Once the free-agency floodgates opened today at noon ET, the Philadelphia Flyers, for the second time in as many weeks, took their place at the top of the headlines. Last week, it was the departure of captain Mike Richards and three-time 30-goal scorer Jeff Carter.
Today, it was the signing of ex-superstar Jaromir Jagr that rocked the hockey world.
Shortly after, it was announced that the Flyers had also signed center Maxime Talbot away from the Pittsburgh Penguins at five-years, $9 million. The team also secured restricted free-agent and newly acquired Jakub Voracek, as well as veteran defenseman Andreas Lilja.
Adding to that, they sent forward Kris Versteeg packing in a trade to the Florida Panthers for a second and third-round pick. This movie seemed to clear cap space to re-sign winger Ville Leino, but he inked a six-year, $27 million deal with the Buffalo Sabres shortly after.
Once again, the Flyers brass have left fans and experts across the country scratching their heads in search of answers. I, for one, am a believer, just as I was with the Carter and Richards deals.
While this Jagr is certainly no longer the Jagr of old, you would think he can still produce at a 50-70 point rate, which is what the Flyers lost in both Carter and Richards. He will not be brought in to be a top-line scorer and will fit in as a second or third-line playmaker.
It is likely he produces on an equal level as Leino, and with the deal he got in Buffalo, it makes more sense to go after Jagr for only a year.
Moving on, Talbot is a nice addition who will give back to the penalty kill what they lost in Richards. Also, his locker-room presence and leadership is something general manager Paul Holmgren admires and is needed on this team.
Versteeg clears up cap room for an additional signing or two, and there are a few possibilities remaining.
Some have speculated about the possible return of veteran winger Simon Gagne, who was dealt to Tampa Bay last season for money reasons. Others have thrown around the idea of a Brad Richards signing, which is looking more possible by the minute.
Richards, the most highly coveted player on the market, was apparently given a strong pitch by the Flyers and reports are the team may be among the front-runners in the sweepstakes. Signing Richards would mean the clearing of a little more cap space, yet that would not have to be done until the end of the off-season, as teams can go 10 percent over the limit until the season begins.
Wayne Simmonds remains an unsigned restricted free agent for the Flyers, but one would assume they would like to use that money on a Richards or Gagne before making any decision on him.
It will be interesting to see how the next few hours work out in Philadelphia. There's still a feeling that another big splash is to be made.
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