So far this Flyers offseason has been much like the 2009 - 2010 regular season. Filled with ups and downs and rumors galore. If one think is clear it is the Flyers are as usual going to be aggressive with the UFA market trying to get their targets signed ASAP even before they hit the open market on July 1st. It seemed like they succeeded with Plan A sure up the defense with an elite 3rd pairing anchor. Homer sent Ryan Parent back to Nashville for the rights of highly prized free-agent to be Dan Hamhuis from Nashville. In one swift stroke the Flyers would have assembled one the best defensive corps this league has ever seen. However for one or reason or another after a week of negotiations Mr. Hamhuis refused to sign a deal and his rights were dealt to Pittsburgh at the Draft. The proud Flyers franchise rarely doesn't get their man. Philadelphia is a big market with a rabid fan-base and the Flyers organization has a reputation around the league as being on of the best franchises to play for with an ownership that treats their players like family.
No Hamhuis now what ?
In comes Plan B, get an elite goaltender. This might have originally been Plan A all along with the Flyers rumored to be in Halak sweepstakes, but that also fell through. Now the only option available for a true, no doubts about it, number 1 guy is Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks. Doug Wilson the San Jose GM released a statement last week that San Jose was not going to pursue resigning their All-Star goalie and move in a different direction this summer. After moving Hamhuis at the Draft reports were released that Flyers had made a verbal agreement with San Jose that would allow them to negotiate exclusively with Nabokov to try to get a deal done before July 1st.
Will it happen I am not sure but the question I pose to our community is which plan of action do you prefer?
Lets assume both guys are willing to sign for the same cap hit and have the ideal number of years attached to their contracts.
Dan Hamhuis 4 years at 4 million.
Evgeni Nabokov 2 years with 4 million dollar cap hit.
I don't want to discuss the hypotheticals with the contract details. Nor do I want to discuss any more this offseason trading Carter or anyone else for a young goalie or defensmen. That is not going to happen time to move on I just want to discuss which these two player Hamhuis and Nabokov and which one makes this team better. We are going to assume not more trades will happen just UFA and RFA signings.
So with the makeup of this roster right now which signing do you prefer?
The way I see it... After the jump.
Signing either Nabokov or Hamhuis at 4 million leaves us with slightly less than 7 million to work with to full out the rest of the roster. Re-signing Coburn is probably the next priority then comes the last three pieces of the puzzle a 3rd and 4th line winger and a starting goalie or a 5h Defensemen depending on which Plan succeeded.
Given 1 - 2 million to find that last piece I much rather see the Flyers sign Nabokov then Hamhuis.
The remaining goaltending options in that price range, Plan C, doesn't exactly blow me away. Ellis, Leighton, Biron, Nitty etc etc.. more guys who are career backups. And spending 4 million on your 5th D-Man is really a lot of money invested on the blueline. However based on what happened last year getting a big time 5th D-Man with a high price tag is probably worth it for this team.
However the market for 1-2 million dollar defensemen in much better than the market for 1-2 million dollar goalies. There are serviceable options that are out there for the signing that would be huge upgrades over Kraijeck/Parent. Are those 1-2 million dollar goalies a huge upgrade over Leighton? I am not sure they might be upgrades but none of those options are going to be the young goalie of the future and the difference between Leightion and any of those guys is rather minor. Certainly not as big as an upgrade as signing for example Kurtis Foster, Mark Eaton or Jay McKee to replace Parent / Kraijeck. Hopefully this time a deal can get done..