The Flyers traded defenseman RFA Ryan Parent to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Dan Hamhuis, who is set to become a free agent on July 1. Parent, a former first round pick of the Predators, suffered a rash of injuries and never lived up to his potential in Philadelphia.
Though the Flyers have not signed — or, at least, announced — a new contract with the physical defender, it’s reasonable to assume they will do so. As pointed out on Twitter by Greg Wyshynski, of Puck Daddy fame, it was 3 years and 1 day ago that the Flyers traded a first round draft pick for the rights to pending UFAs Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell. Paul Holmgrem has experience in dealing with these matters. Even if Hamhuis does not sign in Philadelphia, the Flyers are covered. They also received a conditional pick in the 2011 draft.
At the trade deadline, the Flyers reportedly came close to landing Hamhuis. So, it should not come as a great surprise that they dealt for him. The surprising part is that they do not have the cap space available to sign him. Back in February and March, hockey pundits estimated that Hamhuis would command between $4-5 million per year on the free agent market. Since the Flyers already have a solid top 4 on the blueline, acquring Hamhuis doesn’t make much sense on the surface.
Many Flyers fans are very excited about having what might be the best defense in the league, according to the posts on social networking sites and hockey forums. However, the Flyers need to move a big salary to keep Hamhuis and that trade might cost the Flyers a veteran defender.
Kimmo Timonen is one of the most underrated defenders in the league, but he is also 35 and, at the moment, has the second highest cap hit on the team ($6.33M). Hamhuis may be his replacement. Hamhuis, who can play big minutes, is 8 years younger and will likely cost about $2M less per year. The Flyers can save significant cap space that can be used towards acquiring a goalie, a first line right winger, or to extend a core player like Claude Giroux. Timonen could also be used as bait to fill the team’s biggest need(s).
It would be a shame to lose Timonen but it might be a necessary evil.