No Brotherly Love for Salary Cap

When it comes to the Flyers we often hear Ed Snider complaining or Bobby Clarke ripping Eric Lindros or Jeremy Roenick speaking out and making a fool out of himself. Often overlooked is the real underlying problems that the Flyers currently have. The team has not won a cup in 30 years and is going to have an uphill battle in adjusting to the new economic world of the NHL.

From what we have seen and heard the new salary cap will probably be in between $35 million to $40 million. Right now the Flyers have committed approximately $33 million to 13 players. And this is after the 24% rollback in salaries has been factored in. Under contract are:

Forwards: Tony Amonte, Jeremy Roenick, John Leclair, Mike Knuble, Turner Stevenson, Todd Fedoruk, Michal Handzus, Sami Kapanen, Keith Primeau, Donald Brashear

Defence: Eric Desjardins, Joni Pitkanen, Danny Markov

With almost zero money left to spend, it makes you wonder how the Flyers will be able to keep their restricted free agents which include:

Forwards: Simon Gagne, Radovan Somik, Branko Radivojevic

Defence: Kim Johnsson

Goal: Robert Esche

And how will they replace the likes of Alexei Zhamnov, Vlad Malakhov, Sean Burke, Marcus Ragnarsson, Mark Recchi who either will leave via free agency, are retired, or have already left the team.

And lets not forget, the Flyers two top prospects in Jeff Carter and Mike Richards will need contracts as well and probably will demand the rookie maximum.

So it is safe to say that Bobby Clarke and the Flyers management will have a big headache on their hands trying to righten the Flyers payroll situation.

In all likelihood players such as Amonte, Roenick, Leclair will get the two-thirds buyout deal in order for Philly to clear cap room. Getting rid of those 3 players alone will bring the Flyer back to around 17 million committed to 10 players. It is also possible that a guy like Brashear and maybe even Desjardins will get cut to further bring down the cap numbers.

It would appear that this would solve the Flyers cap woes however resigning their RFAs and their rookies will eat up most of the remaining room. the two youngsters Carter and Richards are the hottest prospects around not named Sidney Crosby. Certainly they will be getting the maximum rookie deal. Another rookie, Antero Nittimaki has the inside track on the backup goalie job and youngster Patrick Sharp will likely be filling in the 4th line centre role. There is also a strong possibility that RJ Umberger will find a spot as a role player and Denis Seidenberg will be among the Flyer’s top 6 on defence. This is what Philly will need to do, integrate their youngsters now due to their cap concerns.

But signing their restricted free agents will be tough. Esche has establish himself as a number 1 goalie and will look to upgrade from his backup wages to starter like money. Johnsson is the team’s best offensive defenceman and runs their powerplay. he could be one of those players who goes to Europe for more money. Gagne is a consistent 20 goal man and only 25 with his better years ahead so Philly may look to resign him with a long term deal.

Taking care of their own business will probably take them out of the running for many of the big name free agents. It will cost them plenty to keep their own guys. And they still need to address many of their needs that they had even before this cap stuff was put in place.

They need playmakers. Zhamnov and Recchi are gone and they were the team’s best. They do not have a playmaking centre as Primeau and Handzus are excellent checkers who can provide some support scoring and Carter is young and more of a sniper. The team could also use a big time scorer. Carter may develop into that but it would be awfully hard to ask that of him in year 1. they will need to find a way to replace Zhamnov, Recchi, and possibly Amonte, Roenick and Leclair assuming they are bought out. That’s 5 players capable of scoring 30 plus goals. That is a tall task for a team with little money to spend.

They also need to address their shortcomings on defence. Ragnarsson retired and with him goes their best defensive defenceman. Malakhov is a big blow too as he was a steady contributor at both ends. they both also made their respective partners in Johnsson and Markov better players. The Flyers will want to look at getting a big rugged blueliner who can clear the front of the net. And really, the teams needs to get deeper. They cannot afford to have Sami Kapanen again play defence.

Pitkanen and Seidenberg will play big roles but the Flyers will still need to upgrade.

As we can see, the Flyers are going to have as busy an off-season as anyone. It would be foolish to under-estimate Bobby Clarke. He is a good GM and is crafty enough to find a way to get around the salary cap. It would be wrong to discount the chances of a couple of big name players ending up in Philadelphia. There are plenty of top players available and perhaps more to come via teams buying out the big contract players. The Flyers are not far off from contention and a couple of top notch players may be what puts Philly finally over the top. It will be interesting to watch how things unfold for the Flyers as they will have much work to do to get themselves in order.

23 Responses to No Brotherly Love for Salary Cap

  1. Raccer says:

    The Wings are in the same situation. They have 12 players signed for the 2005-06 season at a cost of $31.5 million after the 24 percent salary rollback.

