Thursday night Hockey fans found it hard to sleep. The anticipation and anxiousness of a 6 year old on Christmas Eve kept us awake for a different kind of Holiday, NHL Free Agency day.
Fans both look forward to and dread the Free agency day, hoping that their teams don’t make many cringe worthy moves. Flyers fans especially stay wary of the FA because of the Flyers record of not so savvy moves. After what most consider a very bland Draft, the Free Agency was expected to reveal some big moves and hopefully something to talk about. Well this year did not disappoint and it wasn’t just the Flyers making waves.
Very quickly the shocking moments from around the league:
- Ottawa Senators Alfredsson left his team after 17 seasons to go to Detroit, the captain said he was being selfish and wanted to move to somewhere he felt had a good chance at the Cup this year.
- In a 7 player trade Between Boston and Dallas, Tyler Seguin found himself moving to the Stars along with center Rich Peverly and prospect Ryan Button in exchange for wingers Loui Eriksson and Matt Fraser and prospects Joseph Morrow and Reilly Smith.
- Nathan Horton (who still needs shoulder surgery) was signed in Columbus for $37.1 million for 7 years.
- Panthers Stephen Weiss went to Detroit on a 5-year, $24.5 million deal.
- Much to the dismay of Philadelphia, Bobby Ryan was traded to Ottawa in exchange for winger Jakob Silfverberg, winger Stefan Noesen and a first-round pick.
The Biggest move for the Flyers was reacquiring Chicago goalie Ray Emery for a 1 year deal worth $1.65 million. Emery had an amazing 17-1 record in Chicago despite not seeing any playoff action. The move to Philadelphia was influenced no doubt by Emery’s familiarity with the city and the Flyers organization, having played shortly for the Flyers in ’09-’10.
After Buying out media nightmare and Philadelphia scorner Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers were looking for a goalie who could perform at the starter position. There were multiple rumors connecting the Flyers with almost every goalie available, even Tim Thomas who has been absent from the league for 18 months. Ray Emery is a logical decision for the Flyers because of the ability they know he has and the familiarity. Ray Emery said that he was looking for a chance at a starter position and recognized that Corey Crawford would be around in Chicago for a while. Emery will be competing with Steve Mason for a starter position, although when they are in possession of 2 quality goalies, the Flyers usually take a shared role approach to goaltending, splitting the responsibility and games between the goaltenders.
Between Mason and Emery, the Flyers have the cheapest goalie pair in the league at a combined salary of $3.15 million both with a 1 year contract. With neither having a multiyear contract, this season will not only determine who gets the starter role, but also who will be getting a longer and more lucrative contract in the future.
The Flyers also resigned Captain Claude Giroux to an 8 year contract worth $66.2 million. Giroux will make $8.25 mil per season; the highest per season cap hit the Flyers have ever had, and makes Giroux the 9th highest paid player in the NHL behind names like Crosby, Kovalchuk, and Weber.
“Claude is a high-quality young man that over the past few years has blossomed into our best player and also one of the top players in the league. We look forward to more and better things to come from Claude over the next number of years as we try to achieve our goal of becoming a championship team.” GM Paul Holmgren said about the captain. Giroux was to become a free agent in 2014 and the Flyers had to make sure that they secured their star player.
Giroux, 25, had 48 points in 48 games this season on 13 goals and 35 assists. In 2011-12, he had his best season yet with 28 goals and 65 assists for 93 points in 77 games. He’s a playmaker first, but he has shown an increasing ability to finish as well.
Condolences to @fakelavy who was truly devestated by the Bobby Ryan trade.