2012-2013 NHL season got off to a rough start ("start" may not be the best word here), pushing puck drop all the way to January due to labor disputes. And once the season finally started, the Flyers made us wish the lockout never ended.
The boys got off to a pretty terrible start, losing their first three bouts and leaving January with an abysmal 2-5-0 record. Things didn't get much better from there. It felt like every time they put up a solid victory, it was followed by two devastating defeats. Hell, you have to look all the way to the end of March to find three consecutive wins.
As you can imagine (and probably remember), that piss poor play landed the Flyers on the golf course in late April. Considering it just happened and I'm still kind of bitter about it, let's have that be all we say about the season.
Anyway, as with every year, a few of our beloved Flyers had to leave. And thanks to compliance buyouts, a few left way before we ever expected they would.
Daniel Briere - C
What happened to him? Coming off a disappointing season (16 point in 34 games) and having a little too much money left on his contract, the Flyers informed Briere in mid-July that he would be one of the team's compliance buyouts. Shortly thereafter, Briere signed a two-year $8 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens.
How is he doing? Any hopes of Briere finding a second wind in Montreal have pretty much been dashed. He currently has 17 points in 46 games, has had injury problems this season, and is often the topic of discussion in trade rumors. Back when the Habs signed him, fans had their worries, and it seems that they are warranted.
Would you take him back? See above. Listen, Briere was a well-liked Flyer that was more than decent in the playoffs, but he made too much money. Considering he hasn't bounced back from a disappointing season, I just don’t see the point in trying to get him back. About his "replacement," though...
Ilya Bryzgalov - G
What happened to him? Paul Holmgren couldn't resist. Knowing that he made a mistake signing Bryz to a million year contract, the Flyers cashed in their second compliance buyout and sent Mr. Universe packing. What happened next was…weird. Bryzgalov couldn't find employment for quite some time, and then rumors emerged that he signed with the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL. That turned out to just be a tryout contract that allowed him to participate in the team's training camp, but the story perfectly fit the personality of the eccentric goaltender. Eventually, he got himself an NHL deal with Edmonton Oilers, and has seen time with them and their AHL affiliate so far this season.
How is he doing? It's tough to think of a hockey player who has had a more rapid fall from grace than Bryzgalov, going from franchise goaltender to the unemployment line in mere months. In the 19 games he's played for Edmonton this year, he's put up a .907 save percentage. That's slightly below his NHL average, but right in line with what he gave the Flyers. I guess he's doing OK compared to this summer, but he definitely hasn't returned to his pre-Flyers form.
Would you take him back? With that contract for that money? Hell no. Maybe on a one year deal as a backup, but not much more. This is all moot, anyway, because there is no freaking way he'd ever slip on a Flyers sweater again given the way the media treated him.
Ruslan Fedotenko - LW
What happened to him? Even when the Flyers first signed him, it was pretty clear that Fedotenko would probably only be in Philadelphia for a year. Unable to garner any interest in the NHL, Fedotenko signed with HC Donbass of the KHL.
How is he doing? Pretty good, I guess. He currently has 17 points in 44 games. I'm no expert at international hockey stats, but that seems somewhat formidable for a former fourth line NHL player.
Would you take him back? I never thought Fedotenko was all that terrible, and I was kind of excited when the Flyers signed him to his second stint. That being said, it just doesn't seem like the Flyers would be helped at all by his services. So, no thanks.
Kurtis Foster - D
What happened to him? The Flyers realized they didn't need any more mediocre defensemen, and let Foster walk at the end of the season. He currently plays for Zagreb Medvescak in the KHL.
How is he doing? Foster is putting up decent numbers for a defenseman (20, to be exact), which puts him in the top 20 in the KHL. That being said, he couldn't find a contract in the NHL, so...
Would you take him back? Kurtis who?
Simon Gagne - LW
Mike Knuble - RW
What happened to him? We always knew that Knuble was only going to be with the Flyers for a short period of time (if nothing because of his age). He's currently an unrestricted free agent, also known as being in "pre-retirement."
How is he doing? Well, it seems Knuble can't find an NHL job, but doesn't want to give up the dream officially. Not to be harsh or anything, but when you're 41 and no one wants you, it might be time to hang up the skates.
Would you take him back? No, if not because of his age then because of the fact that the Flyers just don't need him. But man, it was nice seeing him and Gagne back in orange and black. It was kind of like a time machine. A crappy time machine that made players older and less productive, but still a time machine.
Andreas Lilja - D
What happened to him? Paul Holmgren must have realized that there were a number of past their prime defensemen in the NHL looking for a job, and let Lilja walk (then promptly signed Hal Gill to fill that aged 7th defenseman void). Lilja now plays for Rögle BK in the Swedish HockeyAllvenskan.
How is he doing? Holy crap he has a job. I mean, it's in a second tier league, but holy crap he has a job.
Would you take him back? Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
So that's it. I hope you enjoyed what some have called this "exercise in masochism." This edition was particularly weird given that three former Flyers were ushered in that season and then were promptly let go. Kind of strange when you think about it.