PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 16: Tyler Myers #57 of the Buffalo Sabres checks Jeff Carter #17 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 16, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
After the speculation that the Flyers made a deal with Ilya Bryzgalov for a seven year, $50 million contract, Twitter started going slightly crazy over the speculation of who had to be moved to make room for the contract. The Flyers are denying that either side has come to a consensus but it got some of us thinking. The guys from Dear God Why Us, Phil from Black, Blue, and Gold, and others started debating whether bringing Jeff Carter to Buffalo would be worth what the Flyers would be asking for.
I believe that the consensus among us was an absolute yes, but not to give too much up for him. The reason for not giving up too much is that the Sabres would be dealing from a hand of strength. The Flyers should have $5.4 million of cap space when the salary cap raises to $64 million this year. The Bryzgalov contract will average out to $7.1 million, so the Flyers will need to move at least $1.7 million to fit Bryzgalov in and more to make some more moves.
There seems to be interest by the Flyers to move Carter's contract over the offseason. The Columbus Blue Jackets seemed to have the inside track on Carter, as prefaced by this piece by the Columbus Dispatch's Aaron Portzline:
The Blue Jackets' pursuit of Philadelphia center Jeff Carter has been well-chronicled in both markets. At this point, it looks like the Jackets are more interested in acquiring Carter than the Flyers are in trading him, but that could change.
The Sabres would need to make a deal that made sense and that would most likely be a package of picks and prospects with a cheaper player thrown in. Some deals thrown about included Tyler Ennis, Brayden McNabb, and a 2nd round pick, another was Tyler Ennis and either Andrej Sekera or Chris Butler, the final was Sekera and Luke Adam.
The Sabres will have to deal with Carter's extremely long term contract if they picked him up as Carter is signed through the 2022 season. That is still 10 more years to deal with a contract that could handcuff the Sabres a long time down the road.
There are other centers out there being bandied about. Colorado's Paul Stastny should be available, but the Avalanche would be looking for a franchise goaltender in the process. Ottawa's Jason Spezza has been rumored to be available as well.
There is one thing that we do know, the Sabres do need a number one center and that the free agent market is really devoid of them. The Sabres are going to have to make a trade if they want to acquire one this season.