The Flyers could upgrade via trades or free agency, while Coyotes entered the offseason facing uncertainty.
Flyers’ possible upgrade plans.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi recently reported Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall would like to find an upgrade on defense and a skilled forward via free agency or trade this summer. Carchidi notes the UFA market is thin on talent, ” and it includes wingers Matt Beleskey (Anaheim), Michael Frolik (Winnipeg), and Justin Williams (Los Angeles); center Carl Soderberg (Boston); and defensemen Christian Ehrhoff (Pittsburgh) and Cody Franson (Nashville).” Hextall also hopes to improve the backup goalie position, leading Carchidi to speculation Calgary’s Karri Ramo and the Islanders’ Michael Neuvirth could be on his radar. Young Flyers like Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier aren’t expected to be dealt. Hextall remains uncertain over what to do with unhappy center Vincent Lecavalier but said the club wouldn’t buy out the remaining three years of his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If they’re seeking affordable UFA addition, Beleskey, Soderberg, Ehrhoff and Franson could be the best bets. Otherwise, adding an upgrade on defense or a skilled forward could cost them someone like Schenn or Couturier. I suspect, however, Hextall would prefer shopping Matt Read, Nicklas Grossmann or Luke Schenn. I also expect he’ll try like hell to find someone willing to take Lecavalier off his hands.
Coyotes facing offseason uncertainty.
THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Sarah McLellan last week reported an air of uncertainty hung over the Arizona Coyotes as they cleaned out their lockers and headed into the offseason. While the club isn’t facing the threat of relocation this summer, the futures of head coach Dave Tippett and captain Shane Doan are up in the air as questions linger over the trajectory of the club. Both have made it clear they don’t wish to be part of a draft-lottery team next season. Doan has one season left on his contract with a full no-movement clause. He intends to discuss the club’s future with his family.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Missed this story last week amidst all the hooplah over the Leafs, Bruins, Flyers and Sharks. A lot could depend upon what moves, if any, GM Don Maloney makes in late-June and early-July. If the plan is a full rebuild, Tippett and Doan could decide to move on.