Shortly after the NHL and NHLPA signed the Memo of Understanding allowing teams to officially open for business, the Flyers signed defensman Kurtis Foster to a one-year, $950k contract, as reported by Anthony SanFilippo.
The 31 year old Foster spent last season with three different teams, Anaheim, Minnesota, and New Jersey. He finished the year with 14 points in 51 games, averaging a little over 15 minutes of ice time per game. The 6’5″ 226 pound defenseman, possesses a booming right-handed shot, and could provide some punch to the Power Play.
The signing actually resembles the Pavel Kubina acquisition from last season. Both are big, third pairing d-men, with big right-handed shots, who lack mobility. Hopefully, Foster can contribute more than Kubina did.
Foster suffered a broken femur in 2008 while with Minnesota, and some have said he’s lost a step when he wasn’t very fleet of foot to begin with. He does have some impressive offensive numbers on his resume however; namely a 42 point season with Tampa Bay in 2009-2010 in only 71 games.
Foster should provide some additional depth to a blue line with several question marks entering the lockout-shortened season.
Kimmo Timonen returns, but there are questions as to how his body will hold up in a compressed schedule. Braydon Coburn and Nicklas Grossmann should provide valuable minutes. Luke Schenn comes to the Flyers at the expense of James Van Riemsdyk. Andrej Meszaros is only just returning from a torn achilles tendon, and there are questions as to whether he will begin the season on time. Even if he does, nobody knows what kind of minutes he will be able to handle. Bruno Gervais and Andreas Lilja round out the sixth and seventh spots.
With injuries to defensive prospects Erik Gustafsson and Marc-Andre Bourdon, General Manager Paul Holmgren wanted to add some depth to the group.
“Erik’s probably two weeks from playing, and Marc-Andre we don’t know until he sees the doctor later this month. We just felt it was a gaping hole in our organizational depth, and we were able to be aggressive with Kurtis.”
If the Flyers limit Foster’s even-strength minutes, and give him an opportunity to use his shot on the Power Play, he could be a good depth acquisition for the orange and black.
After the first practice of training camp on Sunday, Coach Peter Laviolette offered, “Kurtis comes in, and I thought it was just a real good practice for him. We worked on a lot of things out there, but then on the back end on the power play, you can really see what he brings to the table. His head’s up, he makes good passes, he can really bring a shot. That can really help on the power play, I think.”