Flyers juggling salary-cap situation

MCT Ray Emery saves a tip attempt by Capitals winger Joel Rechlicz.
MCT Ray Emery saves a tip attempt by Capitals winger Joel Rechlicz.
Posted: September 30, 2013

WASHINGTON - What does Paul Holmgren have up his sleeve?

It doesn't take a mathlete to understand that the Flyers are currently over the NHL's $64.3 million salary cap with Chris Pronger on the roster.

Pronger will not play again, but the Flyers must retain his salary-cap hit on their roster for the first day of the season before he can be move to the long-term injury list.

It's important to note that the first day of the salary cap begins Monday afternoon - and the Flyers' first game isn't until Wednesday against Toronto. Meaning, many expected the Flyers to simply make a "paper transaction" and send waiver-exempt forwards Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier to the Phantoms for the first day and recall them on the second.

That might not be the case.

"I don't see foresee that happening," Holmgren said yesterday, prior to the Flyers' final preseason game against the Capitals. "Chris will be on our roster on Monday when we file our roster."

Does that mean Pronger will definitely go to the long-term injury list on Tuesday?

"I guess it depends," Holmgren said. "Probably, but it doesn't have to be that way."

There have been rumors all summer that the Flyers would like to move a defenseman, considering their logjam there and that they continue to say they are impressed with tryout Hal Gill.

Holmgren said he believes the Flyers have 48 contracts signed toward the 50-contract limit, although Anthony Stolarz, Samuel Morin and even Scott Laughton will slide toward next year unless they play 10 games with the Flyers this year.

Oliver Lauridsen, 24, was sent to Adirondack yesterday. Even without him, the Flyers still have nine bodies: Kimmo Timonen, Mark Streit, Luke Schenn, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, Nick Grossmann, Erik Gustafsson, Bruno Gervais and Gill.

Gustafsson, 24, isn't going anywhere.

"He would have to clear waivers," Holmgren said. "That would be pretty risky. He's a young player that we really like."

So, has Holmgren had any conversations with other general managers about moving a defenseman?

"I've had conversations with people, but are they specifically asking [about defensemen]? No," Holmgren said. "This time of year, you always ask questions like, 'What are you looking for?' and, 'What do you need?' It's just general talk.

"This time of year, waivers everyday, there are a lot of teams slipping guys down to the minors that way. It's a critical time for every team as they try to fill out their roster."

Right now, the Flyers are trying to decide whether to keep 13 forwards and eight defensemen or 14 forwards and seven defensemen.

The truth is, with Michael Raffl being sent back to Adirondack yesterday, none of the forwards trying to win a spot has knocked the coaching staff's socks off. Chris Vande Velde has remained in camp as a dark horse - but he doesn't even have an NHL contract at this point, which leads one to believe that the Flyers would be rather not risk losing Gervais to waivers if at all possible.

"There's a lot of different scenarios," Holmgren said.

Holmgren did say, however, that the door is likely closed with free agent Simon Gagne. There was a report earlier this week from Quebec saying that Gagne is skating with his old junior team in Quebec City waiting to hear back from a few teams.

Gagne, 33, was very vocal in his criticism of Holmgren in a recent interview, saying that he felt he had been strung along all summer.

"I would say so," Holmgren said on the door being closed. "I haven't spoken to his agent in a while."

Either way, the Flyers' situation is very much in flux. Don't be surprised if Holmgren has something in the works to create more room before Monday.

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