    Like Philly, they still have to sign some good young players including Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Mathieu Dandenault. They’ll have to buy out some big name like forwards Darren McCarty, Ray Whitney and defenseman Derian Hatcher.

  2. werdo says:

    Please, don’t already start talking about ways “to get around the salary cap” as though this whole year was for nothing.

  3. nordiques100 says:

    there is no way to get around the cap. all teams can only pay up to a certain amount. what i meant was that clarke is a smart guy and will make the cap work in philly and put out a good team despite the spending limitations. i wont put it past him to accomplish that.

    there will be no loopholes this time around.

  4. CechmanekForVezina says:

    I think you’re really underestimating Primeau and Handzus. I mean sure they’re not going to completely replace the playmaking ability of Roenick or Zhamnov, but when crunch time comes they make things happen. Prims carried that whole team last year in the playoffs, and can lead them there again.

  5. Flyers_01 says:

    You are worrying to much. First off, yes it really, really sucks that the Flyers haven’t won in a cup in a long time but that can’t be a consideration when building this years roster. A big part of that though is the goalies not making the big save to win the big games in the playoffs and i’m pretty happy to have Esche and Nittymaki now, I think they will bring stability to the goaltending position of the Flyers. In my opinion Nittymaki is the better of the two but time will tell.

    Also, Clarke has said 6-8 phantoms will be up with the big club this year. That does include Richards and Carter but takes care of the majority of the roster. With the rookie cap being rumored to be $1 mill or less and with Roenick, LeClair, Amonte, Brashear and possibly DesJardins likely to be bought out there should be a few million left for a few free agents. This is easier for the Flyers than some other teams because most of the Flyers higher priced stars haven’t performed well recently plus a good core of upcoming youth, how would you like to be the Avalanche who in reality will most likely have their team broken up with a bare farm system?

    Remember that with the salary cap .. the 7-10 mill/yr free agent becomes the 4 mill/yr free agent. The 5 mill a year free agent becomes the 2 mill a year free agent. Keep in mind also that the lower spending teams will raise their payroll to the cap max meaning that there will be a lot of quality FAs, especially older ones who may end up playing for a fraction of what they once made if they want to play. My point being is not only will the Flyers not be giving out large raises to current Flyers but there will be quality free agents available on the cheap that can help the team.

    I agree that it’s going to be a very busy offseason for the Flyers, for the Lightning, for the Wings, for everyone. Not a single team will be unaffected and not a single roster will resemble the ones that finished the previous season.

    The bottom line for me is that every year Bobby Clarke assembles a team that can compete for the cup. I believe this year will be no different. I also believe that hockey will be more exciting than it has been for a number of years with alot more end to end action with alot of the older “name” players who have been living on their name sitting on the sidelines.

  6. Flyers_01 says:

    One typo ..

    Keep in mind also that the lower spending teams will raise their payroll to the cap max

    should read ..

    Keep in mind also that the lower spending teams will NOT raise their payroll to the cap max

  7. Bishop7979 says:

    I’m pretty much possitive that its dennis seidenberg who is under contract and Eric Desjardins who will be an UFA when the season starts back up again.

  8. Bishop7979 says:

    I agree as far as underestimating Handzus. I think with an increased role and some strong players around him he could very well step up his game a contribute on a top line or two.

  9. nordiques100 says:

    not underestimating them. but they are not true top line centres. they are more complimentary offensive guys much like how guys like lapointe, draper among others supported the big stars in detroit.

    they supported guys like JR, Zhamnov, Recchi well and that is why they had success. if the flyers are going to rely on them to be the top scorers, it may pose some problems.

    teams focused their checking on the JRs amonte’s leclairs which really opened up things for handzus and primeau. it may be asking much to expect primeau to be a point per game player since he hasnt been for a while.

    they are very good two way players but not big time offensive players.

  10. nordiques100 says:

    not winning should be a consideration because winning is the only thing that matters. the flyers are close and certainly will try to field a championship type team.

    even if salaries are going to be lower, esche, johnsson and gagne will get raises. no way will esche be making well under 1 million this time around. gagne will need to be qualified at his 2 plus million he got the last season and johnsson will need likely a raise as well to entice him to stay in north america.

    if the flyers buyout desjardins they will now need to not only resign johnsson but replace 3 regulars who were significant producers. they are not deep back there and so money will need to be spent to address those concerns.

    and it would be wrong to think the flyers will be better without JR, amonte, leclair, zhamnov, recchi. that is 5 70 plus point getters and 5 30 goal men. that is a ton of offence. it would be hard to assume carter and richards will be 70 plus point scorers in their rookie years. even kovalchuk and nash didnt get that far. those 5 guys were top line players. it will not at all be easy to replace them. they may or may not have been as productive as in the past but based on reputation they took plenty of attention away from the opponents opening up the game for their other players like primeau and handzus. much easier to score when you are playing against jason woolley and the third defense pair all game long than against lidstrom and hatcher shift after shift.

