Strombabble: Silly Season

Thomas Drance
January 10 2013 11:22AM

In what was already an absurd, speculation filled week of hockey news, things really went off the deep end last night. Three separate reporters - Enrico Ciccone, James Duthie and Adrian Dater - all passed along some startling information: that the Philadelphia Flyers were interested in acquiring Roberto Luongo.

The Flyers have the quality young assets that opposing fans drool about (Coutourier! Brayden Schenn!) and a reputation as one of the league's boldest (or most reckless, as you prefer) organizations - from the Mike Richards and Jeff Carter trades, to the Bryzgalov deal, to the Shea Weber offer sheet. Basically the Flyers represent something of a "perfect storm" for rumours and speculation; they might just be the league's preeminent click-baitable club.

Of course, Paul Holmgren spoke with Frank Seravalli, and laughed off the reports as Broad Street bull-shit, though really that doesn't mean much. Meanwhile, the Luongo speculation in my timeline has turned my Twitter feed into something increasingly indistinguishable from HFBoards (what's the latest this morning? Oh wow, a three way trade!).

We'll look into whether or not any of this passes a basic, common sense smell-test after the jump.

It seems to me that if we are to believe that the Flyers are interested, we have to assume that the Flyers organization has so completely soured on Ilya Bryzgalov that they're willing to consider something drastic in order to replace him. Bryzgalov played with CSKA Moscow during the lockout, but he's already back in Philadelphia gearing up for the season after leaving the KHL on New Years Eve. So he's not one of those players seeking to slip the knot of contractual obligation and remain in the KHL like Kovalchuk and Visnovsky are doing. 

Could the team simply have soured on Bryzgalov's grating, flakey personality? It's possible, I guess, and according to Slava Malamud that's exactly what happened in Moscow over the course of the lockout. If Bryz has really paved his way out of Philadelphia with his talk of metaphysical concepts and space, then the Flyers are looking at a very expensive proposition. If Holmgren were to use an amnesty buyout on Bryzgalov next summer it would cost them a shade over 20 million (assuming the Flyers would have to pay 60% of his salary). All told, buying out Bryzgalov and acquiring Luongo's contract would represent a roughly sixty-million dollar investment for what would be, essentially, a minor upgrade.

It's the Flyers though, so you know, they've done crazier things in the not too distant past (moving two, quality top-six forwards to make cap-space and overpay a goaltender - for example). But this whole thing strikes me as a massive stretch.

Meanwhile, in commenting on the rumours and speculation, Darren Dreger offered us an interesting formulation:

Note that Dreger's implication is that the "insistence" that others teams are involved is coming from the Canucks. Dreger and new Leafs General Manager Dave Nonis are cousins, but I still think we can trust Dreger's reporting on this. The point being that if it sounds to good to be true: it usually is.

Obviously if the Flyers are involved in Luongo bidding that's great news for the Canucks. Even if they're not, with the news out of Toronto and so many reporters hearing that there are other bidders in the Luongo-sweeps - Gillis' chance netting the Canucks a return that goes beyond a replacement level young roster player, a B- prospect and cap-space in exchange for his star goaltender, seems somewhat more likely than it did earlier in the week.

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 Mack
January 10 2013, 12:37PM
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I don't expect to get him at all, but if Gillis could somehow pry Gardiner out of Nonis could he then be flipped for Couturier? Philly needs defencemen badly, and we need a centreman before we need another left handed defenceman. Again unlikely, but Ferraro's mentioning his name as a possible piece coming back in a deal.

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#2 BrudnySeaby
January 10 2013, 12:46PM
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Since it's apparently silly season, could it not be possible Gillis is pushing for a multiple player deal with Toronto?

Something like Luongo, Ballard and Raymond for Kessel and Gardiner (11.8 vs. 6.5 in cap space)?

Then he could look at adding Arnott for 2 mln for the season and a back-up goalie for 1.5. That would come to a total of 10 in cap vs. the 11.8 he cleared.

With Kessel he would get a proven scorer and it would give Kessel a new chance, just like it would for Ballard and Raymond.

It would give the Canucks depth down the middle, more scoring up front, a cheaper and younger defensive core and about 5 mln. in cap space to use before the trade deadline.

Like I said, silly season!?

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#4 KleptoKlown
January 10 2013, 05:34PM
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@Mack

Silly season.. sounds like fun.

What if Philly is involved, but not for Lu.

With Edler being an UFA at seasons end, and Vancouver being tight against the cap, it's possible the Flyers are trying to land him. If Edler is going to Philly instead (or with?) Lu, then Couturier is more believable.

Let's really get silly and make it a 3 way.

Leafs get Luongo, Raymond, Grossman

Canucks get Luke and Brayden Schenn(The Schendin Line, hell ya) Bozak

Philly gets Edler, Gardiner, Kadri, Ballard

Throw in some draft picks, yadda yadda.

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