The NHL rumor mill has begun to spin, and, as always, the Philadelphia Flyers have been linked to numerous names over the past few days.
Here is a relatively comprehensive list of the latest to be mentioned:
G Evgeni Nabokov (UFA)
Eklund of Hockey Buzz wrote in his recent blog that the Flyers are interested in Nabokov to back up Steve Mason in net next season.
With current backup Ray Emery also set to be an unrestricted free agent, the Flyers could be looking at Nabokov, 38, as a better alternative. His cap hit was $3.25 million last season, but as he gets older and less productive, that number will continue to decrease. Regardless, however, he is still a viable veteran backup option whom I am sure the Flyers will look seriously at.
C Steve Ott (UFA)
In that same post, Eklund was pretty clear about the Flyers’ interest in former Blues and Sabres center Steve Ott: “The Flyers love Ott and I believe are going to make him a prime target.”
Ott will probably get around $3-3.5 million per year from most teams. He is a veteran, physical presence who is better known for his defensive capabilities than his offense—he had just 9 goals and 14 assists in 82 games for Saint Louis and Buffalo combined last season. There is an opening on the 4th line for a center considering that both Adam Hall and Vinny Lecavalier are unlikely to return, but paying a 4th-line center that type of money would be foolish; it is more likely that the Flyers signing Ott would depend on trading either Sean Couturier or Brayden Schenn this summer in a larger deal.
D Dion Phaneuf (Maple Leafs)
In another post, Eklund mentioned the Flyers as one of the teams “interested” in Phaneuf, who the Maple Leafs are listening to offers for. This would be quite the blockbuster move by Ron hextall to improve the defense, but the cap hit ($7 million per year for another few years) might be too much, not to mention what the Maple Leafs might expect in return: this would likely include one or two of the Flyers top forwards/forward prospects and even another top defensive prospect.
LW Evander Kane (Jets)
Josh Rimer of Hockey Buzz reported that Winnipeg is shopping left winger Evander Kane again, and that he sees the Flyers being a potential landing spot. He mentioned Brayden Schenn as a piece headed to Winnipeg in a theoretical trade, which makes at least an iota of sense.
With the logjam at center, moving Schenn could either allow the Flyers to move Lecavalier up into a more comfortable 2nd line center spot next to Wayne Simmonds and the speedy Kane or bring up prospect Scott Laughton and have him center Simmonds and Kane. Regardless, Kane fits the mold of a speedy scoring winger who can help the Flyers out offensively, having scored 19 goals and tallied 22 assists for a struggling Jets team last year. The question is whether or not the Flyers will be willing to part with Schenn, currently a restricted free agent, just yet.
D Martin Marincin/D Oscar Klefbom (Oilers)
The Edmonton Oilers have once again been linked to Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn. David Staples of the Edmonton Journal wrote that it would likely take one of the Oilers’ younger defensemen, Marincin or Klefbom, to pry Coburn away from the Flyers. With Coburn’s $4.5 million cap hit over the next two seasons, this would help the Flyers get a bit younger defensively while creating some much-needed cap space.
C Ryan Kesler (Canucks)
Ryan Kesler has reiterated his desire to leave Vancouver, and the veteran center is reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause to come to Philadelphia, one of six teams he would do it for (according to TSN). Kesler accounts for a $5 million cap hit.
This is just what Philadelphia needs: another $5 million/year center past his prime (see: Lecavalier). Still, it is a name worth tracking to see what Ron Hextall and his staff have planned.
All salary information taken from CapGeek.com. Follow @KhandymanSports on Twitter for the latest Flyers news.