Flyers get high-scoring Prospal in trade with Lightning

Updated: February 26, 2008, 12:21 AM ET
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Philadelphia Flyers bolstered their banged-up lineup by acquiring high-scoring forward Vaclav Prospal in a trade with Tampa Bay on Monday night.

Burnside's analysis

There is no surprise that Vaclav Prospal is gone. The Lightning weren't in a position to re-sign the forward, who is apparently looking at $4 million a year over four years as an unrestricted free agent this summer. That's a lot of money for anyone and certainly more than the Bolts wanted to spend.

One of the game's streakiest scorers, Prospal is on a tear (10 points in his last 11 games). That's good news for the Flyers, who have been decimated by injuries, especially up front, where they are without Simon Gagne for the rest of the season and Mike Richards, who's out for three weeks.

Prospal, originally a Philadelphia draft pick back in 1993, can play some center, but is mostly a winger. One wonders if he can help jump-start center Daniel Briere, who is in a grisly slump.

-- Scott Burnside

In exchange, the Flyers dealt the Lightning minor league defenseman Alexandre Picard and a conditional pick in the 2009 draft. The move came a day before the NHL trade deadline. The move was announced immediately after the Flyers ended a 10-game losing skid with a 4-3 shootout win over the Buffalo Sabres.

Philadelphia has been depleted by injuries after losing Mike Richards, who tore a hamstring last weekend. They're also minus star forward Simon Gagne (concussion) and defenseman Derian Hatcher (knee).

The win, sealed by Daniel Briere's goal, ended the Flyers' 0-8-2 skid and pushed Philadelphia into a tie with Buffalo for the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff berth.

Prospal, who is in the final season of his contract and could become unrestricted free agent this summer, is having a strong season. He's already scored a career-best 29 goals, along with 28 assists for 57 points in 62 games. An 11-year NHL veteran who broke into the NHL with the Flyers during the 1996-97 season, Prospal also played for Ottawa, Anaheim, Florida, and spent the past three seasons with the Lightning.

"With the loss of forwards due to recent injuries, we felt that we needed to add some help to that position," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "We believe that Vinny will bring experience with the ability to produce some offense."

In a statement released by the team, Prospal said he expected a trade.

"My name has been mentioned all around the paper, and there have been a lot of rumors," Prospal said. "Philadelphia is a great place to play because they have awesome fans, and I was drafted by Philadelphia."

Picard, the Flyers third-round pick in the 2003 draft, has played parts of three seasons in Philadelphia. He had no points in four games for the Flyers this year, and has three goals and 19 assists in 72 career games with the Flyers.

"We believe he has a significant amount of upside in his future," Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said, referring to Picard.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press