One Week Later, Flyers Still Active in Free AgencyBREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
NHL free agency hit the one week mark at noon this past Sunday. In that span, the Flyers signed Michael Leighton, former Flyers Ruslan Fedotenko and Danny Syvret, and newcomers Cullen Eddy and Bruno Gervais.
They also let Jaromir Jagr and Matt Carle walk.
In the short-term, the Flyers appear to still be missing a few pieces before this team can really be considered –on paper – to be a legitimate contender for the 2012-13 NHL season. It’s a reasonable start, though, and one that general manager Paul Holmgren can successfully build on if he’s careful.
It’s difficult to read exactly what plan – if any- exists at the front office. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Flyers offered free agent Zach Parise $110 million before he signed with the Minnesota Wild. The Flyers also are believed to have offered free agent Ryan Suter $102 million.
Regardless of their star appeal, both contracts would have been overpayment. Holmgren could have stocked the team with a number of “less talented” but still effective free agents had he elected to withdraw from the bidding frenzy, but the market has been tapped into heavily now with sparse top end talent left.
The silver lining is that in “losing” to the Wild, the Flyers have given themselves breathing room to take some time with their next moves. Assuming that all of their qualified offers are signed (and ignoring trades for the moment), the Flyers have room to sign two more players before reaching the fifty contract limit as well as about $7.8 million in salary cap space according to CapGeek.
I don’t anticipate the team making any further moves on defense unless it’s via trade. While Shea Weber is the ultimate trophy among potential defensemen available, any trade for his services is just going to be as a one year rental. There’s no reason to think he won’t do exactly what Suter did and wait till free agency to see what offers are out there, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to throw away a nucleus of assets for one year of Weber.
The team could arguably use at least one additional top six forward.
Shane Doan remains one of the most enticing free agent forwards available, as he was waiting for a referendum to pass in Phoenix that would help determine the fate of the Phoenix Coyotes franchise. Landing Doan is just as much of a crapshoot as Parise, though, as more than half the league is expected to make an offer.
As of Monday evening, the Arizona Republic is reporting that “Los Angeles, San Jose, Detroit, Chicago and Vancouver” are the teams at the top of his list.
While the potential to play with his friend and former teammate Danny Briere may give the Flyers an advantage, they also employ his former (and much maligned) teammate, Ilya Bryzgalov. It’s hard to say which player would affect his decision more.
Alex Semin remains another top free agent that has yet to find a new team. The knock against him is basically that he is a similar player to former Flyer Nikolay Zherdev- all the talent in the world and marginal work ethic (depending on who you believe). Semin, however, has at least shown consistency as a top end talent at the NHL level and contributes defensively as well. He was +92 over the last four seasons with the Washington Capitals and averaged 32 goals and 64 points per season over the last six seasons.
Assuming that he would be willing to work harder under Peter Laviolette than Zherdev, Semin could be another valuable weapon for the Flyers. It all depends on just how much truth there is to the rumors and what type of offer he’d be looking for.
It’s easy to look at each individual move made to date and wonder how exactly this is going to develop into a championship worthy team, but there’s plenty of time left for Holmgren to perform his due diligence and make the right deal in lieu of a rushed one.
For the latest Flyers news and updates, you can follow me on twitter (@JoshJanet).
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