Saturday, June 19, 2010

Flyers acquire rights to defenseman Hamhuis

The season is barely over and the Flyers are already looking to upgrade their defense, acquiring the rights to free agent defenseman Dan Hamhuis and a conditional 2011 draft pick from the Predators in exchange for defenseman Ryan Parent. The Flyers will now have exclusive rights to sign Hamhuis until July 1st when he becomes an unrestricted free agent that any team can sign.

If the Flyers can sign Hamhuis, it could give them the best Top 5 defensemen in the league. Hamhuis, who was widely regarded as the best all-around defenseman on the free agent market, has played 6 years for the Predators and averaged about 27 points a season while having a plus/minus of +3. His addition would mean that the Flyers have someone they can actually trust in their third defense pairing.

Of course, signing Hamhuis and keeping everyone else in the fold could be tricky. With the Flyers already looking at a tight cap situation and Hamhuis wanting a raise on the 2 million dollars he made last season, someone will have to go from the current Flyer roster. Unfortunately, that someone could be fellow defenseman Braydon Coburn, who is a restricted free agent and looking for a big raise from the 1.3 million he made last year. If that's the case, the Hamhuis acquisition could be a sign that the Flyers don't think they can afford to keep Coburn.

The big picture on this deal is that for the small price of Ryan Parent, a defenseman who didn't figure in the Flyers plans, the Flyers have possibly added a Top 4 defenseman who will stretch the Flyers blue liners into one of the best in the league. Should the Flyers fail to sign Hamhuis, a scenario I would say is unlikely, they still get a draft pick out of the deal from Nashville.

What the Flyers do next to make room for Hamhuis will be very interesting. Do they try to trade one of the forwards, like a Jeff Carter, to make cap room or will they simply let Coburn walk? With the Flyers loaded at center and Carter lacking a no-trade clause, is it finally time for his 5 million dollar salary to be shipped out of town? If they don't shed some major salary from the current roster, bringing in another player that commands a multi-million dollar contract doesn't bode well for the Flyers getting a top goalie in this offseason. Who needs a top goalie, anyway, when you've got the best Top 5 defensemen in the league?


Anonymous said...

Coburn is a RFA and eligible for arbitration. Good chance he remains and they are 5 deep on D for at least this season. Fantastic trade, but even if they added Nick Lidstrom and Ray Bourque from the 90s, we still need better goaltending to win the cup. Let's hope Homer knows that too.

allthingsphilly said...

If Coburn stays, someone else has to go. Salary is going to have to be moved off the team somehow if they want an upgrade in net.