Friday, July 1, 2011

Flyers open up free agency by addressing needs

Busy day in the NHL today.

You’ll recall in my last blog post I outlined three of the Philadelphia Flyers’ organizational needs. Let’s take a look at how they addressed them today.

NEED: Top-line right wing

The Flyers announced today they signed perennial NHL All-Star Jaromir Jagr to a one-year contract. Jagr, who has more than 600 NHL goals to his credit, last played in North America during the 2007-08 season as a member of the New York Rangers. Jagr, 39, spent the past three seasons in Russia with the Kontinental Hockey League’s Omsk Avangard.

NEED: Veteran center

The Flyers signed checking-line center Maxime Talbot to a five-year contract. Talbot, formerly of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is a solid checking-line center that will either play on Philadelphia’s third or fourth line.

NEED: A seventh defenseman.

Philadelphia signed journeyman blueliner Andreas Lilja to round out its top seven – Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Andrej Meszaros, Matt Carle, Lilja, Braydon Coburn and Oskars Bartulis.

***

Meanwhile, the Flyers agreed to terms with restricted free agent Jakub Voracek, who was acquired in the deal that sent Jeff Carter to Columbus. They also shipped winger Kris Versteeg to the Florida Panthers for draft picks.

Elsewhere, ex-Flyer Ville Leino signed a long-term deal with Buffalo.

***

So, what does this mean?

Well, let’s take a look at the handy-dandy depth chart.

LEFT WING
CENTER
RIGHT WING
DEFENSE
GOALIE

HARTNELL
BRIERE
JAGR
PRONGER
BRYZGALOV
1
van RIEMSDYK
GIROUX
VORACEK
TIMONEN
BOBROVSKY
2
SHELLEY
TALBOT
SIMMONDS
MESZAROS
LEIGHTON
3
WELLWOOD
SCHENN
NODL
CARLE
BACKLUND
4
RINALDO
BETTS
LEGEIN
LILJA
HOVINEN
5
SESTITO
HOLMSTROM
M. TESTUWIDE
COBURN

6
ROWE
PITHER
AKESON
BARTULIS

7
BROWN
READ
HARPER
WALKER

8
ZOLNIERCZYK
KALINSKI
LAPERRIERE
GUSTAFSSON

9



BOURDON

10



MARSHALL

11



JANCEVSKI

12



MANNING

13



LAURIDSEN

14



HOSTETTER

15



LEHTIVUORI

16






SIGNED
RFA Q
UNKNOWN
LONG TERM IR




I’d say with Talbot signed, there’s a decent chance top prospect Brayden Schenn starts the year in Adirondack.

Schenn will be given every opportunity to earn his spot in Philadelphia during training camp, but the team now has four NHL-ready centers in Briere, Giroux, Talbot and Betts. No need to rush the kid.

Depending on whether or not Stefan Legein is signed (which you can read more about in my previous blog post), Philadelphia has 45 or 46 players under contract.

For argument’s sake, let’s say he is signed and the Flyers have 46 contracts.

The team also has outstanding qualifying offers to Wayne Simmonds and Jon Kalinski. If both of those players sign, Philly’s contract total is up to 48. The NHL limit is 50.

Barring a trade, you’re looking at maybe one more signing from Philadelphia. And with Versteeg gone, it could very well be an NHL-ready left wing.

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