As Flyers fans, we’re used to a series of small heart attacks during the free agency as the Flyers make some huge move in the hopes of shocking the NHL. That’s what Paul Holmgren did anyway. With the new general manager Ron Hextall, the Flyers free agency period has been all but non-existent. Part of the reason for the lack of moves from the Flyers is the lack of cap space the Flyers had going into July 1st. Even trading Scott Hartnell didn’t clear up enough cap space to put them under the limit.
At the time of Hartnell’s exit from Philly, the Flyers were still $236,429 over the cap limit. July 1st while other NHL teams were making ridiculous deals that they’ll regret eventually, the Flyers were just observing. July 1st isn’t one of Hextall’s favorite days anyway, because he understands the over excitement that can cause team to make dumb moves.
“This is the day where a lot of times you do something and you have buyer’s remorse. But it’s hard. You have a lot of holes to fill. Back in LA a few years ago, we were in that position where we had a lot of holes to fill, and it’s hard to fill all your holes in a cap world in free agency. Again, it’s one of those days where sometimes you look back and you did something good — I think there’s some good buys in the market — but there’s some other ones that are inflated.”
That’s not to say the Flyers didn’t try and try and try again to unload a big dumb contract. Multiple times we’ve heard rumors about a Vinny Lecavalier trade and multiple times we’ve heard that the trade just wasn’t going to happen. Even up to today we’re still hearing rumors about a trade talks with the predators to get rid of Lecavalier’s large salary, which of course is a big problem in moving him.
But the Flyers didn’t sit back and do nothing, Hextall did make a few minor moves.
The first thing the Flyers did was sign goalie Rob Zepp, a replacement for Cal Heeter. A lot of people jumped to conclusions thinking Zepp would be backing up Mason until it was pointed out that Zepp is a 32 year old who has never played an NHL game, and unfortunately probably never will. He’ll be splitting time with the Flyers 2012 2nd round pick Anthony Stolarz. Zepp played with Giroux and Briere during the 2012-13 lockout in Berlin.
On Monday, January 30th the Flyers extended qualifying offers to Jason Akeson, Tye McGinn, Brandon Manning and Erik Gustafsson. Gustafsson did sign with the KHL in the offseason, but the Flyers will retain his rights if and when he returns to the NHL. The Flyers didn’t give offers to defenseman Marc Andre Bourdon and Goalie Cal Heeter, prompting the Zepp signing.
Then the Flyers resigned Ray Emery, this time officially as a backup goalie for Mason, to a 1 year $1 million deal. It’s a good contract for a good backup, Emery even took a pay cut which helps the cap space issue. And the first day of the free agency ended without any Flyers fireworks.
Day two wasn’t any more exciting.
Their first move was to trade Tye McGinn to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 3rd round pick. Then they signed defenseman Nick Schultz for defensive depth. The veteran is most likely going to fill Gustafsson’s spot in the press box, but at $1.25 million he isn’t a giant waste of money. Schultz isn’t the defensive savior the Flyers need, but we don’t have the money for that.
The Flyers also signed winger Andrew Gordon to a 1 year 2 way contract and will be used to bolster the Phantoms roster. Finally the Flyers signed Jason Akeson to a 1 year 2 way contract. Akeson was impressive last season in the playoff series against the Rangers scoring 2 goals and 3 assists, being one of three Flyers forwards that actually pushed offensive play; after costing the Flyers Game 1 with a bad penalty. Akeson has been the Phantoms top scorer for the last 3 seasons. and should probably be the Flyers first call up this season, especially since McGinn isn’t here anymore.
Hextall’s big focus so far seems to be making the Phantoms a bit of a contention team since there’s no cap space to improve the Flyers by much if at all. Right now the Flyers are $3,061,429 over the cap limit.
In other news, Claude Giroux got a little to excited on Canada day and went and got him self put in jail for a night. Giroux was reported to have “repeatedly grabbed a male officer’s butt” after getting a little too tipsy. Now repsoses to Giroux’s jail time have ranged from (Penguins fan) “He’s a disgusting piece of shit sexual assulter.” to constant laughter and numerous butt grabing jokes from flyers fans.
Hope your Fourth of July is as Eventful as Claude Giroux’s.