“We made the deal for Chris [Pronger] and still recognize to this day that it was a lot to give up,” said general manager Paul Holmgren, looking back to the draft two years ago that brought Pronger here.
“You kind of lose the opportunity to draft a pretty good player when you don’t have a first-round pick. We haven’t had that ability for two years and it looks right now we won’t have that opportunity this year, either. Between now and the draft you never know what can happen.
“Moving forward here, we have to think about restocking our cupboard and the best way to do that is still through the draft.”
Unless the Flyers move some salary to lighten their cap and gain some draft picks for this particular draft, they will be left with just five picks this weekend. Their first pick comes in the third round at No. 84.
If the Flyers were willing to move Jeff Carter to Columbus, they reportedly could have the Blue Jackets’ eighth pick overall, plus right wing Jakub Voracek. That apparently is what Columbus GM Scott Howson would part with for Carter, a player he feels he needs to get the Blue Jackets over the hump.
The Flyers don’t seem inclined to move Carter to clear cap space. And since the cap is rising next year to about $64 million, they now feel they only need to clear a little money to re-sign recently acquired goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
Still, Holmgren would like to get into the first round somehow. A deal figures to go down this weekend.
Holmgren takes issue with the notion that his farm system is depleted.
“I would disagree with that,” he said. “If you go through the American league, every team has 4-5 guys who are prospects, and we can certainly make that same argument, in all honesty, that there are 4-5 guys who are going to play for us.
“What we don’t have is high-end guys because we haven’t had a first-round pick in the last few years. Chances are, if you draft [high] in the first round, that player won’t play in the American league anyway. He makes your team right away or he finishes his junior career and goes right to the NHL.
“We have Gustafsson, [Kevin] Marshall, [Oliver] Lauridsen … those guys are all legitimate prospects on defense. Then we have [Zac] Rinaldo, [Ben] Holmstrom, Testwuide …
“Is there another Claude Giroux down there? That’s where not having a first-round pick comes in, in my opinion. We’re in line with other organizations that have prospects who can play.”