2012 NHL Free Agency: Predictions on Roster Moves for the Philadelphia Flyers
The Philadelphia Flyer's thrilling victory against cross-state rival Pittsburgh left the Flyers reeling, however, ultimately it would not translate to a victory in the Eastern Conference semifinals series against division rivals, and thus we are left to analyze moves the team must address this offseason.
With three-time Stanley Cup champion and 21-year veteran goalie Martin Brodeur, the New Jersey Devils effectively shutdown the playoffs leading scorer in Claude Giroux and the potent Flyers offense in six games.
With captain Chris Pronger's status for next season still up in the air, according to general manger Paul Holmgren, free agency marks another opportunity for the Flyers to step back and continue to assess the future.
Let us examine the most notable players on the Flyers' roster up for free agency and attempt to narrow down who is still going to be wearing the orange and white come next season.
Jakub Voráček: RFA
The Flyers drastically shook up their roster during the 2011 offseason when they shopped not one but two franchise players in captain Mike Richards to Los Angeles and sniper Jeff Carter to Columbus.
Voráček was the man received from the Blue Jackets in the Carter deal, and with that comes a responsibility of picking up some of the offensive slack for the seventh overall pick in the 2007 NHL entry draft.
At just 22 years of age, he remains one of the Flyers' most prized young talents, and his best years are yet to come as he continues to produce despite his new environment.
As a restricted free agent, the Flyers must offer him a qualifying contract and lock him up with a contract for multiple seasons as he has the potential and skills to morph into a player that can fill the scoring void left with the Carter departure
Pavel Kubina: UFA
Kubina was the other man the Flyers dealt for near the trading deadline in a desperate attempt to provide big bodies that would be able to assist a defense that was anchored by the savvy, yet rather nimble and aging veteran Kimmo Timoean.
What the Flyers do not need to bring back is another past-their-prime defenseman holding back the electrifying offense.
If some salary dumping could be done, here is one guy that has potential to be a man on the way out in Philly.
And lets just face facts with this one, how many more years left of grinding and throwing his body around does he have left?
Don't get me wrong, if they locked Kubina into a one- or two-year deal, that would not necessary hurt the team. But, there are better options waiting in the free-agent defensemen pool this summer for the Flyers to throw some money around if it is available.
If Holmgren could somehow work some managing magic and lure one of the gems off the free-agent class in All-Star Nashville Predator defenseman Shea Weber, the Flyers' defense would really be positively impacted in ways Chris Pronger, in his prime, could have exhibited.
Jaromir Jagr: UFA
Jagr made his triumphant return to the NHL and turned some heads in the process when he decided to sign a one-year deal with Philadelphia. Ironically enough he would play clear across the state where he made his name playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins for many years alongside Hall of Famer and current Penguins co-owner, Mario Lemieux.
While his return at the age of 40 was quite successful when taking into account how many years of hockey Jaromir has put into his body, but his late season fizzle in production perhaps cost the Flyers in the long run.
There is no doubt that the man can still flat out play and his in-game tutoring and mentoring as the line mate for the man who is undoubtedly in control in Giroux itself is worthy of another year...that is if Jagr is open to it.
Sergei Bobrovsky: RFA (2013 Season)
If the Flyers want to make some moves to achieve perfect harmony with their roster, salary dumping may play an important part in managing what types of moves the team can make, after the Flyers locked up their franchise netminder of the future in 30-year-old Russian, Ilya Bryzgalov, with a nine-year, $51 million deal.
With the acquisition of Bryz, backup and fellow Russian, 23-year-old Sergei Bobrovsky was unable to follow up a solid rookie season and is currently set to make $1.75 million last year off his current deal.
Save an epic collapse by Bryzgalov, Bobrovsky will not get the chance to shine in net as the Flyers have invested too much money to have Bryzgalov take a backseat role.
Although he has been quite streaky this season, at times he has shown flashes of dominance and has filled the shutdown goaltender role the team brought him in to fulfill.