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Leighton Re-signed; What’s Going to Happen at Midnight?!

Today Michael Leighton was re-signed on the eve of NHL free agency. He received a two-year deal, totaling $3.1 million dollars. His cap hit will minimal, but it’s definitely a raise over his abysmal salary last year. Many Flyers fans are shaking their heads in disgust, yet some are happy with the news. That being said, Holmgren is not done. They still have plans to sign another defenseman or goaltender between midnight tonight and tomorrow night. I expect them to further another offer to Nabokov and Hamhuis just in case they change their mind, but I also expect them to go further. Anton Volchenkov has been a name floating around for the past week or so, and I would not be surprised if the Flyers could get him. He’d be a great 3rd pairing guy and a penalty killer if Lavvy felt the need to. His price would not be too high, either. Goalies on the list include the likes of former Flyguys Biron and Nitty, and other names such as Mason and Turco. I for one do not really have an idea of what exactly is going to happen. I’d love to have Nabokov for a season or two with Leighton as the back-up and Boosh being waived or as the third goalie. I don’t expect that, so I’d be happy with another goalie fighting with Leighton for that number one spot… Nitty or Mason please. NOT TURCO.

Tonight you will probably see Aaron Asham walk and not be re-signed, which is sad because I really like Asham. However, he’s going to want a raise and deservedly so, and the Flyers do not have enough wiggle room since they’re already trying to sign Coburn, Carcillo
and Powe to their RFA tenders. Krajicek is without a doubt gone, I should not even have to write that.

So tomorrow will be the big day, but I expect to hear some happenings early this morning after midnight. Last year we signed Lappy and Boosh and Emery around this time, but I’m not sure if we will be signing that many this year.

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Draft Weekend Recap

So a lot has changed since I last posted. We were all excited about the idea of Dan Hamhuis being signed soon, and yet he has left. We traded him to Pittsburgh for a seventh round pick because of his worries about not getting enough playing time. Yes, you read that right. With a team that boasts Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen as their top two defensemen, I guess Hamhuis thought he would only be a third pairing guy. What happens if he outplays Carle or Coburn in training camp? What happens if one goes down to injury? Hamhuis is basically being selfish and not reveling in the fact that he could play for a competitive team in a competitive city and do just that; compete, for a starting job. I don’t believe he will sign with Pittsburgh either, so we will probably see him test the market on July 1st.

There were also plenty of Evgeni Nabokov rumors circling the web, but they have slowed down a lot since it was clear that Nabokov would want more money than the Flyers could give at this point. This leaves a lot of room for possible deals to be made, but it closes the window as free-agency starts in a few days and the Flyers do not have many bargaining chips as they had only had picks in rounds 3-7 this past weekend.

Speaking of the draft, the Flyers drafted some young talent to add to their pool and hopefully develop into future NHL players. You can view that here. I don’t know anything about these guys, but that really is how hockey drafts work. Gotta hope some of those forwards pan out to add to our forward depth which is starting to get thinner in our system as guys get older.

Johnathan Matsumoto was also traded this weekend for a 7th round pick, which makes sense as he was a guy looking for an opportunity at the NHL level but couldn’t with the likes of Briere, Richards, and Carter on the team.

Will anything else happen between now and July 1st? Probably nothing big. I expect Coburn to be re-signed at the very least, but I won’t put signing a free agent goalie or defenseman out of the question come FA day.

 
 

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One Piece Added: Dan Hamhuis to the Defensive Corps

This afternoon the Flyers reported that they acquired the rights to Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis. Hamhuis should not be a name that is new to you if you followed trade rumors at the trade deadline this season. He was one of the main players the Flyers were looking for along with Florida goalie Thomas Vokoun. However, Nashville, like back in March, will not be able to re-sign Hamhuis when he hits free-agency July 1st, so the Flyers gave them their former first-round pick Ryan Parent for the rights to Hamhuis and a conditional 2011 NHL Draft Pick.

This is great news for Flyers fans, who I think will find Hamhuis a lot more welcoming than Ryan Parent’s play the past two seasons. Our top-four defenseman are already some of the better in the league between Pronger, Timonen, Carle, and Coburn. The question is now, for how much do we sign this Hamhuis guy and where will he fit? He can throw his body around, and is reliable in pretty much any situation. I haven’t watched a lot of him obviously, but from what I’ve seen and heard there is nothing but good things about this guy. The best part? He’s 27 and is still coming into his own. Sounds like a great move by Homer and Co.

Braydon Coburn is the only defenseman out of our top four that I can see going if we were to dump salary in order to sign Hamhuis. Maybe get a team to pay his tender since he’s a RFA. However, I believe Coburn could be a strong 3rd pairing guy and make our defensive depth great, so maybe a forward would be better. You have to think we still might make moves for a goalie soon, and I’m expecting a blockbuster trade before or at the NHL draft, depending on how free agency goes. Jeff Carter or Hartnell would be obvious trades to make to clear cap space and get something good in return, but Hartnell would need to waive his NTC and a lot of teams will be asking for VanRiemsdyk or Giroux. There’s no way we part with Giroux, but it wouldn’t be so shocking if JVR was sent packing for something big, would it?

We’ll have more soon.

 
 

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Vokoun and Hamhuis

The two top stories and possibly only options for the Flyers right now in this trade frenzy that is going to go on over the next 24 hours deal with Nashville Predators defenseman Dan Hamhuis and Florida Panthers goaltender Thomas Vokoun. I think the decision will ultimately come down to which is the cheaper option. Last year, the Panthers organization was breaking Holmgren’s back the whole time when they were asking an insanely high price for Jay Bouwmeester. This year, they might deal their goaltender Thomas Vokoun to the Flyers, but they need him to waive his NTC and will probably have to pay a price to get him. Dan Hamhuis from the Predators is a more likely option in my opinion, because they’d probably like to get their former prospect Ryan Parent back. Hamhuis is on the block since they received Grebeshkov in a trade. Who would you rather have?

Other trade items we hold along with Ryan Parent include the youngster Ville Leino who has yet to show up in the Flyers line-up. Oskars Bartulis is also a player who I can see being shipped off in a package deal. Besides that, the only other option I can see them giving up is Coburn or if they get Hartnell to waive his NTC and go back to Nashville. I doubt Mika Pyorala holds much trade value to most teams, but I could be wrong. The Kings are also a team who keeps showing up in the Flyers talks, yet it’s all speculation. Eklund is right a good amount of the time, but when you speculate everything; you have to be right some of the time.

Cote and Syvret cleared waivers, and Parent was activated today. No word on whether he will start, because apparently Bartulis has a minor injury.

There will be more information hopefully by tonight on these trade rumors. Vokoun is down to Chicago and us for now, and apparently Nashville turned down our offer for Hamhuis already since we did not offer enough. We don’t have that much to spare, so keep in mind that we may not make a trade this year. Flyers on VS tonight at 7:30 at Tampa. Krajicek will be paired with Timonen as usual against his former club. Should be a good game in their last meeting this season, let’s go for the season sweep.

 

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