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Flyers Splashes in FA Signings, Gagne Trade Rumors, Zherdev Signing?

07 Jul

Since last week when I wrote about possible free-agent scenarios, I did not expect what the Flyers have right now. The Flyers acquired young defenseman Andrej Meszaros from the Lightning for a 2nd round pick in 2012, and signed free agent veteran defenseman Sean O’Donnell who just finished a season with the Los Angeles Kings. They also signed veteran gritty forward Jody Shelley to a three-year deal, while being able to re-sign Coburn.

So that was the first day of free agency, and I loved the fact that we got O’Donnell and Meszaros. From this standpoint, they will be playing on the third pairing and are a HUGE upgrade over the likes of Parent/Krajicek/Bartulis. Even if Coburn drops down to that pair and Meszaros moves up, it just made our defense one of the best in the league. The only problem with this signing is Meszaros’ $4 million cap hit per year which may be a tough pill to swallow for some, considering that is more than both Coburn and Carle’s. Then there was the Shelley signing…

I don’t hate Jody Shelley, I don’t think he’s a terrible player and I think he has an upside considering he’s spent his career as an enforcer. The head scratcher here to me is, why sign this guy for 3 years at $1.1 million a year? Aaron Asham is a more serviceable energy 3rd or 4th line guy that would have probably played for $750,000 or $1 million a year, and he has a scoring touch. Dan Carcillo is the same way, yet we sign this guy who has scored all of 16 goals and 49 points in over 500 NHL games? This led to more problems anyway, with Dan Carcillo filing for salary arbitration. It is likely that Carbomb and his agent saw the Shelley signing and figured that he was worth more due to this youth and skill, and I don’t blame him honestly. Carcillo and Powe have yet to be re-signed, with them having no room to do so unless a trade or salary dump is made. That’s when Gagne rumors started…

Apparently Simon Gagne was asked to waive his no-trade clause, and he agreed last week. Then the rumors were running rampant on the internet that he would land in Los Angeles, shedding his $5.25 million cap hit and having enough room to sign Carcillo and Powe, and still have room to sign a veteran goalie like Turco or have enough emergency space to make room for injuries and such. It makes sense to me, considering Gags in on the last year of his contract in a year we will have to re-sign Giroux and such. But at the same time, he is our only proven scoring winger. JVR is young, and Leino has not shown he can be a consistent regular season contributor. That being said, it is no fault to him because he has not been giving a fair shot here, but he definitely will this year. Scott Hartnell had a horrid regular season but had a great last three rounds of the playoffs… So I don’t know how you replace Gagne in the line-up simply for his offensive power, and then you realize he’s probably the best two-way forward on the team (along with Richie and Giroux).

I also look at this a little biased because Simon has been my favorite player since he was drafted in 1999, and I think most Flyers fans would be sad to see him go considering he’s the longest tenured Philly athlete and is very deserving of having his name on the Cup. Of course, trade talks have continued but nothing as happened because the whole league is in a stand still over where Kovalchuk will sign. Everyone wants in on the Kovie sweepstakes again, and no one will move until they see where he goes. Speaking of Russia, Nabokov signed with the KHL so he won’t be in the NHL this year, and one man is thinking of returning. Apparently former NHL player Nikolai Zherdev has been in talks with the Flyers to come back to the NHL. I would love to have him on the team in a 3rd line role, as long as he checks his attitude and learns to play in Lavvy’s system. He would be a cheap option at this point, but I hope Homer’s plans are not for him to be a low-risk replacement for Gagne. If we could keep Gags, we would be STACKED. Richards, Carter, Gags, Briere, Hartnell, and Leino will be the top two lines. Then Giroux plays with JVR and Zherdev, leaving our 4th line to be Shelley with Lappy and Betts. Unless Powe and Carcillo are involved here… someone’s gotta be moved. Which is why I’m saying to trade Carter and get some picks. There’s $5 million to sign Powe and Turco as a back-up.

I’m not sure what we’re going to see transpire the next week or so, but I hope they decide soon. Hoping like the fan I am that Gags stays.

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