This week in the Flyers Four-Check:
The Flyers signed an important restricted free agent…just not the one they had hoped for. Paul Holmgren has one contract hit, one contract miss and one important extension on the horizon.
And the Atlantic Division just got that much more lethal.
The Four-Check dives into the biggest stories this week in Flyers hockey.
The Nashville Predators had until 11:30 on Wednesday night to make their call on whether or not to match Philadelphia’s 14-year, $110 million contract for superstar defenseman Shea Weber. But it didn’t take a full week for GM David Poile to decide that his captain was worth bringing back to the Music City, no matter the price tag.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Predators officially decided to match Philly’s offer sheet for Weber, possibly putting their own franchise in a financial pit and definitely putting a pit in the stomachs of Flyers’ fans everywhere.
The Pronger replacement, the stifling slapshot, the bashing of heads into boards as time winds down…the dream has died for the city of Philadelphia.
Nashville will owe Weber $27 million in salary and bonuses in the first calendar year of the contract, and they will have to pay every penny as Weber is ineligible to be traded for a full year. Of course, as long as Nashville thinks they can make that first payment, they would be insane to throw away 13 more years with one of the best young defensemen in the NHL.
Not all restricted free agent news was bad news for the Flyers this week. With the consideration of Weber’s potential $7.86 million cap hit now a thing of the past, the Flyers had more than enough room to bring back one of their key acquisitions from the half-famous, half-infamous summer trades of 2011.
Jakub Voracek, who came to Philly from Columbus last June and contributed 49 regular season points and 10 postseason points, had been in RFA limbo until Thursday.
Voracek is now officially back in Orange and Black, the proud owner of a four-year deal that will earn him $17 million, or as Shea Weber calls it, “this month’s allowance.”
Current speculation, like the unmatchable Twitter commentary of The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi, puts Voracek on the right of Claude Giroux. Scott Hartnell would play left wing on the line, rounding out a trio of gingers who could become the most potent scorers Philly has seen since the Legion of Doom.
Nicknames for the line are already taking shape, ranging from the less-inspired “Ginger Line” to the cutesy “Gingerbread Men” and the homage to the SEPTA train that got the fans to the stadium, “The Orange Line.”
The Four-Check is going with The Orange Line.
Unless of course, Bobby Ryan comes in and ruins the whole thing.
Free agency has been unkind to Paul Holmgren this summer.
Matt Carle and Jaromir Jagr skipped town for greener pastures (or to the layperson, more money).
Zach Parise and Ryan Suter took less money to play in front of Wild fans instead of extremely wild fans.
Shea Weber signed an offer he couldn’t refuse, but unfortunately, despite Holmgren’s best efforts, the Predators couldn’t refuse it either.
But if there is one man Holmgren is determined to keep in Philly, it is apparently the man behind the bench.
Multiple sources, including CSNPhilly’s Sarah Baicker, have reported that Holmgren is looking to extend head coach Peter Laviolette’s contract, and the deal could be done within a week.
Lavy has made the playoffs in each of his three years as Philadelphia’s head coach, including the shortened stint that began after the firing of John Stevens in December of 2009.
The disciplinarian appears to have molded a locker room of competitors instead of partiers, and few Flyers fans would argue that Laviolette is not the man for the job.
More terrible decision: Nash trade or haircut?
In news that has nothing to do with the Flyers’ franchise and everything to do with how much harder it will be to take the division crown from the Rangers, No. 61 is going to start taking the 3 to 34th and 7th.
Translation: Rick Nash is a Ranger.
The news wouldn’t be so bad for Flyers fans if Columbus GM Scott Howson had made New York squirm to get Nash. With guys like Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, Michael Del Zotto and Ryan McDonagh in the mix, you would have thought the Jackets would get at least one of them in exchange for their franchise leader in goals, assists, points and tolerance for mediocre management.
Instead, the Jackets now have Brandon Dubinsky’s whopping 10 goals, Artem Anisimov’s childish tactics, a defenseman with 18 games of experience and the Rangers’ first-round draft pick. Which, since the Rangers now have Rick Nash, could easily be the last pick in the first round.
Oh and on top of that, the Rangers actually gained cap space, according to Bleacher Report’s Tom Urtz Jr.
So good going Columbus. You couldn’t just screw yourselves over, you had to take the Flyers’ chances with you. Consider us even for the Carter trade.