Philadelphia Flyers Players Most Likely to Be Elsewhere in 2014-15
After a 1-7 start, the Philadelphia Flyers certainly didn't look like a playoff team.
But the Orange and Black rebounded from their dreadful start and went on to win 41 of their final 74 regular-season contests en route to a third-place finish in the Metropolitan Division and the team's 37th postseason appearance in franchise history.
But reflection quickly gives way to projection as the Flyers look to position themselves for a sustained playoff run next year.
With that, here's a look at a handful of players currently on Philadelphia's roster who will likely be playing elsewhere next season.
Let's be honest. This trade was a disaster.
GM Paul Holmgren and the Flyers swapped a locker-room leader and established role player in Max Talbot for an enigmatic, undisciplined grinder in Downie who was a healthy scratch as often as he was a vital piece of Philadelphia's attack.
The 26-year-old winger missed 10 of Philly's final 12 regular-season outings with an upper-body injury and didn't dress in any of the club's seven postseason tilts with the New York Rangers. And to make matters worse, Downie's contributions were meager at best when healthy.
He produced just one goal in his final 35 games this season and produced a modest seven points during that stretch. Meanwhile, he racked up 39 penalty minutes and posted a minus-five rating during that time.
An unrestricted free agent this summer, Downie will most assuredly hit the open market as the Flyers simply cut their losses and move on.
This is less of a knock to Emery than it is an admission the Flyers have found their No. 1 netminder in Steve Mason.
Both Emery and Mason entered the season with one-year contracts, but Mason earned the extension following a 33-win regular season and a herculean effort during the playoffs.
On the cusp of free agency, the 31-year-old Emery made just $1.65 million last season and should be in line for enhanced years and dollars following a season in which the nine-year veteran went 9-12 with a 2.96 goals-against average coupled with a .903 save percentage.
The Ontario native also filled in quite respectably when his number was called in the playoffs. With Mason sidelined with a concussion, Emery went 1-2 in Philadelphia's first three playoff outings and flat-out stole Game 2 with a 31-save gem.
With Mason locked up through 2016-17, the Flyers will likely go younger and cheaper when securing his backup next season, leaving Emery to consider other options in free agency.
A depth defenseman last season, Gill dressed in just six regular-season contests and contributed zero points and just two penalty minutes during that time.
Erik Gustafsson was effectively the club's seventh defender, meaning Gill only saw the ice when two of the club's regular blueliners were out of the lineup.
With 110 career postseason tilts on his resume, Gill's number was called in Game 5 when Nicklas Grossmann was sidelined with an ankle injury, but that proved to be a bit of a disaster, as the veteran defender posted a minus-two rating and fumbled an awfully shaky pass from Braydon Coburn, which directly resulted in the game-winning goal.
Philadelphia initially only signed Gill to a professional tryout contract last fall, but the veteran blueliner earned a spot on the roster and was subsequently signed to a one-year, $700,000 pact. But that agreement has run its course, and both the Flyers and the 39-year-old Gill will be looking to move on this summer.
On the surface, Schenn appears to be part of Philly's youthful core building toward a Stanley Cup championship.
But Schenn's future with the club is, in fact, far more complicated.
He's a natural center, and the Flyers appear loaded at that position.
Claude Giroux, Vincent Lecavalier and Sean Couturier are all centers currently on the roster, while youngster Scott Laughton, the club's first-round pick back in 2012, appears poised to join that group next season. Head coach Craig Berube tried moving Lecavalier to the wing to create second-line center minutes for Schenn, but that was a disaster, and in the end, the $22.5 million free-agent prize ended up centering the squad's fourth line.
That can't happen. For better or worse, Lecavalier is signed through 2017-18 at an annual cap hit of $4.5 million. That kind of money can't be on the fourth line.
Meanwhile, Schenn is a restricted free agent this summer and probably the most valuable asset the Flyers could and would move this offseason.
The 22-year-old pivot has yet to fully realize the potential that made him the fifth overall selection in the 2009 NHL entry draft. Still, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native is coming off of career highs in goals (20), assists (21) and points (41).
Schenn will likely be looking for a contract of at least four to five years with an annual cap hit between $4-$4.5 million. That might prove to be too rich for a Flyers squad that's annually at or near the salary cap and still needs to augment its defense in advance of next season.
Timonen is currently facing the dilemma so many NHLers confront in the twilight of their careers.
Retire or make one more run at the Stanley Cup.
The 39-year-old defender inked a one-year, $6 million pact in advance of this season, presumably his last in Philadelphia and the NHL. But the Flyers failed to claim that elusive prize Timonen has chased throughout his 15-year professional career.
And so the door remains slightly open for the five-time All-Star to return.
Timonen has already indicated he'll use the next couple of weeks to ponder his future and expects to inform GM Paul Holmgren of his decision within a month.
A class act throughout his career, Timonen won't drag this out. He'll carefully weigh his alternatives but will make a timely decision, allowing the Flyers plenty of time before the draft and free agency to find alternatives should the five-time Olympian opt for retirement.
And that's the decision Timonen will make.
He's already indicated that if he returns, it will be to Philadelphia. And the only reason for Timonen to return for a grinding 16th NHL campaign would be for a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup. Thus, if Timonen is to return, he'll have to earnestly believe the Flyers are bona fide Cup contenders.
As such, Philly fans have seen the last of Timonen, one of the five best defensemen to ever put on a Flyers jersey.