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Are the Flyers Now In on Roberto Luongo?

USATSI_8320245_154224518_lowresYesterday hockey fans, especially Toronto Maple Leafs, were taken by surprise when the Maple Leafs fired GM Brian Burke. The move came out of nowhere, and just 10 days before the start of the season.

Later on in the afternoon the NHL Board of Governors unanimously voted in favor of ratifying the new collective bargaining agreement. The players will start their voting process in the next day or two, and hope to have it wrapped by Saturday.

The hope is to have training camps open on Sunday.

This seemed like enough news for one day to satisfy the hockey starved fan. Well, that wasn’t the case. Enrico Ciccone of TVA Sports tweeted that the Philadelphia Flyers were interested in Roberto Luongo, which was backed up by tweets from TSN’s James Duthie and Denver Post’s Adrian Dater.

It’s no secret that the Flyers have been unhappy with their goaltending situation for awhile, but they signed Ilya Brygalov before last season to a 9 year, $51 million contract. Bryzgalov has 8 years yet with an annual cap hit $5.67 million. Could the Flyers run with a Luongo ($5.3 million cap hit) and Bryzgalov for this season?

Rumor has it that if the Flyers could pull off a Luongo deal, they could buyout Bryzgalov at the end of the season. If the Flyers were to buyout Bryzgalov at the end of the season, it would cost the Flyers $23 million.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren was quick to shoot down the rumor, “That made me chuckle. Safe to say they aren’t true. They have no basis or merit.”

Adrian Dater noted the Flyers thought process as of last night:

1. Secretly hope that Ilya Bryzgalov retires to the KHL right away.
2. But with his huge contract making that about a 1% chance of happening…
3. Just barely sneak Luongo’s $5.3 million cap hit under the cap level of $70.2 million for this season, and go with a goalie tandem for this short season of Luongo-Bryzgalov. This assumes that Chris Pronger’s nearly $5 million cap hit comes off the books this year, because of LTI relief. (Long Term Injury).
4. If they don’t win a Stanley Cup with that tandem they…
5. Buy out one of the two contractually. That leaves the other standing as the No. 1 guy, and then they can worry more about getting under the $64.3 million cap for next year.

The Canucks will not just give Luongo away to avoid a potential explosive situation between the pipes or to shed his salary. A deal could take some time as GM Mike Gillis will hold out until he gets what he thinks is fair market value. Luongo, ultimately holds the hammer with his no trade clause, and continues to keep us entertained with the tweets.

 

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Mark is the NHL editor for Sports City and myNHLtraderumors.com. Lives north of Toronto in the snow-belt, not a big fan of snow. Despises lockouts.

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