The Miscalculation of Paul Holmgren

Image Courtesy of

Ryan Suter…Strike one. Zach Parise…Strike two. Jaromir Jagr…Strike three, you’re out, Mr. Holmgren.

We in Flyerdom find ourselves in a strange situation as of mid-July in 2012. The Flyers’ big free agent signing 11 days in has been bottom-six forward and old friend Ruslan Fedotenko. Holmgren failed to make meaningful contact with the two marquee free agents in Suter and Parise (although, if you have read my articles, you know I don’t believe Suter was a marquee free agent). Furthermore, the Flyers blew their chances in retaining Matt Carle.

I believed Holmgren when he said that he believed that he could have signed Carle to a contract below market value. The issue was that Holmgren did not make Carle feel wanted. I believe the old saying is: “don’t make someone your priority when they are making you their option.” Carle felt like the second fiddle to Ryan Suter in the Flyers plans, so he bolted to Tampa Bay for greener pastures.

So where do the Flyers go from here?

What is left for these Flyers in free agency? Shane Doan? Alexander Semin? Don’t count on it. Doan has a preference to stay on the West Coast, while Semin does not fit Peter Laviolette’s system (or many others for that matter). Can you recall the last time the Flyers had been not-so-successful in the free agency market? A year where they failed to land a known and valuable target?

The answer: 2006, when the Flyers “big” acquisition was defenseman Nolan Baumgartner, whom they signed away from Vancouver for $2.4 million over two years. Baumgartner would be released the same year. Six years later, the Flyers have been shut out again.

But is this necessarily a bad thing? Maybe this is the start of a new strategy that Holmgren is employing. It’s gotta be better than the one where he signs players to long-term deals and then casts them upon the wind three years in. As we all know, Holmgren has tinkered with the Flyers lineup drastically the last two years. Maybe, Homer is keeping his cap space to make a big move at the trade deadline (Hello, Bobby Ryan). Or maybe he is holding is money to make a run at Nashville all-world defenseman Shea Weber.

Whatever path Holmgren chooses, this is definitely a different Flyers off-season strategy than we’ve seen in the past — but one at least that’s not going to give us all cardiac episodes.

  • Justin Fenico

    I wouldn’t say these have been bad decisions. Perhaps not signing Carle, but the Flyer’s did acquire Shenn who has tremendous upside.

    Jagr was going to be too costly, and the whole Parise, Suter thing got out of hand very quickly. The last thing I want the Flyers to do is sign a free agent for 100million for double digit years.

    If the Flyers do end up signing either Ryan or Weber (low possibility), I think fans will be happy.

  • Parker

    It is unfortunate that we missed out on both big names on the market – but so did every other team not named The Wild. If there is one thing we can learn from Bryzgalov: don’t over commit. I think MN will be hating those signing in 3 years when they are weighing heavily on the cap and their talents are but a foggy memory of ’11-’12. And Jagr was fun to have around last year, but I still contend it was lightning in a bottle. Those knees aren’t what they used to be and he was clearly laboring at the end of last year. I think signing him – even to a one-year deal – is a liability. And with Voracek waiting for a chance to join the Hartnell / Giroux line, I think we added through subtraction.

  • richrath

    Losing Carle sucks and will hurt, given that the replacements are kids, Luke Schenn and Bruno Gervais. But missing out on Parise/Suter isn’t a tragedy, and signng Fedo for not that much $$ is a good move. He’s a solid contributor and tends to come up big in the POs.

    Right now, though, I don’t see this team as better than last year. Of course, I felt the same way one year ago today :-)

  • Don Duclos

    We did make a mistake waiting on Suter – I talked to a good power forward last night that said Philly called him, but he didn’t want to wait and went to the NYR. We needed to add a couple of good veterans and failed to do anything but replace Carle with Schenn and lose two producers up front… and still have Voracek in limbo.

  • will

    This is a horrifically biased article. We missed out on two players that had no intention of ever signing with the flyers, and a third that 3/4 of the fanbase will be happy to see gone.

    I would be led to believe that you don’t have faith in the GM. Contrary to popular belief, the flyers don’t need to make a big move every year.

    • Kevin Christmann

      I took the article as him saying while yes they did “miss out” on some guys, it’s probably for the best (at least for the big 2). I thought he was almost giving Homer credit for practicing patience.

      • HMGreenblatt

        Bingo! Sorry for the delay in response!