Flyers Offseason Moves (written July 2010)

The Philadelphia Flyers had a miraculous Stanley Cup playoff run this past season, but the true test for the administration was not how they ended up finishing, rather it was this offseason in which the team was sure to be busy with both re-signing current players while trying to bolster their lineup. After the team watched the Chicago Blackhawks hoist the Cup on their own ice the biggest question ahead of them was what to do about the goalie situation. After talks with Evgeni Nabokov, the unrestricted free agent goalie formerly of San Jose, fizzled, the team looked inward and decided to resign Michael Leighton, the goalie that took them to the Finals after being picked up on waivers mid-season, to a two-year deal worth $3.1 million. A move that didn’t make many headlines and was not the “hot” choice in the eyes of many fans.
Once the goalie situation was solved team officials looked to strengthen and youthen a back-line whose age showed in the long playoff run. In a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning the team was able to add a significant defensive body in Andrej Meszaros, 24, in exchange for a second round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. In addition they were able to resign Braydon Coburn, 25, who is highly regarded as the best skater on the blue-line. The most intriguing acquisition of the summer for the Flyers was signing Nikolai Zherdev, a former top pick in NHL draft who had been playing in the KHL after leaving the NHL in 2009. Zherdev appeared in all 82 games and compiled 23 goals and 35 assists for the New York Rangers in 2008-2009, his last season in the NHL.
In one of the most shocking moves the Flyers brass decided to sign Jody Shelley, a player who boasts a long and woefully unremarkable history as an enforcer in the NHL, to a relatively expensive three-year deal worth $1.1 million per season. The fact that this deal sounds too good to be true has left a lot of Flyers faithful confused as to the direction of the team in the future. The signing of Shelley left many almost certain that Dan Carcillo, known as ‘Car-Bomb’ to the fans, and Darroll Powe, the two remaining free restricted free agents not yet signed at the time, were done in Philadelphia.
Carcillo, who was acquired two years ago in a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes, quickly became a fan favorite for his aggressive playing style and extracurricular activity after the whistle. However, he took a while to catch on with the Steven’s led coaching staff. Once Peter Laviolette took the helm Carcillo seemed to thrive and was viewed as an integral part of the teams turn-a-round. In a surprise move earlier this week the Flyers were able to avoid arbitration with the right-winger and sign him to a one-year deal worth $1.075 million. The move now puts the Flyers 23-man roster over the league salary cap by $2.5 million. The signing almost guarantees that more moves are yet to come for the Flyers, with the biggest name on the trading block being that of Simon Gagne; a player who is viewed as a top six forward on any team, but carries a substantial cap hit. For a cap strapped team like the Flyers, Gagne might be the answer to their financial woes.

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