Following an 0-3 start, it didn’t take long for the Philadelphia Flyers to shake things up, replacing Peter Laviolette as head coach with Craig Berube.
Prior to the move, however, there was talk they were shopping around for a gritty two-way forward with a decent scoring touch.
The Philadelphia Daily News reported Monday the Flyers scouted the Calgary Flames, speculating their targets were veteran winger Curtis Glencross or promising youngster Sven Baertschi.
With the Flames supposedly “desperate” to find a blueline partner for Mark Giordano, it was suggested the Flyers could tempt them with their glut of defensemen.
Glencross, however, has a full no-movement clause and the Flames showed little indication during the summer they were willing to part with him.
Baertschi’s poor pre-season play earned him a public scolding from Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke, but he’s not believed to be on the trade block.
The Flames surprisingly strong start to this season makes it unlikely they’re planning any significant moves right now.
The report also suggested the Anaheim Ducks – carrying depth in young forwards and with blueliners Sheldon Souray and Luca Sbisa sidelined – could be a trade partner for the Flyers.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal also noted the Ducks’ need for blueline help, suggesting Philadelphia’s Andrej Meszaros, Toronto’s John-Michael Liles and Pittsburgh’s Simon Despres as possibilities.
Of the trio, Despres ($840,000) would fit easily within the Ducks’ $2.09 million cap space. Meszaros ($4 million) and Liles ($3.875 million) are too expensive, unless the Flyers and Leafs absorb up to half their salaries, or take back significant dollars as part of the return, something neither club can afford.
Having changed coaches, however, the Flyers will likely give Berube time to work on improving the current roster before jumping into the trade market.
LEAFS SHOPPING JAKE GARDINER?
John-Michael Liles isn’t the only Maple Leafs defenseman facing a questionable future in Toronto.
CBC’s Elliotte Friedman reported some teams made enquiries on 23-year-old Jake Gardiner, who’s off to a shaky start this season after showing promise during last spring’s playoff series against Boston.
Friedman believes the talk is more of a feeling-out process rather than the Leafs actively shopping Gardiner. If they did move the promising blueliner, the asking price could be “a young asset or assets.” Friedman suggested teams deep in young players – Dallas, Minnesota or Florida – could fit the bill.
The Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle echoed Friedman regarding the return for Gardiner, also noting the Leafs’ limited cap space means they can’t take on an established defenseman as part of the return.
As Mirtle pointed out, while the Leafs could use another physical blueliner, there is risk in moving Gardiner before he’s fully developed as an NHL defenseman.
For now the Leafs have the luxury of a good start and many long weeks ahead to fully evaluate their needs this season. It would be very surprising if they dealt Gardiner at this stage in the season – and his career.
STASTNY ODDS-ON FAVORITE TO BE ODD-MAN OUT IN COLORADO
Adrian Dater of The Denver Post wrote “most everyone” believes Paul Stastny could become the odd center out for the Colorado Avalanche this season.
Dater noted the cost for re-signing Stastny – who’s in the final year of his contract earning $6.6 million against the cap – would be more than just dollars for the Avs.
With Matt Duchene inked to a five-year deal and rookie Nathan MacKinnon seemingly destined for stardom, keeping Stastny beyond this season would mean either cutting into their minutes, or reducing him to third-line status.
It’s assumed the Avalanche will shop Stastny if they’re out of playoff contention by the March trade deadline. If they’re still in the chase, however, Dater speculates they could shop him for a player to help them secure a playoff spot.