The rumor right now points to the Blues looking at Briere. Puck Daddy cites a Philadelphia reporter who said Paul Holmgren would ask for Shattenkirk in return.
If it's Briere for Shatty straight up, I would hate that deal with a passion. If Philly throws in some extra pieces...I might be interested. But losing Shatty would be a huge hit without getting a significant return.
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The Blues have more salary cap space than any team in the National Hockey League today, more than $20 million.
The franchise is operating on a tight budget. But the new Tom Stillman ownership group would consider adding some salary this spring if the right trade opportunity presented itself.
So general manager Doug Armstrong has hit the road to survey some possibilities. His regular presence at Flyers games leads the Philadelphia Daily News to believe he ready to do some business with a team looking to make changes.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren is feeling some heat with his big-budget team struggling. This man loves to sign players to comically oversized contracts and then dump them so he can sign different players to comically oversized contracts.
How Holmgren keeps his job doing this year after a year is a mystery, but, hey, good for him.
If Holmgren could convince Danny Briere to waive his full no-movement clause – which would take some doing – the Blues would have to at least consider the scenario.
Here is why:
A recent five-game point streak reminded us that Briere, 35, can still generate offense during the twilight of his career.
He is small (generously listed at 5-foot-10) but tenacious and somewhat versatile. It would not be hard to imagine him fitting into Ken Hitchcock’s system.
The Flyers could can $6.5 million in annual cap space by moving him. That would help this season and really help them handle the upcoming cap reduction.
Holmgren would love to create the cap space needed to add significant help on the blue line. The franchise is still reeling from the loss of Chris Pronger to post-concussion syndrome.
The Blues could afford the back end of Briere’s contract is not onerous. He will make $3 million next season and $2 million in 2014-15.
Holmgren just added old friend Simon Gagne for a draft pick, so that could help offset the Briere subtraction.
The Blues just lost forward Andy McDonald to a lower-body injury after losing Vladimir Tarasenko to a concussion. Their admirable offensive depth took a big hit.
Neither Phil McRae or Evgeny Grachev progressed at Peoria this season, so the Blues won't get an offensive boost from the minors this season. Armstrong will have to look outside the organization.
Of course, all of this speculation means nothing unless Briere agreed to leave Philadelphia. Right now he does not seem so inclined.
“I don't want to comment on anything at this point,” Briere told the Daily News. “Trades are not my department. I've been a Flyer for a long time. My heart belongs in Philadelphia with the Flyers. I can't see myself playing anywhere else.”
Look for lots of trade activity during the weeks ahead. Some teams are looking to add talent to boost their playoff hopes and other teams are trying to clean up their long-range payroll.
That inspired the Canadiens to move Erik Cole and his remaining contract (two more years at $4 million per season, with a cap hit of $4.5 million per year) to Dallas for Michael Ryder and his expiring contract.
That deal was a master stroke for Montreal GM Marc Bergevin, who gained payroll flexibility while clearing out a twilight-year winger. As for Dallas, this deal proved that teams will go to extremes to add some size and toughness up front.
AROUND THE RINKS: With Andrew Murray up in St. Louis on an emergency recall, a tough season for Peoria in the AHL got that much tougher . . . Much-discussed former Capitals winger Alexander Semin almost scored a short-handed goal for the Hurricanes Tuesday night in Washington. That would have chilled some of the chatter about what a bad guy he was in D.C. Instead, Braden Holtby made the save and the Capitals rolled to a 3-0 victory to get the last laugh . . . Teams looking to add an offensive defenseman could do worse than Ryan Whitney, who landed on the trade block after struggling for Edmonton this season. He is reasonably healthy (for a change) had he offers high-end skill . . . Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin has begun recovering from his concussion, but it is much too early to guess on a timetable for this return . . . Power forward Shane Doan is glad he stuck it out with the broke Coyotes, who keep winning despite their lack of resources . . . Scouts have had to change their tune on Our Town's Ben Bishop, who worked hard for his long-awaited NHL breakthrough.
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The St. Louis Blues seem like your prototypical “one player away” team.
One that needs that added veteran forward who’s been through the wars and, more importantly, has thrived under pressure. He doesn’t have to be another David Backes; he just needs to be tougher than his weight class would indicate.
Which is to say the Blues could use someone like Danny Briere of the Philadelphia Flyers, a versatile forward and over a point-per-game player in the postseason. Like many of the other Blues, he’s a total pain in the ass to play against; your “hate him until he’s on your team” guy.
Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that both the Blues and the Boston Bruins have been sniffing around Briere as the Flyers’ ship sinks this season.
The 35-year-old has two years left on his deal, and his $6.5 million cap hit is elephantine; but in terms of real dollars, he’s only owed $5 million over the last two seasons.
Briere makes sense for a lot of reasons for a team like St. Louis - and even for the Flyers to be intrigued enough to move him. Currently, Briere isn't the type of player who will get a team into the playoffs, but getting there isn't likely the problem for the Blues. (They could use a boost up front, especially after Andy McDonald left practice Tuesday with an injury.)
He claims the Flyers’ target could be defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. A one-for-one deal would get Paul Holmgren laughed off the phone with Blues GM Doug Armstrong, but the Flyers have other assets to toss in if they covet the Norris contender.
But that’s all conjecture, because the reality is that Briere determines his future.
From the Daily News, on Briere’s full no-movement clause:
Understandably, Briere doesn't have interest in moving. This isn't a rental situation, where he'd only have to gut it out this season before becoming a free agent. His family is rooted here, including his three hockey-mad sons, Caelan, Carson and Cameron. He earned his right to veto any future deal when signing his 8-year, $52 million pact to join the Flyers in 2007.
The no-move clause was a necessity for the Flyers to sign Briere back in 2007, as they were in a bidding war with other teams. If they wanted him, they had to give the keys to his future to him. It’s understandable.
But as the Flyers look at their roster and see a blueline that needs to get younger and better – and roughly $2.225 million in cap space next season – shipping out Briere makes sense for the right return.
Save for the fact he doesn’t want to leave. Then again, neither did Simon Gagne back in the day.