Daniel Briere: Big Contract Brings Big Expectations

Dino MoriAnalyst IFebruary 22, 2008

On Thursday I devoted an article to Buffalo's $50 million man, Thomas Vanek. 

Today, I'll be discussing another member of the $50 milllion club, Daniel Briere, who signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Flyers.

As Vanek spearheads the Sabres’ run at a playoff spot, Briere finds himself in the midst of a free-fall with the Flyers.

Philadelphia hasn't won any of their past nine games, (0-8-1), and they’ve dropped to 10th in the Eastern Conference—two points out of the eighth and final playoff berth.

It's safe to say this is not what Flyer management envisioned when they signed Briere to an eight-year, $52 million dollar contract last summer.  And one must also wonder if leaving the good situation in Buffalo for more money in Philadelphia was really the best decision for Briere.

Only he can answer that.

It's not that the native of Gatineau, Quebec is having a bad season.  He’s compiled 21 goals and 33 assists for 54 points.  That ranks him second in team scoring behind Mike Richards, and 36th overall in league scoring.

But the fact that the 5'10" center lost his fellow French-language linemate Simon Gagne on Thursday hasn’t helped matters.  Gagne is expected to miss the rest of the regular season due to lingering concussion symptoms, having played in just 25 games this year.

If the Flyers don't make the playoffs, Briere will likely endure heat from Flyer faithful.  That would be a shame.  

No one could've foreseen Gagne’s injuries, not to mention those of forwards Joffrey Lupul (high ankle sprain) and Steve Downie (concussion), and defenseman Derian Hatcher (knee).

But a bigger contract came with even bigger expectations for Briere.

For Daniel's sake, the Flyers better make a move before the February 26th trade deadline.  Otherwise, it may be a long summer of doubt for Briere in the City of Brotherly Love.