Archive for Free Agency

Ridiculous Offers?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on July 4, 2008 by flyersfan44

Despite the salary cap, are we seeing free agent offers that are exhorbitant?  That would be the opinion of Ducks general manager Brian Burke, who blames Oilers GM Kevin Lowe for unnecessarily inflating contract offers.  This feud began last year, when Lowe signed unrestricted free agent Thomas Vanek to a seven-year, $50 million offer sheet, which was matched by the Sabres.  Lowe also signed the Ducks’ Dustin Penner (a third-line player) to a five-year, $21.25 million offer sheet, which was not matched by Anaheim.  Burke then went on a tirade of blame for salaries spiraling upward aimed at Lowe.  This year, we have Brian Campbell signing for $7.5 million per season, Marian Hossa signing for $7.45 million, Jeff Finger getting $3.5 million per year, and Sean Avery getting $15.5 million over four seasons.  An offer currently on Mats Sundin’s table is $20 million over two seasons from Vancouver.  At this rate, I can at least see ticket prices continuing to rise (and pricing out fans of average means) if not team owners threatening another lockout if offers do not get under control, which the cap was initially intended to do.

Big-Name Signings Don’t Include Flyers

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on July 2, 2008 by flyersfan44

It didn’t take long for the teams with money and cap space to sign the big-name players they coveted.  Unfortunately so far, the Flyers have not been one of them.  The players the Flyers were reportedly interested in (as well as my hopefuls) were quickly and opportunistically snatched up.  The division-rival New York Rangers signed defenseman Wade Redden for six years at $6.5 million per year, defenseman Brian Campbell went to Chicago with an eight year deal worth $57 million, and defenseman Mark Streit inked a deal with the New York Islanders for four years and $20.5 million.   I had mentioned forwards Ryan Malone and Radim Vrbata as players the Flyers should consider.   However, both of them signed with the Lightning – Malone for seven years and $31.5 million.  Tampa is intent on turning themselves around in a hurry.  With the lowest payroll in the league last season, they had plenty of room for free agent signings and wasted no time, inking Gary Roberts, Vinny Prospal, and goalie Olaf Kolzig as well.  Add these to the number one overall pick in the 2008 draft, Steven Stamkos, and the Lightning have gone from doormat to competitive in about two weeks.  I’m still not sure why they, along with the rest of the Sun Belt teams, are in the NHL but that’s another matter.

With the top names evidently out of the Flyers’ reach, they did sign journeyman forward Glen Metropolit to a two-year deal.  This will be the 34 year-old’s sixth team and he evidently will replace Jim Dowd, who probably will not be offered a contract.  They also signed Finnish defenseman Ossi Vaananen to a one year deal at $1 million.  He is a defensive defenseman who has good size (6’4 215) and who likes to hit.  Vaananen has played for Phoenix and Colorado over the last six seasons, although he played in Sweden last year.  Another free agent in which they are reportedly interested is defenseman Ron Hainsey of Columbus.  He has good size (6’3 209) and is mobile and good with the puck.  He can play either side of the ice and had decent numbers last year with eight goals and 24 assists in 78 games.  All eight goals came on the power play.  His downside is that he supposedly plays softer than his size would dictate and needs to improve defensively.  But the Flyers are supposedly very high on him. 

The Flyers’ defense will have a different look next season.  They are expected to lose Jason Smith in free agency and Mike Rathje will not be able to play next season due to injuries.  How well the newly acquired Steve Eminger and Vaananen play will be crucial.  I am disappointed we have not signed a more prominent free agent defenseman, especially with the trading of RJ Umberger.  Hopefully, they’ll be able to work a deal with Hainsey.  It seems that defensively alot is up in the air right now.  It will be interesting to see what the Flyers’ total payroll is for next season – this will give indication as to whether Comcast, er, the Flyers had any more money to spend in the free agent market.

Free Agency Rumors

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 26, 2008 by flyersfan44

A few rumors have surfaced as the NHL prepares to begin its free agency period on July 1.  The Montreal Canadiens seem to be intent on adding the pieces they believe will bring the team to the next level.  They have already acquired forward Alex Tanguay in a trade and have gotten exclusive rights to negotiate with free agent Mats Sundin of Toronto until July 1.  I’m not sure how that happened, since it used to be called tampering, but nevertheless it should allow the Canadiens to lock up the center.  Montreal is also one of three teams along with the Flyers and Rangers in the running for San Jose defenseman Brian Campbell.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have extended an offer to Marian Hossa but he wants to test the free agent market.  Boston and Chicago are both after him although he could still end up re-signing with the Pens.  Forward Ryan Malone also wants to test free agency. 

Vinny Prospal is expected to sign with Tampa and defenseman Wade Redden is virtually certain not to re-sign with Ottawa.  The Flyers are supposedly interested in him as well, but I still think Mark Streit would be the way to go for the Flyers.  He had as many points as Campbell and currently makes less than half Campbell’s current salary.

Free Agency Begins July 1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 24, 2008 by flyersfan44

There has been alot of speculation that the Flyers will seek to sign a free agent, puck-moving defenseman when the free agent market opens on July 1.  This has been identified as their most pressing need.  The salary cap poses some difficulty here but the trading of Vinny Prospal and RJ Umberger and the retirement of Sami Kapanen has freed up some salary money that should allow the Flyers to go after one good free agent.  The defensemen most often mentioned as possibly Philadelphia-bound are San Jose’s Brian Campbell (whom the Flyers tried to acquire at the trade deadline from Buffalo), Ottawa’s Wade Redden, and Montreal’s Mark Streit.  Redden may be too expensive and Campbell has several other teams after him, including the division rival Rangers (which may be all the more reason for the Flyers to go after him). 

Mark Streit may be the best value here.  He is a solid defenseman whose price tag would be lower than Redden’s or Campbell’s.  Another interesting factor to consider is that he is from Switzerland as is the Flyers’ first round draft pick in last week’s draft, Luca Sbisa.   Would the Flyers sign Streit with an eye toward him mentoring Sbisa a few years from now?  If the Flyers were to sign the less-costly Streit, this could allow them to pick up another good value free agent, perhaps a forward – there are several good ones that will be unrestricted free agents on July 1.  Below is my list of UFAs the Flyers may want to consider, beginning with defensemen.  Their ages, height and weight, and stats from last year (games played-goals-assists-points-salary) are also listed:

Wade Redden D (30) 6’2 209; 80-6-32-38; $6,500,000 (Ottawa)

Brian Campbell D (29) 6’0 191; 83-8-54-62; $1,750,000 (San Jose)

Mark Streit D (29) 6’0 197; 81-13-49-62; $600,000 (Montreal)

Sean Avery C (27) 5’10 195; 57-15-18-33; $1,900,000 (NY Rangers)

Josef Vasicek C (26) 6’5 214; 81-16-19-35; $750,000 (NY Islanders)

Ryan Malone LW (27) 6’4 224; 77-27-24-51; $1,450,000 (Pittsburgh)

Antti Miettinen LW (26) 6’0 190; 69-15-19-34; $885,000 (Dallas)

Radim Vrbata RW (26) 6’1 190; 76-27-29-56; $1,225,000 (Phoenix)

Teemu Selanne RW (37) 6’0 204; 26-12-11-23; $1,500,000 (Anaheim)

Streit, Malone, and Vrbata would be my top choices to go after considering value, production, and intangibles.   It should be an interesting free agency period.