all with the Maple Leafs, recording no points. Rosehill is expected to join the Flyers for practice Tuesday.

Zolnierczyk, 25, scored three goals and four assists in 44 career games with the Flyers over the last two seasons. The Brown University product will be assigned to AHL Norfolk.

April fools

Two members of the Nashville Predators poked fun at the Flyers on April Fool's. Goaltender Pekka Rinne posted a picture to his Instagram account of him and defenseman Shea Weber holding up Flyers hats. Weber, of course, signed a $110 million offer sheet with the Flyers last July but the deal was matched by Nashville, where he remains.

With a day off from the rink, Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell had plenty of time to play a prank on Twitter. Giroux posted a message that Hartnell was dealt to St. Louis. Hartnell thanked fans and then quickly posted a message saying he wasn't traded and "would never leave Philadelphia."

No word on if Hartnell's 6-year, $28.5 million deal, which doesn't begin until next season, was part of the joke.


" @DNFlyers

Blog: philly.com/FrequentFlyers

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