Multiple sources are reporting that Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Randy Jones will be put on waivers by the team in the next 24 hours. Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly, Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News, and Anthony SanFillippo of the Delaware County Times have all reported the news out of Voorhees this afternoon, although the exact time when Jones could be released varies depending on which report you read. Some say it could go down tonight, while some say it could happen tomorrow.
The consensus is clear though -- Jones will not be a Flyer by the end of the weekend. He was on the ice at practice today, though, and afterward, he said he wasn't nervous about his seemingly bleak future with the orange and black.
"It hasn't happened, so why think about it?" Jones said. "Until it happens, that's the only reaction I can give you." Of course, this really isn't his fault. Jones has felt the scorn of Flyers fans ever since signing a two-year contract extension in July 2008, but every single one of us would take $2.5 or $3 million if it were offered to us, regardless of whether we're worth that much or not.
Jones suffered a hip injury that limited him to just 47 games last season, but in his time on the ice, he never showed any promise of being worth his $2.75 million cap hit. Here's how our own Geoff Detweiler summarized Jones in our Grading the Flyers series this past offseason:
This year should be his last in auniform. He is getting paid far too much for the type of player he is, and the team has far cheaper options in the minor leagues - , , and to a lesser extent Marc-Andre Bourdon and - that should be ready to step up next year. With the team needing to resign and after this year, Jones' $2.75 million will go a long way to off-setting that cost.
In this training camp, however, the Flyers have clearly noticed a stronger urgency to clear that cap space sooner. With the emergence of James van Riemsdyk, Mika Pyorala, and Blair Betts, the team needs to find a way to squeeze these guys onto the roster. With Danny Svyret showing some promise in camp and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen getting better, the organization is hoping that the hole created by Jones' departure will be filled satisfactorily.
Therefore Jones, in an ironic twist of fate, becomes a victim of his own contract. In waiving the sixth year pro, the Flyers gain, as Geoff mentioned, $2.75 million in under the salary cap. Tollefsen and Svyret combined will impact the salary cap less than that. Expect one of those guys to become Flyers, while any combination of Betts, Pyorala, and van Riemsdyk should also be added to the roster. The added flexibility given by waiving Jones really does solve all the Flyers current salary cap issues.
If Jones is claimed off of waivers, he will become property of the other team, the Flyers will get nothing for him, and his cap hit will go to the other team. If he clears waivers, the Flyers will assign him to Adirondack, where he will likely get the "Denis Gauthier treatment". Gauthier was placed on waivers -- ironically it was so the Flyers could call up Jones -- by Philadelphia prior to the 2007-08 season and when he cleared, he was assigned to the Phantoms. He played 78 games there before finally being traded by to Los Angeles the following summer.
If called back up, Gauthier would have been subject to re-entry waivers and if claimed, the Flyers would've been responsible for a portion of his cap hit and waiving him in the first place would've been a moot point. It's the same situation with Jones. If he clears waivers, don't expect the Flyers to call him back up this season. He'll either be traded or he'll spend the entire season in upstate New York.
There is a chance a team could claim him off of waivers, though. It's not as if Jones has zero upside. He has had success -- albeit limited -- in the past and could help out a team that is thin on defense. Also, a team could take a chance and hope that his poor play is just an effect of his hip injury. With his contract up after this season, Jones isn't a huge risk for a team that has enough cap space to accommodate him.