Toronto's Versteeg in Flyers' future?
If the Carolina Hurricanes are “sellers” at this month’s NHL trade deadline (Feb. 28), chances are, as Johnny Mathis would sing, the Flyers would make a serious run at Erik Cole.
Canes’ general manager Jim Rutherford told us he firmly believes his club will snatch the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. As such, that makes Carolina a “buyer” this month — not a seller.
The Flyers can afford to spend about $3.5 million at the deadline. That’s all the cap room they have given Ian Laperriere remains on long-term injury.
Because of such, the Flyers have to absorb a full cap hit on any player they acquire. There is no pro-rated break for the Flyers.
So, you have to look at who is out there and wouldn’t require general manager Paul Holmgren to move additional salary.
Keep this in mind: the Flyers are reluctant to break up chemistry on a team that is going so well right now, and any move could prove disruptive. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Flyers do nothing at the deadline.
Top to bottom, the Flyers have all the pieces to win the Stanley Cup.
Yet, one player who is likely on their radar for an upgrade is Toronto winger Kris Versteeg, whose cap hit is an affordable $3.083 million this year and next.
The soon-to-be 25-year-old left wing is a perfect fit for the Flyers: a gritty, hard checker who plays above his 5-foot-10 size. The bad? He could cost the Flyers James van Riemsdyk, a player Leafs GM Brian Burke likes a lot and believes will be a future Olympian for Team USA.
Burke has already hung his “open for business” shingle on his doorstep along 50 Bay Street in The Big T.O.
“You try and keep the TV off as much as possible,” Versteeg told the Globe and Mail this week, when asked about trade rumors. “You’re in Toronto, it’s hard to ignore everything when you’re getting asked about it, but you do got to go out there and just try to play your game.
“I don’t know too much. Obviously from getting asked questions and everything, something might happen. You’ve got to take it as a compliment at times, too, if teams do want you to go help. But at the same time, it’s almost funny when you hear people [in the media] talk, there are times when they think I’m older than I really am.