Friday, October 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Flyers interested in Redden?

On Thursday, the Rangers will wipe their hands clean of Wade Redden and move on. Could the Flyers be interested?

Flyers interested in Redden?

On Thursday, the Rangers will wipe their hands clean of Wade Redden and move on.

The much-maligned defenseman, who never lived up to a 6-year, $39 million deal signed in 2008, is expected to clear waivers around noon on Thursday. At that point, the Rangers are expected to buy out Redden from the remaining two seasons on his deal.

(Canadiens forward Scott Gomez is expected to receive a similar fate.)

The NHL originally settled on allowing each team two amnesty “compliance buyouts” for smoother transition down from a $70.2 million salary cap to a $64.3 million cap in 2013-14. They were not to take place until next summer.

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Both the Rangers and Canadiens told Redden and Gomez to not report to camp. There was no NHL roster spot for them. And rather than send them to the AHL, where anything more than $900,000 now counts against the cap, teams did not want to risk injury. Injured players are not eligible for participation in the compliance buyouts.

So, the NHL and NHLPA agreed this week to allow each team to buyout one player from their roster before this shortened season.

The caveat: players bought out prior to this season will be paid their full salary for this season. Teams will also be hit with a full salary cap for this season. Players will still become free agents immediately. The buyout will essentially go into effect next season, with the team responsible for a two-thirds payment on the remaining salary, with the salary cap hit being spread out over double the term remaining.

For example:

Wade Redden - Defenseman - New York Rangers, 35 years old
Original deal: 6 years, $39 million, to expire after 2013-14 season
2012-13 salary: $5 million (prorated). 2012-13 NYR cap hit: $6.5 million
---if bought out Thursday, immediate free agent ---
2013-14 salary: $1.65 million. 2013-14 NYR cap hit: $1.65 million
2014-15 salary: $1.65 million. 2014-15 NYR cap hit: $1.65 million
---contract terminates---

Redden would become a free agent on Thursday. He can double-dip and be paid by both the Rangers and a new club for this shortened season.

Are the Flyers interested?

The Flyers are in need of defensive help. Andrej Meszaros (Achilles) may not start the season. Erik Gustafsson (ankle) and Marc-Andre Bourdon (concussion) are not healthy.

“I am of the belief that you can never have too many defensemen,” Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said last week.

Redden, 35, has been buried in the AHL for the last two seasons with the Connecticut Whale, where he collected 62 points in 119 games. He did not play during the lockout. 

Redden has good hockey sense. He’s experienced, has played in the playoffs. He’s been noted as a good locker room presence. He makes a good first pass. But his foot speed is in serious question.

Amazingly, word is making its way through the rumor mill that despite his client’s lack of high-level activity, agent Don Meehan of Newport Sports will be seeking somewhere around (a prorated) $1.5 million or $2 million for this season. That’s a steep price.

I'm going to say it's unlikely to happen, give a lot of circumstances.

Had Redden become a free agent when the CBA was ratified, as opposed to now, the Flyers would be a lot more interested, according to a source.

For one, the Flyers just committed to defenseman Kurtis Foster. They signed him to a one-year, $950,000 contract on Sunday, the first day of free agency. We delved into Foster’s injury history in detail this week. If healthy, he could be an asset. But he is still a third-pairing defenseman.

The Flyers have an abundance of third-pairing defensemen: Bruno Gervais, Foster, Andreas Lilja (waived Wednesday) ... you could just as easily replace those names with Oskars Bartulis, Ryan Parent and Lukas Krajicek for fun (or indigestion).

For the Flyers, cap space isn’t an issue.

But contract space is the issue. The Flyers are currently committed to 49 contracts out of the league maximum of 50. They need to keep room for Scott Laughton, who does not currently count among the 49, since he is likely to stick with the Flyers for at least the opening weekend of the season with Danny Briere (wrist) out of the lineup.

If Laughton were to play in 6 games this season, he would not only burn 1 year of his entry-level deal, but he would also put the Flyers at the 50-contract limit.

Yes, the Flyers can make any sort of deal with another team to get rid of a contract at a moment’s notice most times. They could theoretically sign a player like Redden now, have Laughton play 5 games and then send him back to OHL Oshawa.

I get the sense now, though, that the Flyers are less interested in Redden. Particularly at that steep price.

Still, if Redden were to somehow get down to a $1 million number, or even less, I believe a number of teams would be in line for his services. The Islanders are one rumored team. Edmonton and Columbus may also be interested. The Flyers could then be in the mix.

Something to think about.

CAP CENTS: Since the Flyers will not be near the $70.2 million upper-limit for this season, I've gotten word the team is likely to leave Chris Pronger (concussion-like symptoms) and Matt Walker (hip/back) on regular injury reserve for as long as possible. Since the salary cap is calculated based on days (99 this year) and not a full season or games, each day under the salary cap (and not in LTIR mode) would bank the Flyers more space. The Flyers would move either Walker or Pronger to LTIR if necessary to make a major transaction before the April 3 trade deadline.

THE NOODLE: Carolina placed former Flyer Andreas Nodl on waivers on Wednesday. Nodl, 25, did not rack up many points (7) last season after being claimed off waivers by the Hurricanes from the Flyers.

Nodl still has strong ties to the Flyers organization. He also spent a good bit of time working out in Philadelphia toward the end of the lockout, after returning from playing in his native Austria. 

Nodl, who scored 11 goals in 2010-11, never really seemed to be one of Peter Laviolette's guys. Two drawbacks on a claim: Eric Wellwood already provides a similar style of game... and the Flyers’ contract issues as explained above.

BOBBY BIG WHEEL: Local product Bobby Sanguinetti, who was born in Trenton but played a big part of his youth hockey in and around the Philadelphia/NJ metro area before moving to the OHL, finally appears to be a lock to make the Carolina Hurricanes this year. 

It's been a long road for Sanguinetti, a 2006 1st rounder by the Rangers, who has tallied just 8 NHL games so far. The AHL All-Star defenseman netted 50 points in 60 games with the Carolina Checkers last season.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers 

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Frank Seravalli Daily News Staff Writer
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