It was a busy day around the NHL on Thursday.
The league announced its 2011-12 schedule.
The salary cap was formally set at $64.3 million, which now gives the Blackhawks about $10 million in cap space instead of $5.1 million.
And the Philadelphia Flyers made two blockbuster trades, sending captain Mike Richards to Los Angeles and center Jeff Carter to Columbus.
The Flyers dealt Richards to the Kings in exchange for forward Wayne Simmonds, elite prospect Brayden Schenn and a second round draft pick. It's a trade that should make the Kings even more of a threat in the Western Conference.
Carter brought the Flyers forward Jakub Voracek and a first- and third-round draft pick from the Blue Jackets, who now have a star center for Rick Nash.
After shedding $100 million with the contracts of Richards and Carter, the Flyers signed goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year, $51 million deal.
“This had nothing to do with the financial (part) of it,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. “What we did today was make two good hockey trades.”
Among the trade rumors floated on Thursday was the Hawks making restricted free agent winger Troy Brouwer available. We'll see how that plays out over the next few days.
The Hawks have the 18th pick in the first round of Friday's draft and it's anyone's guess what GM Stan Bowman will do.
Seven separate published mock drafts have the Hawks taking six different players:
- Goalie John Gibson, USHL.
- Defenseman Oscar Klefbom, Sweden.
- Right wing Tomas Jurco, Saint John.
- Left wing Sven Baertschi, Portland.
- Center Vladislav Namestnikov, London.
- Left wing Brandon Saad, Saginaw.
It would be a surprise if the Hawks use their first-round pick on a goalie. They might go that way in the second or third rounds.
I remain intrigued by rugged right wing Tyler Biggs of the U.S. National Development Program, a big hitter, but many scouts believe Biggs will be gone by the time the 18th pick rolls around.