As I did a few days ago with the goalies, here we go with the forwards. I only did the 14 guys who played over 50 games this season. Anyone who's waiver exempt and spent more time with the Phantoms was not included.
Guaranteed to be back next year:
Mike Richards: he's the captain, a favorite of GM Paul Holmgren and coach Peter Laviolette. No one INSIDE the organization has ever questioned his leadership and the fact that he has another 10 years onn his contract helps too.
Jeff Carter: he's an alternate captain and the same as Richards. Also, it would be incredibly disrespectful to trade someone so soon after inking an 11 year extension with them.
Danny Briere: he's making 6.5M against the cap for 3 more years and has an NMC. Even if the Flyers wanted to, there's no way to move him.
James van Riemsdyk: Making 1.654 against the cap, the Flyers shopped him in November 2010, the asking price then was 2 firsts and 2 seconds and a prospect. At this point, the Flyers might want 4 firsts for him since his 2012 RFA offer sheet would probably be in that range.
Claude Giroux: He was a huge star for the Flyers all year. Also averaged an assist per game in the playoffs. He's back.
75% Chance of returning:
Scott Hartnell: making 4.25 against the cap. He's a fan favorite and a "Philadelphia Type" player. That being said, the Flyers apparently tried to trade him to Edmonton a couple years back for Sheldon Souray but Souray refused to waive his NTC. He might get moved, but I doubt it.
Blair Betts: Blair's major strength, winning PK faceoffs disappeared at the end of this season, right after he broke a finger, because of his 700K cap hit, he is moveable to a team looking for a PK guy, (eyeing you Vancouver, more on this later)
Jody Shelley: He's making 1.1 against the cap, which for an enforcer, is rather steep. He also had a broken orbital bone causing him to miss a lot of time towards the end of the season, and it rendered him unavailable for the first round of the playoffs as well.
Darroll Powe: He's an RFA looking for a raise from his 725K salary to something close to 950K. Barring major cap issues; I can't see him going anywhere.
Andreas Nodl: Same as Powe, but I think Nodl gets moved BEFORE Powe does as Matt Read is under contract for next year at 900K and he's a similar player to Nodl.
50% Chance of returning
Kris Versteeg: It's not his fault by any stretch the team struggled. He was hurt and all. That being said, 20 goal 20 assist guys who can play all 3 forward positions and PP/PK situations don't grow on trees. His cap hit is reasonable and he's an RFA in 2012. This could fetch something decent in a trade, especially if the Flyers need to create cap room.
Dan Carcillo: An RFA, who, no matter what, is one of many of his kind. Tom Sestito plays the same type of game and should be 250K cheaper. Because of this, I would think Carbomb's the odd man out.
Ville Leino: He's a UFA who disappeared during the playoffs. He's 28, and probably won't be better than the 19G 34A he had this season. He's not an elite offensive talent, and not a top line talent by any stretch. Because of that, he can walk and I personally, will not miss him.
Will Not Return
Nikolay Zherdev: his known attitude problems and clashing with Laviolette means Z is going to be either back in Russia, or on another NHL team.
I mentioned Betts earlier and I thought I toss in a trade idea.
Vancouver and Philadelphia both have major cap issues as well as mutual needs so I came up with this trade to solve both teams problems.
To PHL: Cory Schneider (G)
To VAN: Matt Carle (D), Blair Betts (C), Johan Backlund (G) 1st in 2012, 6th in 2011
Why this works: The Canucks probably won't be able to afford retaining the services of Christian Ehrhoff in the off-season so they'll need a new D-man to take his spot. Carle does this at about 60% of the cost of Ehrhoff which save Van about $2.1M in cap space. Johan Backlund is on a 1-way 800K contract, he would take over as Luongo's backup. Blair Betts would be the PK center that Manny Malholtra was since Manny has the eye problems. The picks make up for the fact that Cory Schneider is a legit NHL starter in the making.