The Flyers haven’t ruled defenseman Chris Pronger out for next season, but there little evidence to suggest he will return. Severe post-concussion syndrome threatens to end his NHL career.
Should Pronger sit, Philadelphia would gain $5 million in salary cap space once the season begins. That possibility could inspire the Flyers to spend to the cap limit this summer while taking runs at elite free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
Parise would be the flashier get, but Suter would address the bigger need on the blue line.
So which players figure to depart Philadelphia to facilitate change? The Flyers have a $64 million cap number for players still under contract, leaving little flexibility at the moment.
Unrestricted free agent Pavel Kubina is almost certain to depart. Ian Laperriere’s contract comes off the books, creating additional relief.
Defenseman Matt Carle could cash in as an unrestricted free agent in a thin market for defensive help. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren would let him walk if he could land Suter.
Veteran Jaromir Jagr (who made $3.3 million last season) could move along if the Flyers opted to pursue Parise, who figures to attract epic offers in terms of salary and years.
Other subtractions would have to come via trades . . . and move salary in this NHL climate is very difficult. That massive Ilya Bryzgalov contract (with its annual $5.7 million cap hit) figures to haunt the Flyers from now until 2020.