Flyers Faithful is pleased to have Adam Kimelman of NHL.com, Marc Siciliano of Kukla’s Corner, Dan MacNeal of Crimespree Hockey, James Minger of Flyers-Philia, and Flyers Faithful’s own Kevin Christmann participate in the current iteration of Five Questions. This is the fifth of a five-part series focusing on Free Agency that will run all week.
Do you see the Flyers as major players for one or both of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter? (note: our participants’ answers were captured prior to the JVR trade.)
Adam Kimelman: I think with the Flyers’ biggest need being on defense, I think they will be major players for Suter. If they lose out on him, I think they focus on other defensive additions rather than go for Parise.
Marc Siciliano: Short Answer? No.
If the Flyers were to make a big free agent splash, it would be most acceptable on the back end. But even here, it just doesn’t appear to be lining up for the Flyers. Suter is a great player, but he seems destined to head west for quite a formidable sum of money (as mentioned before). Additionally, he’s left handed – AKA the same as everyone else we already have. Changes could be made to fit him in, but it just doesn’t pass the smell test for me.
Look for the Flyers to do what they have always done when it comes to the back end: seek upgrades via trade. Much like Coburn, Carle, and Meszaros, it makes perfect sense for the Flyers to find a guy they truly covet for the long-term and go hard to land him, even though they would be giving up assets to do so. Sticking to your long-term philosophy is more important than making a big splash on July 1, and they have tons of valuable assets at forward to make such a scenario plausible.
With Parise, it just doesn’t make sense to commit so much money to him with so many young forwards already on the team destined to eat that cap space in the future. Signing a guy like Parise eventually comes at the expense of a guy like Schenn, Couturier, or Giroux. While I stand behind the Flyers needing a bonafide scoring winger, I would hope to do so for $5 million or less given the defensive shortcomings that usually come associated with such a playing style. Not to mention Parise’s age relative to the inevitable length of his contract (hint: doesn’t bode well) and the guys he would be replacing (hint: he’s older, thus more likely to regress than improve in the coming seasons). What’s the point?
It would seem the Flyers are hoping JVR (or maybe even Schenn) will eventually slot into that role of legit top-flight winger, and that is OK in my book (until they prove otherwise). The offense isn’t of dire, cap killing concern to the Flyers, and shouldn’t be treated as such. While they may not fit perfectly together as is, I believe the pieces are largely in place for this group to find success – enough so that they could even sustain a loss (and subsequent lesser replacement) for young, solid defensive help.
It is the nature of the Flyers to make changes, but it is rarely something they achieve via Free Agency. Danny Briere is one of the few big ticket FA’s the Flyers have ever signed in competition with others – why would they start now for two guys that don’t adequately suit their needs? If the Flyers don’t have their rights by July 1, you can almost bet they won’t be in the picture for these two come July 2.
Dan MacNeal: I see the interest there by the Flyers, but not as a realistic player for either guy. Both guys seem to not have the Flyers on their radar; Suter preferring to stay in the West and Parise doesn’t seem to want to sign with a Devils’ division rival. But money talks; if the money is there, they’ll sign. Unfortunately for the Flyers, I don’t see them offering the kind of money that could convince one or both to join the club without blowing up the core of their team once again.
James Minger: I doubt the Flyers will sign either Suter or Parise. Rather, I should say that Suter is a big ‘maybe,’ and Parise is definite ‘no.’ I think that there is a great amount of interest amongst the fans for Parise but I don’t think that he has any desire to play for the Flyers. In either case Parise or Suter will command $6-7M on the open market, and with the Flyers (supposedly) in active pursuit of Rick Nash, they would not have the cap space available to pay Nash and Suter/Parise.
However, I often compare Paul Holmgren to Neo of The Matrix because if there is one thing Holmgren understands is that, “there is no cap.” Homgren seems to find a way to make the marquee deals that the salary cap was suppose to prevent teams like the Flyers from doing so. Now, at times Holmgren’s cap maneuvering could be labeled as “borderline circumvention” at times but the bottom line is that he finds ways to get the big deal done. That being said, I still don’t think that signing Parise is a viable option but I have seen the Flyers pull off unlikelier deals than signing Suter.
Kevin Christmann: I do think the Flyers will kick the tires on both of them, but ultimately I don’t see it happening. With the JVR trade, there is now more of a need for a winger which could open the door for Parise. Of course, even with the addition of Schenn, I think most would still put defenseman as the Flyers’ biggest need. If Suter were to be signed, it would probably mean no Carle or the trading of another defenseman. Not to mention that it has been reported that Suter would like to stay in the West.