Braydon Coburn is signed for three more years at a $4.5 million cap hit. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Recent moves by the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals may be a sign of future trades from both clubs.
The Flyers invited veteran defenseman Hal Gill to training camp on a tryout basis. With nine blueliners (not counting the injured Chris Pronger) already under contract this season, it’s a wonder why they’d invite another to camp.
One reason could be the injury histories of Kimmo Timonen (back), Andrej Meszaros (shoulder) and Marc-Andre Bourdon (concussion). Adding Gill on a tryout basis could be insurance in case one of their regulars becomes sidelined before the season starts.
They could also be preparing to shed some salary. CSNPhilly.com's Tim Panaccio reported a Flyers source claimed they hope another club in need of blueline depth comes calling later this month.
The Flyers are currently $2 million above the salary cap. They're expected to place Pronger on long-term injury reserve to start the season, but before that they could sign veteran Simon Gagne, which would require freeing up more space.
A possible trade partner is the Colorado Avalanche. The Denver Post's Mike Chambers reported they tried to improve their blueline this summer and have the cap space ($10.2 million) to add another defenseman.
Earlier this summer Meszaros and Braydon Coburn were mentioned as trade candidates. Both, however, carry expensive contracts. Meszaros is entering the final season of his contract and will earn $4 million. Coburn has three seasons left at an annual cap hit of $4.5 million, plus he has a limited no-trade clause.
Meszaros seems the likely candidate. Recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, he is expected to receive medical clearance later this week. His injury history and salary, however, could make him a tough sell.
The Capitals, meanwhile, re-signed Marcus Johansson over the weekend to a two-year, $4-million contract.
That leaves the Capitals with just over $665,000 in cap space, which could pose a problem if prospect Tom Wilson ($1.3 million per season) cracks the lineup after pre-season.
If Wilson makes the team, CSN Washington's Chuck Gormley speculated the Capitals would have to move out another forward. Possibilities include Mathieu Perreault, Jason Chimera, John Erskine or Aaron Volpatti.
The Carolina Hurricanes could start this season without the services of defenseman Joni Pitkanen, whose recovery from a broken left heel bone has gone slower than expected.
If Pitkanen remains sidelined, Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News and Observer reported the Hurricanes could be forced to spend money on a replacement defenseman that they hoped to invest in another forward.
DeCock suggested former Winnipeg Jets blueliner Ron Hainsey would be a ready and affordable replacement.
The Hurricanes have over $4.8 million in cap space, more than enough for Hainsey or another defenseman. They also reportedly had interest in free agent Brenden Morrow, but that would depend on the cost of a replacement for Pitkanen.
Rumor Roundup appears weekdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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