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Salary cap likely to hinder Flyers' trades

NEWARK, N.J. - Their salary-cap space is so tight that they lost popular veterans Glen Metropolit and Ossi Vaananen on waivers, and needed to send hotshot rookie Claude Giroux to the minors. So, the Flyers do not seem in position to make any major moves by Wednesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline - unless they can shed some salary in a deal.

NEWARK, N.J. - Their salary-cap space is so tight that they lost popular veterans Glen Metropolit and Ossi Vaananen on waivers, and needed to send hotshot rookie Claude Giroux to the minors. So, the Flyers do not seem in position to make any major moves by Wednesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline - unless they can shed some salary in a deal.

The defensemen who are reportedly available include Florida's Jay Bouwmeester ($4.875 million), Anaheim's Chris Pronger ($6.25 million), Toronto's Tomas Kaberle ($4.25 million), Phoenix's Derek Morris ($3.9 million), and Atlanta's Niclas Havelid ($2.7 million).

Joffrey Lupul ($2.3 million), Scottie Upshall ($1.2 million), Randy Jones ($2.75 million), Matt Carle ($3.4 million), and Braydon Coburn ($1.3 million) are among the Flyers drawing interest.

Coach John Stevens said the deadline was "a little unsettling time" for his players and that he is content with the roster as it stands.

Gagne hurt

Simon Gagne was hit by a Brian Rolston shot on his left hand and went to the locker room during the first period of yesterday's 3-0 loss to New Jersey. X-rays were negative, but Gagne said it hurt when he shot the puck.

"It's not very comfortable, and right now there's a lot of swelling . . . but the good thing is that nothing is broken," Gagne said.

Briere returns

Danny Briere said he felt fine after his first NHL action since Dec. 2.

"I'm disappointed about the loss, but for myself, it was my first game [in nearly three months], and I'm glad I was just able to get over that hump," he said.

Giroux coming back?

Don't be surprised if Giroux returns soon, perhaps even tomorrow night in Boston.

The rookie was sent to the Phantoms on Saturday. Sending Giroux ($822,000) and Lasse Kukkonen ($875,000) to the Phantoms freed about $1.7 million in cap space, helping to make room for Briere.

"It was just a decision that was made by the organization. He's a young guy, and Danny's coming back in," Stevens said.

"Claude is going to have a bright future here, and we think a lot of him right now, but a decision was made to send him down and get him extra playing time."

Breakaways

The Flyers were 0 for 2 on the power play yesterday and are 7 for 70 in their last 16 games. . . . Kimmo Timonen missed his fourth game because of the flu but is expected to play tomorrow.

- Sam Carchidi

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