    that is the advantage handzus and primeau and other had with those top line guys around. it will be impossible to replace all of them and assume that the top end guys that are free will easily sign and slide in to replace who has left.

    i dont know what it is but any slight critical analysis of the flyers always seems to be conpletely off the wall for flyer fans. any whiff of criticism and you guys get so defensive. i did mention at the end that clarke is a great GM and may work his magic and build a top flyers squad next season. all i said in a nutshell was if roenick, leclair, desjardins, amonte, zhamnov, recchi, burke, brashear, malakhov, ragnarsson all leave, it will take plenty of work to find replacements for them as they are very good players. ask anyone else and they would probably agree. i think my analysis is pretty fair. no team can lose 8 all stars and expect to be as good if not better.

  11. nordiques100 says:

    the most recent hockey news listed the players under contract and had desjardins still with philly and not free.

    seidenberg should still be under his two way contract with philly. if he isnt he could go to europe but highly unlikely. he will be in the flyers top 6. but that still leaves philly to find 2 or 3 more blueliners to replace ragnarsson, malakhov and desjardins. not an easy task to say the least.

  12. Flyers_01 says:

    I’m going to disagree. Building for a 1 year cup run is a recipe for disaster. You build your core for the long haul. The Flyers won’t sacrifice their future for a 1 year window at the cup, nor would I want them to.

    We won’t know about the raises until Clarke actually resigns someone but I still bet it’s going to be for less than you think. My personal opinion and I could be very wrong is that Esche won’t make much more than 1 million.

    d it would be wrong to think the flyers will be better without JR, amonte, leclair, zhamnov, recchi. that is 5 70 plus point getters and 5 30 goal men.”

    Hmm .. so they all had 70+ points and 30+ goals last year. Let’s see if that stacks up. The 5 players mentioned accounted for 99 goals and 264 points last year. That works out to 20 goals and 53 points on average with Recchi being the only 1 of the 5 who made 70 points, the rest weren’t even close. Yes, I do think that production can be replaced. Add to that that all the players mentioned are now 2 years older which also includes more likely to breakdown makes them a bad bet in a salary cap world.

    And Desjardins? He had all of 12 points last year, you can’t tell me that at this point in his career he shouldn’t be replaced with someone else? Especially at his age and salary? Alot of these over the hill vets, will either need to take paycuts or look at another team because with a salary cap teams like the Fyers won’t be able to carry players who can’t perform to their salary.

    Look, I’m not bashing your view, I’m just disagreeing with how you value some of the players.The only players in that list that I really value on the ice for 2005-2006 are Recchi, Zhamnov, and Malakhov and only then at reduced prices. Most of them are past their prime and were past their prime when hockey was last played 2 years ago. One of the worst things with hockey is that teams hold on to aging stars to long, with the salary cap, that won’t happen as often. Look at the Eagles, they replaced 2 All-pro CBs with 2 young players they had groomed and made the right decision. That’s what the NHL will have to do now, become better judges of young talent and not let older players hang around past their expiration date.

    Most of those players were all-stars at one point in their careers but for most of them, that point was not last season.

    Are the flyers going to have alot of turnover? Yes, but I believe the Flyers have prepared well and will only be looking at the FA market for complimentary players, not core players. If i’m the only one who thinks the Flyers won’t be looking to get alot of players from FA, then so be it. We’ll know if i’m right or wrong in the next month but for now i’m happy with the way the Flyers are headed.

    It’s just one person’s opinion.

  13. mikster says:

    Handzus is a fine two way player, but he isn’t much of a 2nd line player for 82 games.

    Primeau is a year older, and he turned out to be a third line checking forward now who scores at the right time. He is still valuably, but you cannot depend on his offense for 82 games.

    They are valuable, but not in the kind of role that Recchi and Zhamnov provide.

  14. mikster says:

    True, the Flyers main weakness was goaltending all these years. And, Clarke is very responsible for that. He had chances to get Richter and Cujo and blew it. He had a chance to get Belfour.

    I like Esche and i still remember my comment when he traded for him. I said that Esche is nothing more than a nice backup goalie, but he proved me wrong. However, he proved me correct when i said that he was better than Cechmanek.

    Nittymaki should turn out fine, but you cannot say he is better than Esche until he starts at least 25 games.

    Clarke says a lot of things that he does, yet does not do. Six AHL players who are inexperienced is counter productive to winning a Cp, and to certainly conted for one. I highly doubt it will be that many. I’d say three or four.

