BY CHRIS DiFRANCESCO, Columnist
By now, everyone knows about the trades that shocked the NHL world yesterday afternoon. Dion Phaneuf is now a Toronto Maple Leaf. Goaltender JS Giguere has been reunited with Brian Burke, who was his boss during the Stanley Cup winning season for the Anaheim Ducks.
At one point during yesterday’s firesale, Atlanta’s Thrashers superstar Ilya Kovalchuk was rumored to be headed to Calgary. Obviously that didn’t become reality for Flames fans’.
Yesterday’s excitement caught the NHL by surprise. No one saw it coming. Phaneuf had been a subject of trade rumors since November, however, those reports were put to rest after Flames GM Darryl Sutter said the big defensemen was off the market.
It looks like most of the dealing will be held off until after the Olympic break. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said Monday that their ‘not done’ trying to upgrade their clubhouse.
“We might want to still do something on defense and forward, but not in goal,” Holmgren said.
Holmgren saying he has interest in acquiring another forward, Kovalchuk has to immediately come to mind. Although the issue here is the same one the Flyers deal with every season, cap space. The Flyers have none. Kovalchuk becomes a dead issue……unless the Flyers plan on moving Jeff Carter.
That’s the only plausible scenario to see Kovalchuk in Philadelphia. Carter would absolutely have to be involved in the deal to even make the Thrashers blink. The problem being Holmgren has already said Carter will not be traded. Things can change from now until after the Olympic break.
The Flyers have already declared they aren’t taking any trade offers that include Carter. He is one of the few forwards on the roster who doesn’t have a no-trade clause.
If Atlanta comes to the Flyers and offers Kovalchuk for Carter and a player to be named later, don’t take it. Don’t kill me just yet, let me explain.
In order for Kovalchuk to be moved, he has already stated that he wants to go to a team that can win and will sign him to a long-term deal i.e. Marian Hossa in Chicago.
The Flyers will eventually have to sign Carter to a long-term deal and probably include a no-trade clause. Don’t risk the future that Carter represents for a second-half rental in Kovalchuk. The Flyers can’t afford Kovalchuk long-term, so why deal the future for him now? Exactly, just take your finger off the trigger.