Short-term defensive solutions for Flyers
Earlier this week, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun linked the Flyers to Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar as one of the possible replacements for Chris Pronger, whose career may be over as a result of post-concussion syndrome.
Bill Meltzer of HockeyBuzz.com cited a source within the Flyers’ organization, who said the Flyers’ chances of trading for the 38-year-old Gonchar are “slim to none.” While I think the Flyers might be kicking the tires to see exactly where Ottawa stands with Gonchar, there’s also something a little more to the story than the possibility of adding an over-the-hill blueliner, who at one time was one of the best two-way defensemen in the NHL.
The Flyers could very well be searching for a defenseman with just one year remaining on his contract. In the case of Gonchar, he has a cap hit of $5.5 million and he’s an unrestricted free agent after 2012-13. Sure, the Flyers would love to get their hands on Ryan Suter if he hits the open market come July 1. But perhaps the Flyers can still upgrade defensively, though only in the short term for two reasons:
1. I don’t think the organization wants to completely close the door on a Pronger return. If he takes a year off and shows significant improvement between now and the summer of 2013, then it would make sense to make a trade for a veteran D-man, who would come off the cap after 2012-13. I believe Paul Holmgren when he says he looks at Pronger as “a cup half full.” The idea of him “officially” retiring makes no sense at all. Not only would he forfeit five years of salary ($19 million), but the Flyers would be on the hook for his $4.9 cap hit over the next five seasons as well.