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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Philadelphia Flyers Facelift not Finished: Bobrovsky will be Traded

Sergei Bobrovsky in Philadelphia can be had for the right price. "Bob's" longterm future with PHI was eliminated by PHI's signing of Ilya Bryzgalov to a longterm, lucrative deal ($51M over 9-years). 

Despite what must seem like a untenable situation to most, Bob has a terrific attitude about the whole thing:
“I didn’t even have it in my thoughts to ask for a trade. Nothing terrible happened, there is just a new person in the club. Why should I move to a different team because of that? I like everything in Philadelphia. I want to compete for a roster spot, to play for the Stanley Cup with the guys. We have an ambitious club.”
On the other hand though, he still wants to play and sit idle on the bench. Bobrovsky knows he is good:
Brian Boucher’s contract expired. Michael Leighton stayed. Bryzgalov came. But I don’t care what last name team goaltenders have. I have my own goals, objectives. I want to help Philadelphia and will continue to improve my game. I also want to play every game. The more the better. And as far as how many that will be, the coach will decide.”
One of the big newspapers in Philadelphia, The Inquirer reported that PHI started shopping Bob as early as this past spring:
Sergei Bobrovsky & Shane Doan
According to sources, the Flyers began to shop recently as May...The Flyers, though, couldn't get the exact asking price they hoped for when shopping Bobrovsky's services on the open market...The Flyers will continue to look to move him if the price is right. Bobrovsky.
In addition, the PHI now has five goalies on their 50 player contract list. They are Bobrovsky, Bryzgalov, Leighton, Johan Backlund, and the newest addition, Jason Bacashihua, the former first-round pick, who was signed to a 1-year, two-way contract. That's a clear indication that one of the existing goaltenders will likely not remain with the Flyers for much longer, as the reporter explains in the same article:
The Flyers' goaltending situation got a little murkier...Between the Flyers and Phantoms, only four roster spots are available - two starters and two backups. That means one of those five goaltenders will be without a spot. Or if you're putting two and two together, one of them will be dealt before the season.

Philadelphia Flyers
Left WingCapGPPTOICenterCapGPPTOIRight WingCapGPPTOI
Jaromir Jagr^$3.3827120:28Claude Giroux$3.8827619:23Jakub Voracek$2.3804616:58
Scott Hartnell$4.2824916:36Daniel Briere$6.5776818:18J. Van Riemsdyk$1.7754014:31
Maxime Talbot$1.8822115:04Brayden Schenn$3.18211:14W. Simmonds$1.8803013:27
Jody Shelley$1.15846:10Blair Betts$0.7751210:27Andreas Nodl$0.8672213:16
Eric Wellwood$0.63113:25Tom Sestito$0.6949:31
Left DefenseCapGPPTOIRight DefenseCapGPPTOIGoalCapGPWSV%
Chris Pronger$4.9502522:29Matt Carle$3.4824021:59Ilya Bryzgalov$5.76836.921
Kimmo Timonen$6.3823722:28Andrej Meszaros$4.0813221:07Sergei Bobrovsky$1.85428.915
Andreas Lilja$0.752717:25Braydon Coburn$3.2821621:04
Oskars Bartulis$0.613013:01
PosNot IncludedCapGPPTOI
FSean Couturier
FMatt Read$0.9
FMike Testwuide$0.9
FBen Holmstrom$0.8209:04
DErik Gustafsson$0.93010:57
DMatt Walker$1.74011:38
GMike Leighton$1.6
Salary Cap$64,300,000LTIRIan Laperriere$1.2DNP
Cap Payroll$64,088,095Carry-Over Bns$1.4Pnlty
Cap Space$211,90523 playersRoster Bonuses$3.8Total
^ most recent stats

Phoenix needs a better starting goalie. So lets make a deal. What's PHI GM Paul Holmgren's asking price for Bob? Must be something more than what he has been offered thus far, since Bob is still a Flyer. My guess would be that a high draft pick or two would get the deal done.

From PHX, I would say a second rounder and either a fourth rounder or Jason Labarbera (sign and trade scenario not withstanding) could get a deal done. With Michael Leighton already under contract by PHI, one might think the inclusion of Labarbera is unnecessary. However, considering Leighton's injury history, and his spotty post surgery performance, Labarbera would be a more reliable back up. Plus, Labarbera's cap hit is smaller than Leighton's, and the former has already forged a successful tandem relationship with Bryzgalov. 

Johan Backlund
If PHI doesn't want Labarbera because the management team feels comfortable going with Johan Backlund, whose contract converts to a one-way deal this season at $800K, then the Flyers would save almost a million dollars on switching backup goalies by trading away Bob.

In his interview, Bob was also asked about the physical strain of a full NHL schedule, to which Bob responded as follows:
"I think so. It turned out that by November I had been playing hockey for five months. And then the rollercoaster started: up and down. But I am not going to look for excuses for my shortcomings. This is my life and I set up the preparations myself. And I alone am responsible. I simply came to some conclusions and this summer I decided to make some changes."
Despite his "shortcomings," Bob put up a very respectable .915 Sv% as a rookie with PHI -- much better than both current Coyotes goalies. He will turn 23 years old in September. He's signed for two more seasons and is still an RFA after that contract's expiry. Obviously, his best years are still ahead of him.

The other heralded "backup" on the trade market is Vancouver Canuck Cory Schneider. Just today, reporter Andy Strickland revealed that Schneider rumors are resurfacing:

Cory Schneider with the big left pad save on Thomas Vanek
The day will eventually come when Vancouver officially chooses to pull the plug and move their prized asset. Many expect a trade involving the former Boston College standout could come as early as training camp or as late as the trade deadline. Most around the league view Schneider as a legit number one NHL goaltender. Just look around the league and you’ll find plenty of teams where Schneider could walk in and immediately be the guy. Two of those teams are Columbus and Phoenix who have apparently expressed some level of interest in Schneider.
Schneider's availability will not help PHI in their desire to obtain premium assets in return for Bobrovsky. However, since there are likely multiple teams in the market, both with regards to this and next season (NJD, where Martin Brodeur will likely retire at the end of this season, & NSH, where having goalie depth would help management in negotiations with pending UFA Pekka Rinne), Bob should find a home before we get to far into the regular season.