Flyers GM a Shark feeder?

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

TORONTO -- It didn't take Philadelphia Flyers' GM Bob Clarke long to go looking for a goaltender.

Less than 24 hours after the Flyers lost Antero Nittymaki for an extended period with a hip injury, there was talk Clarke made a call to San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson. League sources say the Flyers are interested in Vesa Toskala, who is scheduled to make $1.375 million this season and is battling Evgeni Nabokov for San Jose's No. 1 job.

While initial reports indicate Nittymaki could be gone for two months, there are whispers it could be even longer and it's believed the Flyers want to make sure they have help for starter Robert Esche.

But acquiring Toskala would come at a steep price. The talk is the Sharks want a roster player, a prospect and top draft pick.

The Sharks were close to sending Toskala to the Senators for winger Martin Havlat in late June, but Wilson couldn't finalize a deal with Ottawa GM John Muckler.

If the Flyers are desperate for a goalie, they could look at Mikael Tellqvist. He's expected to lose the Maple Leafs backup job to J.S. Aubin and would have to clear waivers to go to the minors.

OTTAWA HAS OPTIONS: The Senators don't have to send 23-year-old Alexei Kaigorodov back to his Russian club if he doesn't make the Senators, but there is a provision in his contract that allows for him to return to Metallurg. Going into last night's game at Air Canada Centre, Kaigorodov hadn't looked comfortable and appeared to be having a tough time making the adjustment to North American hockey. Anton Thun, Kaigorodov's Toronto-based agent, said last night he's going to wait until the end of camp before discussing the status of his client. "It's not going to do me any good to speculate on what might happen in this situation," said Thun. "He came here to make the Ottawa Senators. He's played at an elite level and we're quite confident when camp is over he's going to be part of the team. But I'm not going to make any comments." The Senators, who signed Kaigorodov to a two-year rookie contract before camp, might want him to spend time in Binghamton getting used to the North American game. "We're going to play him in a couple of these games and then we're going to make a decision," said coach Bryan Murray.

ALFIE'S OK: Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson returned against the Leafs after missing a week with a groin injury. Alfredsson said it was better to take the time off than try to push it during a game. "It's one thing to play in an exhibition game, the biggest thing is to make sure that you are ready when the season opens Oct. 4. That's the one you want to play in," he said. "I'm feeling a lot better and the rest helped a lot. I know my body pretty good and you've got to be careful with these sorts of things."

ZHERDEV NEAR DEAL?: Talks between the Columbus Blue Jackets and winger Nikolai Zherdev's Ottawa-based agent Rolly Hedges have resumed in the last couple of days. Sources say the two sides have made good progress and the Jackets were expected to table an offer last night which may get the young Russian into camp. The two sides have agreed if Zherdev isn't signed by Oct. 5, he'll play in Russia.

INSIDE THE SENS: The Senators blueline is slowly starting to get healthy. Wade Redden (groin) skated yesterday at Scotiabank Place and might be available tonight against the Canadiens at home. Christoph Schubert (virus) was given clearance Tuesday to skate and could return to the lineup Saturday in Montreal. Anton Volchenkov (broken fingertip) will likely resume practising tomorrow, but won't return until the season-opener against the Maple Leafs Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre ... There are 2,000 tickets left for the Senators' final home exhibition game tonight against Montreal.


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