Vincent Lecavalier is the newest member of the Philadelphia Flyers. The (arguably) biggest free-agent landed in Philadelphia yesterday evening, signing a five year deal worth 22.5 million dollars. Adding Vinny gives the Flyers one of the most deadly offensive cores in the league now. Beyond Vinny, the Flyers still have the young core of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Matt Read, Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier, along with veterans Scott Hartnell and Max Talbot. Throw in tough guys Zac Rinaldo and Jay Rosehill, along with young prospects Tye McGinn, Jake Akeson and Eric Wellwood, the Flyers are a pretty strong team up front going forward.
But although the Flyers are loaded up front, the team still needs to address the defense and goal tending. The Lecavalier deal put the Flyers over the cap by just 300k. That money can be saved easily, such as sending down Marc-Andre Bourdon and/or Bruno Gervais. The problem is that the Flyers still need to sign a goaltender, fix the defense and re-sign pending free agents such as Simon Gagne, Erik Gustafsson and Oliver Lauridsen. The Flyers need to address these needs one thing at a time.
First off we have goal tending. This may be the easiest problem to solve by going the free agent route. The Flyers need to avoid paying huge money for an old aged goal tender such as Tim Thomas, Evgeni Nabokov and Nikolai Khabibulin. Some intriguing names are veterans Ray Emery, Jose Theodore and Mathieu Garon. All are veteran goal tenders with experience who will not be looking for big bucks. Emery would seem to be the ideal choice (don't forget he once was our starter), but there is a very good chance he doesn't hit the open market and re-signs with the Blackhawks. If he stays in Chicago, Theo or Garon would be Holmgren's safest bets in goal.
The Flyers could also explore the trade route to find a goaltender. The most intriguing name that has come up has been Jaroslav Halak. he only has one year left on a contract paying him 3.75 million per season. As long as the asking price is not too high, Holmgren should explore this. Another name is Devan Dubnyk. Holmgren has been talking with the Oilers recently, and there is a real good chance a deal gets made.
Next comes the defense. The Flyers currently have Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, Luke Schenn, Mark Streit and Bruno Gervais locked up for next year. That makes six defenders, not including the young guys in the system. The Flyers should look to ship out two of those six by the name of Coburn and Meszaros. They are both coming off poor seasons, and both have failed to lead the defense. Meszaros should be shipped out for the sole purpose of creating cap space. Coburn on the other hand could bring in a lot, especially if the Flyers made him part of a package. Holmgren should explore what he could get with Couturier and Coburn from St. Louis. Maybe a deal such as Couts, Coburn, and Stolarz could land the Flyers Halak and the rights to Alex Pietrangelo.
In a perfect world, this is how my off-season would go:
*Ship out Meszaros for late round pick (clears 4 million in cap space)
*trade Couts, Coburn and whatever other assets you need to give up and land Pietrangelo and Halak (Couts and Coburn clears 5.875 million. Halak adds 3.75 million, plus new Pietrangelo deal adds approximately 7 million)
*Demote Akeson and Bourdon to the minors (clears 1,512,500 million)
*Re-sign Gagne to 2 million a season if he's willing to take it.
*Bury Gervais and Gus in the minors until season begins and Pronger's cap hit goes on IR.
Although this is in a perfect world, the math does work out. Do all the adding and subtracting and you will see that the math does work out. Let me know what you think