The Philadelphia Flyers are a pretty successful hockey team. While they haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1975, they’ve made the playoffs 15 times in the last 16 years. They went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010 and into the second round last season. They’re a perennial Cup-contender and a team that you can never really count out of contention.
And yet, despite that, they’ve made some serious changes to their team in the last week. Last Thursday was one of the most shocking days in recent NHL history and the rumours that more changes are on the way continue to float around.
What’s going on in Philadelphia?
Maybe the fact that this team has come close but hasn’t won a Cup in over 35 years is finally getting to them. Whatever it is, the Flyers seem determined to ice a completely different team than the one that was swept by Boston in round two. Just yesterday Darroll Powe was shipped to Minnesota for a 2013 third-round pick. Daniel Carcillo did not receive a qualifying offer from the team and it looks like his time in Philadelphia is done as well. These changes come on the heels of the trades that sent the Flyers’ captain and their leading goal-scorer out of town and the signing of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a huge contract.
With all of the movement and change in Philadelphia, it only makes sense that the NHL world is now waiting for the next step in the remodeling of the Flyers’ franchise. But is that next step coming? Are the Flyers about to become big players in the free agent market?
It seems like the team still wants to sign Ville Leino. Newly-acquired players Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek are both restricted free agents who will require new contracts. CapGeek shows that the Flyers have 18 players signed and about $8.3 million in cap space available. Signing Simmonds, Voracek and Leino will probably take up a decent chunk of that space.
If the team locks down those three players, that could be the extent of their work over the next few days.
If re-signing those free agents is the only plan the Flyers have right now, their cap relief moves make sense. Securing Leino, Simmonds and Voracek will be costly and the Flyers needed some wiggle room to do so. That could be the end of this story. No Brad Richards, no Steven Stamkos, just re-signing players that are already in the organization.
However, they could also be clearing up cap space to become buyers on July 1st. While the free agent market isn’t incredibly deep, Philadelphia could be in the market to make some more changes via free agency. If that’s the case, expect more trades to free up cap space.
At this point, no one really knows what Paul Holmgren is actually thinking. He’s been as far from status quo as possible this summer, so anything’s possible right now. At least he’s making the end of June very, very interesting.