NHL Free Agency: Who Will the Flyers Keep or Let Go?
This offseason, the Philadelphia Flyers have eight players who will be entering free agency and some important decisions to make.
NHL free agency is important for all franchises, because it gives teams a chance to acquire players regardless of draft position or trade assets.
While not every decision will be hard or have a big impact, some of the decisions that need to be made will have a huge impact on the team.
Most fans might not even know who all of the Flyers free agents will be. With the season winding down, we should take a look at all of the Flyers free agents and what the Flyers should do with each player.
Blair Betts: UFA
Blair Betts will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Betts has spent the entire season on the injured list. After being claimed on waivers by the Montreal Canadiens on October, 5, 2011, Betts failed the physical and was returned to the Flyers.
At 32 years old, the blue collar grinder might have played his last NHL game. A career of blocking shots and doing the dirty work for a team has taken its toll on Betts.
The Flyers most likely won’t resign Betts, and it is a possibility that he'll retire at the end of the season.
Matt Carle: UFA
Matt Carle has been a bargain for the Flyers.
An extremely stable defenseman, who is a plus-minus dream and does the small things right, the Flyers would be smart to resign Carle.
But, his level of play is worthy of a bigger contract and the Flyers might not be able to pay that. During free agency, teams always pay players the money they deserve, and often teams will greatly overpay for a free agent.
Carle has been great in Philadelphia, but it’s likely that his time has come to an end.
Nicklas Grossmann: RFA
Nicklas Grossmann will be a restricted free agent, so the options for Grossmann will be limited. The Flyers gave up several draft picks to acquire Grossmann at the trade deadline, so the team does have an investment in Grossmann beyond his contract.
Grossmann is a big, strong, and young defenseman who has been a great addition to the defense. The Flyers should lock up Grossmann for a few years because he will help steady the defense for the future.
Jaromir Jagr: UFA
Jaromir Jagr signed his contract with the Flyers to make his return to the NHL and it has gone better than anyone could have expected. Jagr turned 40 during the season, so he is clearly at the end of his career but he has had an impact on the team.
Jagr is clearly not getting any younger.
Seeing the impact Jagr has had on the team, and how happy he looks on the ice, it’s impossible for fans not to want one more year from the aging star.
Pavel Kubina: UFA
Pavel Kubina was another defenseman who was picked up at the trade deadline for draft picks who brings several things to the team.
A big guy who replaces some of the size lost with Pronger, Kubina's experience can help Timonen lead the defense.
Kubina is in his mid-30s, so a long term deal would be a bad idea, but signing Kubina for a couple of years would be a great move.
Since the Flyers already have several draft picks invested in Kubina, not resigning him would make those picks rental fees.
Ian Laperriere: UFA
Ian Laperriere has not played for the Flyers for well over a year.
Laperriere was as good as a blue collar grinder type player gets, sidelined several times during his time with the Flyers by blocked shots to the face.
While pucks to the face have left Laperriere injured and dealing with concussions, he is still involved with the Flyers.
It's a sure thing that Laperriere is done playing, but it is possible that he might sign on to do some analysis work for Comcast Sports Net and work on the Flyers TV broadcast.
Tom Sestito: RFA
Tom Sestito got his chance to play for the Flyers when the team was dealing with injuries.
Sestito had almost no impact on the score sheet, but he chose to help the team in the physical aspect of the game.
Sestito is a checker who is always willing to fight for his team and do the dirty work. While he might not be ready to be a Flyer full time, the Flyers should bring Sestito back and make a decision on where he plays in training camp, but he is worth holding onto.
Jakub Voracek: RFA
Jakub Voracek came to the Flyers in a trade that sent Jeff Carter to the Blue Jackets.
Voracek is a young player who had big potential at the beginning of the season. During the course of the season, Voracek has been great for the team and is on his way to being a top level player.
The Flyers should sign Voracek to a multi-year deal, because he will be a great weapon for the future. Voracek will be a great piece to build the second line around, or could be a great piece on the first line.