Previously, I wrote what I think the Philadelphia Flyers should do this offseason. Now I'll take a look at what they should do while taking the salary cap into play.
Whether you believe me or not, the Philadelphia Flyers can indeed make a few splashes this summer. Their troubles with the salary cap may make you think otherwise, however that doesn't mean that the Flyers can not do anything this offseason.
In the 2008-2009 season, the Flyers were forced to make several moves to stay under the salary cap, some moves proved to be more costly than others—for example, trading Scottie Upshall to Phoenix.
We should expect the Flyers to be right at or just below the league's salary cap during next season, but with a different look.
There are some questions that need to be answered this offseason—including goaltending and defense.
What seems to be everyone's favorite problem is the goaltending. Right now, the Flyers are without a goalie under contract. Both Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki are unrestricted free agents come July 1.
Biron has been the guy since they acquired him at the trade deadline in 2007 and he has done a very good job. He has been inconsistent and has allowed his fair share of soft goals, but look at what he has done; he has been good enough.
In the Flyers' 2007-2008 deep playoff run, Biron won them the first two rounds. He got the team to the Eastern Conference Finals, only to lose to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This past season, the Flyers exited after the first round thanks to the hands of the Penguins, as the Pens kicked Philly out of the playoffs for two straight seasons.
Throughout the season, all the media and fans talked about was the goaltending. Biron looked to be the guy at times and other times he looked like the Zamboni driver could score on him.
You could not turn on the television without hearing questions about the goalies. It was everywhere and it was quite annoying.
There was a stretch during the season which the only flaw of the team was the goaltending. Everyone thought they were Stanley Cup contenders if they acquired a No. 1 goalie, whether via trade or Biron/Niittymaki stepping up.
Many people don't believe that Biron can win a Stanley Cup. He's not an exceptional goaltender, he's average to above-average, but he is good enough to win one if he had a great defensive group in front of him.
Don't get me wrong here, the Flyers' defense is in good shape. With Kimmo Timonen being the anchor on the blue line, Philadelphia has Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn, Ryan Parent, and Luca Sbisa under contract. Those five players have a lot of potential.
We already have seen what Coburn can do, and when he decides to play physical, I believe he can be one of the best defensemen in the game. Except he has a soft side.
How dominant can Coburn be as a shut-down defenseman? The Flyers were playing the New York Rangers in Philadelphia and Coburn had double digit hits on Sean Avery alone. He was a hitting machine.
But like the team itself, Coburn is inconsistent with his physical play. He possesses skills that can make him a top two defenseman. He has blazing speed, good stick work, size, and the offensive ability to play the powerplay.
The one thing he lacks is consistent physical play.
If the Flyers could install a "Derian Hatcher" mode in Coburn, they get that physical defensemen the team needs.
There are some unproven commodities on the defense, such as Carle and Parent.
In the past, Carle has proven that he can be a good offensive defensemen with decent defensive skills and who's willing to block shots.
My opinion of Carle is that he's a good defensemen and he is a guy that needs to be here. Maybe my opinion is biased towards the fact that I like Carle a lot. I think he moves the puck well and I like how he plays.
However, a lot of Flyers' fans are not as big of fans as I am. He has close to a $3.5 million cap hit next season and that factors into their opinions. If Carle's cap hit was just a million less, the opinion of him would be different in some cases.
Carle does a lot of things right, but he also does things that plague the Flyers—especially their defense. He turns the puck over.
Parent is still unproven because of his lack of experience, however he has gained a lot of experience in the last season and a half and its about time he flourishes.
He has played in the last two playoffs series and he played last year after he healed from shoulder surgery and was able to fit under the cap.
In the Flyers' only win in Pittsburgh during the regular season, Parent was one of the biggest keys to victory. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were held without a single shot much to the thanks of Parent.
He's a stay-at-home defenseman that has some offensive skills. He's good to stay.
This is where the free agency comes into play with the Flyers.
The biggest name on the market is Jay Bouwmeester. It's evident that the Flyers love this guy and want him badly. The past few years, they have tried to get him from the Florida Panthers, and they were right there at the trade deadline this past March.
Now Bouwmeester will be able to sign with any team he wants to—many believe the Edmontom Oilers or another Canadian team.
Bouwmeester is a stud when it comes to playing hockey. Some people love him, others like him a lot, there are a few that don't like him much, but I fall in the category of love. I think he is a bona fide stud.
He is the offensive defensemen the Flyers need and he isn't just an offensive defensemen. Bouwmeester scored 15 goals for the Panthers and had 27 assists in the 2008 season. He averaged 27 minutes a night.
The addition of Jay-Bo would be great for the Flyers. They get that 30-minute-a-night D-man and they get that offensive defenseman that will move the puck and limit turnovers.
The biggest thing that may keep Bouwmeester from signing with the Flyers is the money. Let's assume he signed for a $5 to 6 million cap hit; he is obtainable.
Another glaring need that the Flyers have to address is a physical presence in front of the net and on the blue line. I addressed earlier that Coburn could be the answer if he gets just a tiny bid tougher.
Just like Bouwmeester solves the 30-minute-a-night defenseman that is an exceptional offensive defenseman and is a great defensive defensemen as well, the Flyers can get tougher and more physical by adding another free agent blue liner. Montreal Canadiens' defenseman Mike Komisarek hits the market come July 1 rolls around.
In 2007-08, Komisarek was a monster for the Canadiens in terms of hitting. He was second in the league with 266 hits. Last season, he had only 191.
Komisarek was hampered with hand and shoulder injuries throughout last season, but when healthy, he is what the Flyers need. His style of play is the exactly what they need.
There are ways that the Flyers can sign Komisarek. Some people think he will demand $4 million per year, however I don't think he'll get that necessarily.
Since he was injured so often in 2008, some teams may shy away from a long-term contract. Enter the Flyers here. You can sign him in the $2 to 3 million cap hit range and back-load the contract.
Another name that is intriguing is Anaheim's defenseman, Francois Beauchemin.
So let's review this: Bouwmeester signs for $6 million and Komisarek signs for $2.5 million, they can manage to fit that under the cap while still being able to getting Biron resigned and a few other moves.
Is it possible to acquire both Bouwmeester AND Komisarek?
The answer to that question is that it indeed is possible. The Flyers can do it if they really wanted to. Of course they would have to make other moves to clear up some additional space to give them more wiggle room than last year.
But it is possible.
The Flyers have some work to do this offseason with the entire team, however their biggest need is on the blue line and goaltending.