Latest on the Flyers, Avalanche and Panthers – April 7, 2017
Updates on Claude Giroux, Michael Del Zotto and Semyon Varlamov, plus the Panthers could see a shift in management.
CSN PHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio reports Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux doesn’t anticipate any of the club’s core players to be traded this summer. Giroux, who carries a no-movement clause, said he hasn’t thought about being dealt and doesn’t plan on leaving.
Panaccio also cites club sources saying Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has no intention of moving Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds or Brayden Schenn. When asked about removing a core forward, Hextall said he’d speak to the media about that when the season’s over.
PHILLY.COM: Marc Narducci reports pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto acknowledged this season could be his last with the Flyers. “Being unrestricted this summer, there haven’t been any talks [with the Flyers]. We’ll see what happens,” he said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers have over $59 million invested in 16 players for 2017-18. Their most notable restricted free agent is Shayne Gostisbehere, who’ll likely get a bridge deal coming off his entry-level contact after struggling through his sophomore campaign. Del Zotto, Steve Mason and Nick Schultz are their top UFAs and I don’t anticipate they’ll be back.
As for the Flyers’ core players, there’s no need to move any of them for cap reasons or to shake things up. Giroux was hampered throughout this season by the after-effects of last year’s hip surgery but I expect he’ll return to form next season. Voracek, Simmonds and Schenn remain consistent performers. The Flyers need better goaltending and to sort out their defense. I suspect that’s where Hextall’s focus will be this summer. Those issues can be addressed via free agency or by dangling a promising young blueliner as trade bait.
THE DENVER POST: Terry Frei reports Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov feels good after undergoing surgery earlier this year on both hips. He anticipates he’ll be fully healthy and ready for a fresh start when training camp opens in September. Varlamov, 28, has two seasons remaining on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $5.9 million. He could be left exposed in the expansion draft.
Given Varlamov’s salary, inconsistency and injuries, Frei doubts the Vegas Golden Knights will select him. He also points out Golden Knights general manager George McPhee traded Varlamov to the Avs several years ago when he was GM of the Washington Capitals after balking at paying him as a starting goalie. Varlamov acknowledged the rumors but insists he wants to remain with the Avalanche and help them reverse their fortunes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t believe McPhee is interested in selecting Varlamov if he is available in the expansion draft. At this stage in Varlamov’s career, I also doubt another club is interested in taking him off the Avs’ hands via trade.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers interim coach Tom Rowe won’t be returning next season as their head coach. Harvey Fialkov reports Rowe also sounds like he might not be back in the general manager’s role. When asked about the difficulty of compiling the Panthers’ list of protected players for the June expansion draft, he laughingly said it wouldn’t be difficult for him because team president Dale Tallon was going to handle it. He adds he expects he’ll be sitting down with Tallon to discuss that list after the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe Rowe was simply joking. Perhaps he’s staying in the general manager’s job but is handing off the expansion draft list for Tallon. Or maybe he’ll be moved out of that job and into another role with the club. We’ll likely learn more about the Panthers’ management and coaching plans in the coming weeks and what part, if any, Rowe will play.