Let me see if I’ve got this story straight.
- The Flyers have reportedly agreed in principle to a four-year contract worth $21 million with 35-year-old defenseman Mark Streit (more on that later, stay with me on this), a report which general manager Paul Holmgren denies.
- Holmgren’s denial could have something to do with the fact that the Flyers cannot actually sign Streit to said contract until they’ve cleared some payroll because doing so would put them over the salary cap.
- However, the club cannot exercise compliance buyouts until two days after the Stanley Cup Finals end, so they must wait until then to rid themselves of Danny Briere’s $6.5 million cap hit – and if they wish to free up Ilya Bryzgalov’s $5.67 million figure as well while they’re at it, the Flyers need to have a trade in place for another goaltender.
- Once all of those steps are completed, the front office will have the freedom to do important things like sign certain players whose rights they recently traded for, and even extend qualifying offers to their own restricted free agents.
That’s not convoluted at all. Such is life for teams that constantly operate within a couple cents of the salary cap every year, and that cap suddenly dips 9% in one offseason – a problem that Flyers are probably further exacerbating with this Streit deal.
The main gripe here is the length. The money is the money because the reality is teams are often forced to overpay when they go about filling major needs through free agency. Streit will be 39 when his term is finally wrapping up though, and because it’s a 35-plus contract, he counts against the cap no matter what as I am sure we are all well aware.
Even three years was pushing it, but could be justified as meeting halfway – he improves the defense immediately, Kimmo Timonen coming off the books next summer pays for year two, and the third year is thank you pay. Unless Streit holds up well, the farewell tour could get ugly.
Streit has been durable, playing every regular season game in three of the last four seasons. He also has only played seven seasons logged in the NHL, so therefore doesn’t have quite the wear and tear as many players his age. His style of play is not as physical, either, which could also prolong his longevity.
Still, four years. I would have preferred they pay more than $5.25 per and get him for less time if at all possible. Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy describes the entire package as an “incredible overpayment” and “batcrap insane.” There are no doubt many in Philadelphia who would agree.
>> Sources: Flyers agree to four-year deal with Streit [CSN]
>> For now, Flyers limited in offseason options [Courier-Post]
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The Flyers had no problem getting up for a Saturday afternoon puck drop.
They jumped all over the New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo Center, doing all their damage in the first period en route to a 3-1 victory.
Travis Konecny, Valtteri Filppula and Ivan Provorov lit the lamp in the opening frame for a team that has often fought lackluster starts.
That was far from the case on Saturday as the Flyers (22-16-8) have now won six of their last seven games. Over that span, they've outscored the opposition 28-19.
With the victory, they improved to 4-2-4 against the Metropolitan Division. Plenty more to come.
The Devils (24-13-8) entered in second place of the Metro but have had trouble against the orange and black thus far. The Flyers are 2-0-0 against New Jersey with two more games remaining in the regular-season series. It's a bit ironic the Flyers went 1-3-0 against a Devils team last season not nearly as strong, one that finished 28-40-14 with 70 points.
Hockey can be a weird game, huh?
Let's get into some observations:
• Shayne Gostisbehere can be so elusive with the puck, which, from a defenseman, is such a luxury for the Flyers. He exhibited that elusiveness early to jump-start the Flyers' first-period ignition. Gostisbehere took the puck from his own blue line and weaved through some Devils before finding a wide-open Konecny in the circle for a 1-0 lead at 3:29 of the opening frame.
• Speaking of Konecny, the goal was his eighth point in the last 10 games. In his previous 25 games, Konecny had four points. The 20-year-old is showing what he can do when playing in a prominent role: the first line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. Who could have known putting a talented kid with talented players would yield positive results?
• The Flyers really got after it with a much-needed fast start. Prior to then, we hadn't seen many of those through 45 games. The Flyers entered Saturday in a four-way tie for fewest leads after the first period with eight, going 6-0-2 in those contests. They had themselves a healthy 3-0 advantage at first intermission on Saturday behind a superb opening 20 minutes. The Devils had to pull starting goalie Keith Kinkaid, who was shaken up after surrendering the third marker.
• Filppula and Provorov scored the Flyers' other two first-period tallies. Michael Raffl got his stick on a bouncing pass to set up Filppula in front for his 10th of the season, his first double-digit-goal campaign since 2014-15. Meanwhile, Raffl quietly has 15 points in his last 25 games.
"We haven't been starting games how we would like," Filppula said at first intermission. "Today was a good start and it is obviously nice to get rewarded."
Provorov displayed some great resolve in front to finally finish off his goal.
The second-year blueliner also made a superb outlet pass in the second period that covered about three-quarters of the ice. Konecny was the beneficiary but misfired on the shot. Still, Provorov's play had fans ooh-ahhing.
• Raffl is as laid back and jovial of a player you'll see on the Flyers' roster. He's not a fighter, but give him credit for always dropping the gloves whenever the opportunity calls for it. Devils defenseman John Moore called for it this time after Raffl inadvertently tripped Kinkaid. Raffl hung in there following a few early blows.
• The Flyers were bit undisciplined in the second period (two penalties) and missed a few opportunities offensively, but fortunately for them, it wasn't too costly thanks to such a positive first period. The Flyers permitted a power-play goal during the middle stanza and went 0 for 4 on the man advantage for the game. It didn't matter.
• Michal Neuvirth made a second consecutive start and was strong again, making 28 saves on 29 shots. In limited duty, he's 5-5-1 on the season and came in with a 2.35 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. Solid stuff from Neuvirth.
• With Cory Schneider sick and Kinkaid's exit, emergency netminder Ken Appleby was forced into action and held his own. He stopped all 24 shots he faced in his NHL debut.
• It was the second NHL meeting between 2017 top-two picks Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick. Hischier finished with no points for the Devils in 17:04 of ice time, while Patrick played 11:37 and went scoreless.
• Rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim was scratched for the eighth time in the last nine games, while forward Taylor Leier sat for a second straight game in favor of Tyrell Goulbourne.
• Eagles defensive back Corey Graham was in the house. Sounds like Philly is ready for 6:40 p.m. Sunday.
• Things don't get easier for the Flyers, who are right back at it Sunday with a 12:30 p.m. puck drop in Washington D.C. against the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals on NBC.