While the hockey world is still running rapid with signings and players still to be had, the Flyers finished their searches early—for today, anyway.
They signed free agent right wing Ian Laperriere and goaltender Brian Boucher to multi-year contracts, according to club general manager Paul Holmgren. Boucher’s deal is worth $1.8 million over the next two years, while Laperriere inked a three-year deal worth $3.5 million.
“I’m thrilled,” Boucher said. “I had a nice year in San Jose, but I’m happy to be back in Philly.”
“Obviously Brian’s experience with not only our team but with other teams, he is a good guy to have on our team,” said Holmgren of Boucher. “He is capable. He has played in a lot of NHL games and he also has playoff experience. Brian is a guy who really wanted to come back here.”
This gives the Flyers a legitimate backup to the newly signed starter Ray Emery. Boucher is very comfortable with his new position on his former team.
“I’m happy to be back in Philly,” said Boucher. “It’s going to be great. I’m grateful to the Flyers, to Paul Holmgren, and I love Philadelphia.
"Playing there and the excitement, there’s nothing like playoff hockey in Philadelphia and hopefully we have the team and pieces to come out of the Eastern Conference and challenge for the Stanley Cup.”
Boucher posted a 12-6-3 record with a 2.18 goals-against average, .917 save percentage, and two shutouts in 22 appearances with the San Jose Sharks in 2008-09.
Laperriere, 35, spent the last four seasons with the Colorado Avalanche. Over parts of 16 seasons in the NHL, the defensive-minded forward has recorded 118 goals and 198 assists for 316 points and 1,794 penalty minutes in 1,001 career regular season games.
“(Laperriere) is a role player that can take a little bit of the burden off some of our other guys in other roles like penalty killing and face-offs,” said Holmgren. “He is a warrior-type player and very durable. He will provide us with lots of energy and is one of those types of character players that everybody is after."
GM Paul Holmgren said today that Laperriere brings additional defensive-minded grit to the Flyers—which should fit in well with Chris Pronger. The Flyers are looking for a new attitude headed into next season.
It starts with these two.
“When Philly called, I got very excited,” said Laperriere after joining the club. “They show their fans and they show their team that they want to win, and they’ll do anything to win. We have a lot of guys on this team that haven’t won yet, and they want to prove to the hockey world that they’re winners.”
The Flyers had around $4.4 million before they signed Laperriere and Boucher. Those moves were the best they could with the money they had. Holmgren stated he wants to add another offensive-type player to the team.
In order for that to formulate, they must find away to get rid of more salary.
“We’d like to add one more offensive-type player if we could,” Holmgren said. “Like I said, we lost 52 goals.”
Knuble is now gone, they lost their front-of-the-net presence, and thus their power play pressure will have to shift toward the blue line, anchored by Pronger and Timonen. GM Paul Holmgren agrees.
“I think the addition of Chris Pronger changes your power play scheme because you have a guy who can hammer it from the backhand—a guy who we never had before, in my opinion,” Holmgren said.
“We will have a different look on our power play. We’re going to miss Mike, there’s no question,” Holmgren said.
I don’t think Ruslan Fedontenko is out of the question yet. However, they’re going to have to move fast and decide who to move in order to afford it.