The Vincent Lecavalier sweepstakes didn't last long, as the former Bolt is now a Philadelphia Flyer-- he signed a 4-year, $22.5M deal with a cap hit of
$4.25M $4.5M a year. That also means that the Flyers' cap relief from buying out forward Daniel Briere and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov didn't last long: Per CapGeek, the signing will put the Flyers over next year's cap. Essentially, the money they saved they immediately spent on Lecavalier and defenseman Mark Streit. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is like a gambling addict who goes bust and then wins on a lottery scratch-off ticket the next day. You just know that money's spent before it even has a chance to make it into his pocket. And this comes with the team looking to re-sign Simon Gagne, Tim Thomas reportedly sniffing around (the team currently only has Steve Mason as an option), and Claude Giroux set to earn a big, fat raise next season.
Now, it's not quite as bad as it sounds, as the Flyers will still get some cap relief when Chris Pronger
games the system by not retiring from his injuries is unable to play next year and goes on long-term injured reserve. Nevertheless, the team is in ugly shape, with over $33M committed to nine defensemen, including Pronger. The cheapest guy, Marc-Andre Bourdon, is on his entry level deal, in the first year of his post-ELC, worth $612K. Next up is Bruno Gervais, a journeyman defender earning $825K. After that, the cheapest defenseman on the roster is Nicklas Grossmann at $3.5M per year. It only escalates from there, culminating in Kimmo Timonen's $6M cap hit. Ouch.
It gets worse. Out of the group of Timonen, Streit, Pronger, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, Luke Schenn, and Grossmann, only
Coburn and Meszaros don't have some kind of no-movement clause. (edit: Coburn does, in fact, have a modified NTC.) (Schenn's no-trade clause does not activate until the 2015-16 season.) So, even if they wanted to clear cap space by moving a defenseman, their choices are limited to Coburn, Schenn, and Meszaros. Schenn's star has faded since being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Meszaros' torn rotator cuff probably makes him untradeable in the eyes of other GMs, so it's essentially Coburn or bust if a trade is coming on defense. This explains the pre-draft chatter that Coburn is available.
Coburn is essentially a bigger version of Marc Methot, and he could easily be the top-four defenseman Ottawa needs to replace the departed Sergei Gonchar. However, I believe that spot is going to be Patrick Wiercioch's to lose, especially given that Senators general manager Bryan Murray hasn't talked much about a need to replace Gonchar, but has maintained his mantra of "top-six forward."
The Flyers have a forward without a no-movement clause who has a similar cap hit to Coburn and would fit Ottawa's top-six needs perfectly: Jakub Voracek.
#93 / Right Wing / Philadelphia Flyers
Aug 15, 1989
|2012 - Jakub Voracek||48||22||24||46||-7||35||8||0||3||129|
|Assets:||Is a very good passer. Has excellent offensive skills, a good shot and sound hockey sense. He is also usually defensively responsible and has a good frame. Shifty, he works hard, is creative and can also produce in the clutch.|
|Flaws:||Tends to disappear for stretches, and generally lacks consistency in all areas of the game. Needs to become a better player along the wall, where he has the size to dominate--but rarely does. Doesn't score enough goals.|
|Career Potential:||Skilled scoring winger with upside.|
via The Hockey News
Voracek, unsurprisingly mishandled woefully by the Columbus Blue Jackets, had a major breakout year this past season, putting up 46P (22G, 24A) in 48 games. However, it's worth noting that this came with a 17.1 shooting percent--Voracek is a career 10.4% shooter, and in 2011-12, he shot just 9.5% on 190 shots, giving him 49P (18G, 31A) in 78 games. Voracek is highly unlikely to repeat his 17.1%, so it's unrealistic to expect him to be a point-per-game player.
But that shooting percentage could also mean that he's improving that area of his game. Milan Michalek is a 30-goal player on a career average of 12.5%. It's not unrealistic to see Voracek approaching those numbers. Regardless of shooting percentage, this video, recapping all of his points last year, shows a great combination of size, speed, and skill.
How painful was it watching him undress poor Eric Gryba? Kid never had a chance. Voracek is a player who would look very good sharing the ice with guys like Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson.
What would it take to land Voracek? It can't be a roster player. We already know the Flyers will be desperate to shed salary. That means a combination of draft picks and good prospects should do the trick. Not coincidentally, the Senators happen to have both. This is a situation where a first round pick plus Colin Greening and, say, Mark Stone--a player who is on the cusp of making it to the NHL--could be enough. Something along those lines would give the Flyers cap relief, a solid player, a good prospect, and a decent draft pick. A team looking to get under the cap could do worse in a salary dump.
Voracek is not the 50-goal guy everyone dreams of to put on our first line. Let's face it: That kind of guy isn't available. But given the Flyers' cap situation, Voracek could be available. One has to think his skill set would mesh very well with head coach Paul MacLean's style and a few All-Star linemates. Most importantly, given the Flyers' cap situation, the Senators should be able to acquire him without majorly upsetting the status quo. That makes a trade worth looking into.