The Philadelphia Flyers' pursuit of top free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter were necessary, but the fact that the Flyers did not land them at their hefty asking prices was the best thing that could have come of the situation for the Flyers.
Often, general managers and those in the front offices of professional sports organizations refer to some of their work as "due diligence."
NBA execs might check in with the Oklahoma City Thunder to inquire about the availability of Russell Westbrook. He is, in all likelihood, untouchable, but organizations do their due diligence because they always need to have a sense of the market for players. This is the way in which this phrase is most often thrown around in reference to the work of GMs.
For Philadelphia's Paul Holmgren this summer, the phrase is best used to describe his actions in free agency. Both Parise and Suter had gone on record saying that Philadelphia was not a destination on their lists, though not directly. I took the liberty to read between the lines, and I think the outcome explains it as well.
It was reported that the Flyers offered both free agents the largest contracts of any of their suitors. These offers were extended, again, after Suter said he wanted to play in the Western Conference and Parise said he didn't want to play for another team in the Atlantic Division.
Others in the media purported that the Flyers' "interest" in Parise and Suter was false and that it was truly about driving up the players' asking price from others in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.
I will abstain from addressing the suggestion head-on, but it is a valid enough point to consider.
Both hockey players are guys every team would love to have, but not at a cap hit of $6.6 million per season.
If Philadelphia had landed both, the Flyers would have two guys locked up for $13.2 million for excess of a decade. Throw in Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov's contract and you'd have three players accounting for $18.8 million per year for eight years.
In case you were interested, the NHL salary cap is set for $70.2 million next season.
My point: This would have been a financial disaster.
I'm probably not the first to offer you this anecdote, but the worth of Parise and Suter was overvalued due to the lack of quality beyond these two players this offseason. For reference, Matt Carle was the next best defenseman on the market.
Next offseason will be filled with much deeper talent, and it is best to save money for those that are worth their cap hits.
The Flyers "lost out" on those two free agents. But in the end, did they really "lose"?
Parise was a luxury signing. Philadelphia's offense was never a problem last year.
As for Philadelphia's defense, it certainly needed improvement. But the last thing Philadelphia remembers is their play in the playoffs. This is only natural, but if you must think that way, then think of Andrej Meszaros as an offseason signing.
Last summer, people wondered how the Flyers would score after trading Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. We all know how that worked out.
We have our doubts about the defense, and rightfully so. But consider this: Marc-Andre Bourdon, Erik Gustafsson, Brandon Manning and Luke Schenn, players all 23 or younger, will play their first full seasons as Flyers blueliners next year.
You may be pleasantly surprised.
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