Monday, July 19, 2010

Philly Trades Gagne to Lightning

To TB:

Matt Walker
2011 4th round pick

A good trade for both sides, as Philly clears much needed cap space ($3.55 million), in getting rid of a real heart and soul player. The problem now is that Philly has six NHL defenseman getting paid $1.7 million or more next year, with five of them making $3.2 or more. 7th defenseman Sean O'Donnell is set to make $1.3 million, and I doubt he would report to an AHL team at this point in his career. He was signed to be a depth defenseman, playing in the NHL, so this makes the Flyers potentially overstaffed. Not a bad problem to have, eh?

Walker is a physical defenseman who will fit right into Philly's system. He is not special with the puck, but will make a good enough first pass to let the Flyers centers take over. He will not be a liability either.

Philly is left with 23 players on the roster, counting Bartulis and Cote, so it can probably be assumed that Asham is on his way out. I am not a fan of Powe, but I am sure he will be still be resigned, since he is only 25. Assuming he makes a nominal upgrade to the $500k he made last year, and that Cote's salary gets buried in the minors, the team will have just over $1 million in cap space to operate next season. That of course includes Bartulis' salary, and one has to figure he will play for Adirondack this year.

Tampa gets a great left winger in Simon Gagne, who is still one of the best two-way players in the game. He is only 30, so he has some time in front of him, and now plays for one of the best up and coming teams in the league. Lecavalier lost the best set-up man he had in Marty St. Louis to Stamkos' line, but now has another Olympic teammate to replace his spot on the top line.

Tampa Bay has scoring depth, with two wingers having 40+ goal seasons post lockout. Ryan Malone has scored 20+ in five of the last six campaigns, dating back to 03-04. Downie scored 22 goals this year, and figures to at least match that with an entire season playing on a scoring line. And of course, the Lightning have two centers with 50+ goal campaigns post lockout. Not a bad top six.

Adding Brett Clark and Pavel Kubina to the blue line figured to make at least one defenseman expendable, and Walker was the slowest guy back there, as well as the easiest to move.

It is rare that you see a trade that is beneficial to all parties involved, but this one looks to be good for everybody, including the players being traded.

And Philly gets even tougher. That division is looking nasty.

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