The Washington Capitals gave defenseman Brooks Orpik a five year, $27.5 million contract on July 1. They also gave Matt Niskanen, another ex-Pittsburgh defenseman, a seven year, $40.25 million deal. The Florida Panthers gave Dave Bolland the same deal that Orpik got from Washington.
These are all very bad contracts and their teams will regret them. The Flyers have handed out these sorts of deals like candy under Paul Holmgren. But under Ron Hextall, the Flyers were quiet yesterday, and that's partly by design. Hextall seems to understand just how stupid these big deals are on July 1.
To be honest with you, July 1 is one of those days where we all can get carried away. I look on my board here and look at our team, and we've got a good team. Sometimes this day, you make some of the poorest decisions you make, and quite honestly we didn't have to think it through that hard.
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.
Music to the ear, Hexy.
That's not to say that the Flyers are completely disinterested in signing anybody in the free agency period, but it does feel different than in previous years, when the primary focus seemed to be making the big splash on July 1. Going after Ryan Suter and Zach Parise in 2012 is the perfect example here.
Under Holmgren, the Flyers would have at least sniffed around Niskanen yesterday -- and they would've worried about the salary cap later. Hextall, by all accounts, didn't even show interest. It's a nice change of pace, even if it made for a boring July 1.
That's not to say the Flyers are doing nothing or are done just yet, though. They're just not being stupid.
"We've got a couple guys we're still looking at if we get them in the right range -- one guy specifically -- so, there's still things you can do," Hextall said.