Thursday, July 1, 2010

Updated: Flyers 2010 offseason primer

While the Flyers have nearly every significant player under contract for next season, they still face a few important decisions this summer. Here's a quick look at who will be back, who might not be back and what needs the Flyers will have to address this summer.

Under contract for next season:
Forwards: Danny Briere, Mike Richards, Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter, Scott Hartnell, James van Riemsdyk, Ian Laperriere, Claude Giroux, Ville Leino, Riley Cote, Blair Betts, Andreas Nodl

Defensemen: Kimmo Timonen, Chris Pronger, Matt Carle, Oskars Bartulis

Goalies: Michael Leighton, Brian Boucher, Johan Backlund

-The Flyers look pretty set at forward with 10 returning players and two depth wings in Cote and Nodl. Clearly, they have holes on defense and possibly in net.

Restricted Free Agents:
Dan Carcillo, Braydon Coburn, Darroll Powe, Danny Syvret

-Of this group, Coburn is the top priority if the Flyers can afford him. I would also expect Carcillo and Powe to be brought back and Syvret could be traded or re-signed depending on what other defensive options are out there.

Unrestricted Free Agents:
Arron Asham, Ray Emery, Lukas Krajicek, Mika Pyorala, Jared Ross

-With Leighton signed, the only other UFA worth bringing back is Asham.

The Flyers three biggest offseason questions:

1. Who's the goalie?
With Brian Boucher still under contract and both Michael Leighton and Johan Backlund re-signed this offseason, the Flyers have three goalies but no guaranteed starter in the mix. While Leighton did a great job in the playoffs, was his recent re-signing a sign that he will be the starter or was he simply brought back for depth? With all of the rumors about Evgeni Nabokov and Marty Turco, it's hard to believe the Flyers will settle on the same mix of goalies for next season. Of course, getting a reliable starting goalie is going to take either significant money or a significant player off the roster.

2. Can they create cap space?
While it's great that the Flyers have all of their top players locked up with nice contracts, they have been struggling with the salary cap for the last few years. With the team needing to sign Braydon Coburn to a multi-million dollar deal as well as find money for Carcillo, Powe and a few more depth forwards, there won't be much money left over for an upgrade in net or to get better depth defensemen. Perhaps this is the summer the Flyers finally trade a Jeff Carter or a James van Riemsdyk for a big return to help clear up cap room?

3. Who are the 5th and 6th defensemen?
In case you hadn't noticed in the playoffs, Lukas Krajicek, Oskars Bartulis and Ryan Parent weren't cutting it for the Flyers third defensive pairing. With only Bartulis likely to be back next season, the Flyers will be in the market for a few d-men. If they have the cap space, the Flyers would try to get someone like Dan Hamhuis who could play significant minutes and give the Big Four a little more rest. The only way that happens is if they move some salary off the roster.

Keep coming back to ATPS for all the latest offseason Flyers news and rumors. As always, check out the How they were built: Flyers page for the latest salary and acquisition information about every Flyer.

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