Devils have optional morning skate; will face Detroit Red Wings

November 28, 2014 - The Star Ledger - View Full Article

Michael Ryder, Mike Cammalleri take morning off

NEWARK — The Devils held an optional morning skate Friday at Prudential Center ahead of their meeting with the Detroit Red Wings at 7 p.m.

Mike Cammalleri and Michael Ryder did not skate. Neither did Bryce Salvador (lower body) and Ryane Clowe (head).

These are the players who skated:

Forwards:

Zajac-Jagr
Henrique-Elias-Havlat
Ruutu-Josefson
Zubrus-Gionta-Bernier
Tootoo-Brunner

Defensemen:

Greene-Severson
Harrold Zidlicky
Helgeson-Larsson
Gelinas-Merrill

Goalies:

Schneider
Clemmensen

Rich Chere may be reached at rchere@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ledger_NJDevils. Find NJ.com on Facebook.




3 Flyers blockbusters that could save season, including dealing Matt Read to Devils for Adam Larsson

November 28, 2014 - The Star Ledger - View Full Article

Oilers might be interested in getting both Schenn brothers in a blockbuster with Flyers.

PHILADELPHIA — The Flyers surely are testing general manager Ron Hextall's patience the way they've been playing.

It's not just the losing, but the way they're losing. During a current 1-5-1 slide that had them 8-10-3 just past the quarter pole Flyers players twice were called out by coach Craig Berube for not competing hard enough.

That could a strong indication that changes are coming soon even though Hextall, unlike former Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, talks as if he's way more willing to hold onto draft picks and prospects rather than move them for an attempted quick fix.

Hextall's big dilemma is the salary-cap mess that he inherited last May when he was bumped up from assistant GM to GM and Holmgren was promoted to team president.

According to capgeek.com, the Flyers went into Thanksgiving weekend just $591,667 under the cap. Thus, Hextall will have to be very creative to improve his struggling team, which already seems in danger of missing the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.

Saving this season without blowing up the core and/or sacrificing the future still may be possible, as there are big moves that Hextall can make right away that could make his team better now and for the future.

Deals that Hextall surely would love to make but can't include trading unproductive/expensive forwards Vinny Lecavalier (2 goals in 14 games, $4.5 million cap hit through 2017-18) and R.J. Umberger (1 goal in 21 games, $4.6 million cap hit through 2016-17). No team is taking on one of those contracts.

Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier is almost certainly untradable due to his contract and what he now brings offensively and defensively. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek) 

But here are a few thinking-outside-the-box possibilities for Hextall to consider:

1. MATT READ TO DEVILS FOR ADAM LARSSON
The Devils still need more offense (2.36 goals per game, 25th among 30 teams) and they've been jerking around elite defense prospect Adam Larsson for four seasons, so ... How about left wing Matt Read to the Devils for Larsson? Read had just two goals in his first 21 games this season, but scored 24 and 22 in his two non-lockout seasons and he'd fit nicely into the Devils' system because he's a strong two-way player. As for Larsson, the Flyers would be taking a flier (no pun intended) on a 22-year-old Swedish blueliner who could be a change of scenery away from becoming the star that he was projected to be when drafted fourth overall in 2011. Dealing Read also would give the Flyers some much-needed cap space to work with in future seasons, as he's a $3.625 million hit through 2017-18. Larsson, who was a healthy scratch eight times in the first nine games this season, is a $900,000 cap hit, but will be a restricted free agent following the 2014-15 campaign. The Flyers and Devils don't do much dealing because they're division rivals, but Read for Larrson could be a win-win.

2. SCHENN BROTHERS, HAGG TO OILERS FOR PERRON, SCHULTZ
Here's a blockbuster that would shake up two teams that need it: Trade the Schenn brothers, forward Brayden and defenseman Luke, plus defense prospect Robert Hagg to the Edmonton Oilers for left wing David Perron and puck-moving defenseman Justin Schultz. Perron, 26, has just two goals in 23 games this season, but he scored 28 last season. The Flyers badly wanted Schultz, 24, during the summer of 2012 when he became a UFA on a technicality after being drafted by Anaheim. He's had some struggles this season, but has 21 goals and 70 points in his first 144 NHL games. The Flyers aren't dying to give up Brayden Schenn and they'd definitely prefer to keep Hagg, a 2013 second-round pick who currently is in the AHL, but adding two pieces like Perron and Schultz would be worth it. Perron would be a great fit on the top line by providing grit and ability to finish, while Schultz would improve an already very dangerous Flyers power play. The Flyers would have to make a prior deal (Read) to make this deal fit into their cap, but they'd be taking on just an extra $1.345 million (by adding $7.445 million with Perron and Schultz while subtracting $6.1 million with the Schenns).

3. TRADE COBURN TO KINGS
The Los Angeles Kings, winners of two of the last three Stanley Cups, plan on making a run at a third Cup next spring, but they have a blueline need to fill with Slava Voynov lost indefinitely due to felony spousal abuse charges. The Kings would like to add a second-pair blueliner and Coburn, a $4.5 million cap hit through 2015-16, could be a nice addition joining a great team without having to be a star. The Kings currently are $4.1 million under the cap, but they could fit Coburn in by farming out blueliner Jamie McBain, who has a two-way contract. The whole reason behind this deal from the Flyers' standpoint, which would involve Hextall trading with his old Kings boss Dean Lombardi, would be to acquire cap space and a draft pick, perhaps a 2015 second rounder. Coburn has a limited no-trade clause, but who in their right mind wouldn't jump at an opportunity to go from possibly missing the playoffs to joining the reigning Stanley Cup champs?

Randy Miller may be reached at rmiller@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RandyJMiller. Find NJ.com Philadelphia Sports on Facebook.