Here we are, Flyers fans. Offers to Ryan Suter and Zach Parise were procured and rejected, thankfully. A mega offer sheet to the tune of 14 years and $110 million dollars was matched by Nashville for all-world defenseman Shea Weber — a contract so large that it could cripple the Nashville franchise if they don’t sell out every game and make a deep playoff run.
So what do the Flyers do now? More specifically, what does Paul Holmgren do now? We knew before that Homer has marbles (see “Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, trades of”). We know Homer’s cajones got even bigger when he signed Weber to a massive offer sheet, and in doing so, possibly ruining his relationship with David Poile, Nashville’s GM. So, where will Homer’s fortitude lead him now?
After Weber, we now know that Holmgren is not afraid to make a run at restricted free agents. Taking a look out in the restricted free agent pool, there are three names that pop out: New York Rangers’ Michael Del Zotto, Washington’s John Carlson (who was taken with the first round pick the Flyers traded to the Capitals for Steve Eminger), and our old nemesis PK Subban of Montreal. If Holmgren is gung-ho on making a move on the defensive side, Del Zotto and Subban are good enough to be considered Plans I, J and K (Weber is good enough to be considered A through H, and probably then some).
What complicates the situation even more is the Rangers’ recent acquisition of Rick Nash. Not only does Holmgren lose out on Weber, but also he sees what has been reported as the apple of his eye go to a bitter rival. Holmgren needs to make a splash now more than ever. That splash should come in the way of a trade, rather than signing a restricted free agent.
It’s clear that, without Weber and Chris Pronger, the Flyers need defense. Phoenix needs to cut money. Phoenix has Keith Yandle. Yandle, all of 25 years old with a cap hit of $5.2 million and signed for the next four years, should be the new man that Homer attempts to get. Could a deal be had without including Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn? That could be the sticking point.
Of course, the offseason is still far from over. Unfortunately, the unrestricted free agent pool is bare. Aside for a run at Yandle, the only bold move that seems to be left for Holmgren is to re-engage the Anaheim Ducks for Bobby Ryan. Either way, to restore some public trust after the appearance of “losing out,” on the other big names, he needs to make something happen.
We in Flyers nation will be biding our time until he does.
(Ed. note: as of 10:03 am, the Flyers re-signed Jakub Voracek to a four-year, $17 million deal, per multiple sources)