Two weeks before one of the most highly anticipated free agency periods in NHL history, the Flyers have already made waves, trading for and signing defenseman Kimmo Timonen and forward Scott Hartnell, formerly of the Predators. Both players were set to become hot commodities in free agency, and Flyers GM Paul Holmgren jumped the market, sending only a first-round pick to Nashville, and immediately signing Timonen and Hartnell to long-term deals today.

Hartnell, who was scheduled to become a free
agent on July 1, signed with Flyers on a 6-year, $25.2 million deal for
a cap hit of $4.2 million per year.

The Flyers also agreed to terms with Timonen on a 6-year, $37.8 million contract for an annual cap hit of $6.3 million.

The pick the Flyers traded away was actually the same one they acquired from the Predators in the deal that sent Peter Forsberg to Nashville for Scottie Upshall and Ryan Parent.

Hartnell is likely to assume a first-line role with the Flyers, and Timonen is now easily the club's best defenseman and a gift from the gods on the power play, which was horrendous last year in a league that increasingly favors special teams.  All in all, a great start to an exciting off-season, and there are bound to be more moves coming. The Inquirer is reporting that the Flyers may make an offer to the Sabres' Thomas Vanek, and also that they may trade their #2 overall pick for an established player, but today's trade news may have impacted that possibility.


>>Flyers Acquire Hartnell and Timonen [TSN]
>>Flyers are keeping options open with #2 pick [Inquirer]