So here we are a mere few hours after free agency kicked off at noon on July 5; but it appears as if the Flyers may call it a day. I’ve often been a pretty harsh critic of Paul Holmgren in the past, but he gets top marks from me after Day one.
Homer has a history of being the first to market and doing whatever it takes to get the guy he wants. Often that may involve having to make a secondary move to fit in the initial one. Or, as was often the case in the past, being first to market didn’t result in any savings, but rather bloated/unnecessary contracts.
However, with a new CBA the market has proven extremely volatile and it appears as if Homer’s tendency for impatience may just work out this offseason. After buying out Danny Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers have made a number of shrewd signings.
I must admit, it was really nice watching other teams sign players to these “mistake” contracts.
Mark Streit – 4 years $5.25 million cap hit
The Flyers traded for the rights of the impending unrestricted free agent and signed him to a four year deal well before free agency began. While I still don’t think this contract was a bargain of any kind, it’s not a total albatross. And as I’ve noted a few times, all contract mumbo jumbo aside, Streit will help this team on the ice. The Flyers severely lacked mobility and puck-moving on their blueline and Streit should help immensely in both areas.
Vincent Lecavalier – 5 years $4.5 million cap hit
Not long after being bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Flyers signed the former Lightning Captain to a 5 year contract. Initially, I had two reactions to the move: 1) I didn’t like the term and 2) I didn’t really see the need because, as everyone knows, this team’s woes last year were on defense. However, the fact of the matter is, he’s a good player, and he will improve the team.
He provides size down the middle. He will allow Schenn to move to the wing where he hopefully will no longer be shuffled back and forth between wing and center. He’s a significant improvement on Briere at this stage of their careers, as he should be able to produce similar offensive output while not being a massive liability on the ice. He also comes in at $2 million less than Briere would have cost. Lastly, he provides another significant faceoff man to Giroux, which is an area the Flyers struggled mightily at.
Oh and then after today’s free agent frenzy, it frankly looks like a bargain.
David Clarkson – 7 years – $5.25 million
Tyler Bozak – 5 years – $4.2 million
Ryan Clowe – 5 years – $4.85 million
Mike Riberio – 5 years – $5.5 million
Adam Hall – 1 year $600k cap hit
Adam Hall may not seem like much of an acquisition but, as I alluded above, the Flyers were dreadful on draws last season outside of Giroux. Hall fit right in and played well last year when claimed on waivers. I argued he should be brought back, and the Flyers must have agreed. He should slot in nicely as the 4th line center, unless he is beaten out by last year’s first round pick Scott Laughton.
Hall, Lecavalier, and Giroux should give the Flyers some strength in the dots.
Ray Emery – 1 year $1.65 million cap hit
After missing out on trading for Jonathan Bernier, the Flyers made the perfect free agent signing, agreeing to a one year deal with Ray Emery. It was going to be an interesting goaltender market with not many teams needing a goaltender and quite a few options available as free agents.
As a matter of principle I don’t really believe in spending significant dollars on your goaltending unless you have one of the very few goaltenders that are worth it. (For reading on the topic look here and here.)
My number one priority when it came to finding a goaltender to pair with Steve Mason really had almost nothing to do with the name, and more to do with the contract. I wanted a one year deal, for cheap dollars. This would allow the Flyers to have two goaltenders competing for the starting gig, with minimal investment. The best case scenario would be if Mason or “the other guy” ran away with the job and warranted a contract extension. The worst case scenario is that neither guy is the answer and then you can reevaluate the position next year with a better free agent class.
As it turns out, the Flyers managed to sign Emery to that one year contract I so desired, worth a paltry $1.65 million. Now, he and Mason make a combined $3.15 million, whereas Bryzgalov occupied $5.667 of cap space by himself last year. I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that the Flyers get at least identical goaltending at a fraction of the cost.
Meanwhile Evgeni Nabokov somehow got 1 year at $3.25 million.
Not to mention that I just think Emery is a pretty decent goaltender.
Ray Emery has a 0.921 EVSV% since 2004-05. He's a legitimate addition for Philly.
— Jonathan Willis (@JonathanWillis) July 5, 2013
Yann Danis – 1 year
With the departure of Brian Boucher the Flyers needed some veteran depth at goaltender in the AHL. They signed Danis, one of the best goalies in the league, to a one year contract.
Claude Giroux – re-signed – 8 years $8.275 cap hit
I might as well include the Claude Giroux extension. This was almost exactly what I expected him to get after some of the other signings in the new CBA. I felt that Getzlaf’s eight year $8.25 was most comparable. A more than fair contract for Giroux.
From our friends at Broad Street Hockey.
He doesn’t have the personal accolades of Malkin or Perry, but you’re getting more “prime years” than all of them.
The Flyers currently stand just a tad over the salary cap, but they still are almost certainly going to trade a defenseman as they currently have a logjam at the position. Coburn and Meszaros are the most likely candidates, with the latter being difficult to move. That should free up at least $4 million.
They also appear close to bringing back Gagne.
Flyers have agreed on MONEY with Simon Gagne. Contract not done I am told
— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) July 5, 2013
In my mind, trading Meszaros and then re-signing Gagne to a reasonable contract would make this an ideal offseason. They’ve filled some big holes on the ice, shed some terrible contracts, and didn’t have to part with any major asset in improving the team.
I like the look of this roster (replace Coburn with Meszaros depending upon who gets traded):
Hartnell – Giroux – Voracek
Schenn – Lecavalier – Simmonds
Gagne – Couturier – Read
Talbot – Hall – Rinaldo
Kimmo – Schenn
Streit – Coburn
Grossmann – Gustafsson
Now I just hope I don’t have to put my foot in my mouth later when some of the impending moves come to fruition. You just never know when it comes to the Flyers.