The Flyers have signed veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen to a one year deal, keeping him away for retirement for at east another season. The one year deal is said to be worth a base $2million with the possibility of him earning a little under $4million through incentives. It’s a low money deal which was pretty much expected. When Timonen was interviewed about the possibility of retiring he did say that coming back wouldn’t be about money, it would be about winning the cup.
“Let’s put it this way: if I won the Stanley Cup earlier, I probably wouldn’t be here and talk to you guys. I would say ‘OK, that’s it.’ But I haven’t won it. That’s the only thing that keeps the hopes up. It’s not money. It’s not anything else. It’s the Stanley Cup.” Timonen said on the matter of money.
Last offseason there was a conversation just like this before Timonen decided to stay with the team for a 6 million dollar contract. This year Timonen had a little more time to decide, especially since the departure of Erik Gustafsson for Russia. New general manager Ron Hextall said that he had multiple conversations with Timonen about his possible retirement and told the veteran to take his time to decide.
A lot of people would have preferred Timonen retire because of declining speed and increasing age. If he were to re-sign people imagine his role would be as a third pairing defenseman or anything but the top line and a demotion to the second line penalty kill. Hextall had the same conversations with Timonen.
“We had a wide range of conversations, and we had conversations on different things like roles, and where he sees himself and where he fits,” Hextall said. “We talked everything through where at no point this year is there going to be Kimmo being upset or us being upset or what not.”
So the verteran will determine where he plays, based on how he plays. Timonen has been one of the Flyers best defensemen for years. Of 540 possible games played, Timonen has played 519, he’s got 270 points with 232 assists, 3rd highest of all Flyers defensemen and that’s all the defensemen the Flyers have ever had, not just the ones they’ve got now. For the last 3 years in a row he’s won the Barry Ashbee trophy for team’s best defenseman. Timonen is a popular blue liner and has shown that he has a good understanding of the game that younger players could learn from; so even if Timonen isn’t a top Dman there’s still some value in having him around the younger guys.
Some people are excited to have Timonen back, some aren’t. I’m happy I get to see #44 on the ice for one more season.