Entering a season in which his job could be on the line, Flyers' general manager Paul Holmgren continues to make moves that have die-hard Flyers' fans scratching their heads. A team that appeared to be in the midst of a youth movement has added a 38-year-old-defenseman and apparently a 34-year-old left wing in less than a week.
After signing aging defenseman Hal Gill to a professional tryout on Saturday, 15-year-veteran free agent winger Daniel Cleary will be leaving the Detroit Red Wings to join the Flyers according to a report in The Detroit Free Press. Cleary was offered three years and $2.75 million per season from the Flyers, though they cannot make the deal official until the end of the month because they are already over the salary cap.
Cleary's deal is rumored to also contain a no movement clause, which will allow him to veto any trade from the Flyers if he chooses. These two moves come on the heels of a summer that saw Holmgren's biggest moves include the signing of a 35-year-old defenseman, a 33-year-old center, and a 30-year-old goalie.
Former Islanders defenseman Mark Streit was signed to a four year $21 million contract that had most of the NHL dumbfounded. Most feel the Flyers overpaid mightily for a guy who will be almost 40 years old when the contract expires.
Vincent Lecavalier was brought in to add some veteran leadership upfront as well as to center the Flyers second line and help on special teams. However, many question spending $22.5 million over 5 years for an aging player whose production has been on the decline the last several seasons.
The only addition that seems to make real sense to Flyers fans, both as a needed fit and economically, is that of goaltender Ray Emery. Emery signed with the Flyers for 1 year at $1.65 million to compete with Steve Mason for the Flyers starting goaltender job.
With nine defenseman currently having one way deals with the Flyers, the addition of Hal Gill just seems to make the picture murkier. The orange and black will have to make a move on a handful of these guys before the season begins.
The recent additions seem to make the road to the big club a bit bumpier for younger players such as Jason Akeson, Scott Laughton, Nick Cousins, Tye Mcginn, Petr Straka, Erik Gustafsson, and Oliver Lauridsen.
It certainly will be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next 3 weeks. The Flyers’ immediate future, and perhaps Holmgren’s, depends on it.
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