LOS ANGELES _ Maybe Dan Hamhuis will not sign with Pittsburgh, and the Flyers will have made a good deal.
But I doubt it.
Unable to sign Hamhuis, the Flyers on Friday sent the defenseman’s rights to the hated Penguins for a third-round pick in the 2011 draft.
General manager Paul Holmgren said he had about five offers for Hamhuis, who can become an unrestricted free agent on Friday.
It was stunning that Hamhuis was dealt to the Flyers’ bitter rival.
"I'm disappointed; he would have been a good fit for us," Holmgren said after the first round of the draft at the Staples Center. "We'll see what happens from here."
The Flyers had acquired Hamhuis and a conditional seventh-round pick last Saturday by sending Ryan Parent to Nashville.
Hamhuis played in Nashville when Ray Shero _ now the Penguins’ general manager _ was the Predators’ assistant GM. They have a relationship, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he signed with Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh is having problems re-signing star defenseman Sergei Gonchar, a potential unrestricted free agent. They hope to have better luck signing Hamhuis, who would have given the Flyers arguably the league’s best blue line.
Now, sources say, the Flyers are exploring a deal that would give them negotiating rights to San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who can become an unrestricted free agent next Friday.
Holmgren and Sharks’ GM Doug Wilson had several long talks during Friday’s first round, and they will resume Saturday, when Rounds 2-7 are held.
Nabokov went 44-16-10 with a 2.43 goals-against average and .922 save percentage this season. In his 10-year career, the 6-foot, 200-pounder is 293-178-37 with a 2.39 GAA and .912 save percentage.
Nabokov earned $6 million last season. Because he will be 35, the cap hit will not be as severe next season. He has a 40-38 career playoff record with a 2.29 GAA and .913 save percentage.