    The Flyers must get a scorer on their team, and they will not have an easy time to catch one as the “outbidding” wars are pretty much over.

    I do believe Clarke can put up a contending team, but it will be tougher for him to do so. I wouldn’t be surprsed if he will get Glen Murray, not the Wings or Leafs. I think Murray is a potential Flyer candidate.

  15. Flyers_01 says:

    Yea, you are right that Clarke often says one thing and does another. We’ll find out soon hopefully as the deal is expected to be done this week.

  16. nonhl2005 says:

    Nords, I think your the one getting defensive, I don’t see where anyone was was getting on you about your views. I liked what you had to say, didn’t agree with all of it but liked some of the points. I personally think most of this is mute until we see what’s announced, but all-in-all nice write-up, thanks.

    “In Bobby we trust”

  17. nordiques100 says:

    i’m pretty high on zhamnov and recchi is all. both are excellent players and have been close to point per game guys even with the low scoring nhl and their age. it will be hard to replace. i’m just saying it wont be at all easy to replace any of those players the flyers will choose to get rid of. their contributions shouldnt be discredited even if the last season wasnt so good for some of them.

    but knowing clarkie, he can get the job done. the lindros trade is clear evidence of that. as well as the esche/handzus for boucher deal.

  18. nonhl2005 says:

    Ok, another day wasted trying to figure this all out but from the looks of it it’s not as bad as some make it out. Here is a breakdown of salaries for ‘The Lost Season’ 04/05 to the projected 05/06. Granted replacing Zhamnov and LeClair with Richards and Carter may not be a great idea at first but I think it works out in the end. This leaves the Flyers with a few mil still to play with under the 34 mil cap. That’s having a novice fudge the numbers, imagine what someone like Clarkie will be able to do, anyone have Scott Neidermayer’s number handy?

    04/05 season The Lost Season 05/06 Player

    C Michal Handzus 2,800,000.00 Michal Handzus 2,800,000.00

    C Claude Lapointe 1,000,000.00 Mike Richards 1,500,000.00

    C Keith Primeau 4,500,000.00 Keith Primeau 4,500,000.00

    C Jeremy Roenick 7,000,000.00 See ya JR nice to have you for a while 0.00

    C Alexei Zhamnov 4,500,000.00 Jeff Carter 1,500,000.00

    LW Donald Brashear 2,200,000.00 Donald Brashear 2,200,000.00

    LW Todd Fedoruk 575,000.00 Todd Fedoruk 575,000.00

    LW Simon Gagne 2,600,000.00 Simon Gagne 2,600,000.00

    LW John LeClair 9,000,000.00 Patrick Sharp – C 1,700,000.00

    RW Tony Amonte 5,880,791.00 RJ Umberger – C 1,250,000.00

    RW Sami Kapanen 2,500,000.00 Sami Kapanen 2,500,000.00

    RW Mike Knuble 2,000,000.00 Mike Knuble 2,000,000.00

    RW/LW Branko Radivojevic 660,000.00 Branko Radivojevic 660,000.00

    RW Radovan Somik 675,000.00 Radovan Somik 675,000.00

    RW Turner Stevenson 1,600,000.00 Turner Stevenson 1,600,000.00

    D Eric Desjardins 4,000,000.00 Randy Jones 1,250,000.00

    D Kim Johnsson 2,800,000.00 Kim Johnsson 2,800,000.00

    D Vladimir Malakhov 3,500,000.00 Would like to see Vlad back if possible 0.00

    D Danny Markov 2,900,000.00 Danny Markov 2,900,000.00

    D Joni Pitkanen 1,185,000.00 Joni Pitkanen 1,185,000.00

    D Marcus Ragnarsson 3,000,000.00 Retired 0.00

    D Dennis Seidenberg 450,000.00 Dennis Seidenberg 450,000.00

    D Mattias Timander 1,000,000.00 Mattias Timander 1,000,000.00

    G Sean Burke 4,250,000.00 Antero Nittymaki 1,000,000.00

    G Robert Esche 775,000.00 Robert Esche 1,500,000.00

    04/05 Season Total 71,350,791.00

    05/06 projected 38,145,000.00

    -24% rollback 9,154,800.00

    Total after rollback 28,990,200.00

  19. kicksave856 says:

    nords, i don’t think his response was intended to be taken the way you took it. i don’t think he’s being overly defensive, he’s just being a fan – and he isn’t exactly snapping on you in regards to what you had to say anyway.

    besides, you both seem to be right to a certain degree. you are right in your overview of how a hockey team is going to be effected by losing a handful of relatively big name players. the best players that are left won’t get the same kind of room that they had previously. he is right about the fact that this is going to happen to a certain degree to all of the teams, and that the big names on the flyers weren’t exactly producing like they were a couple of seasons ago. leclair hasn’t been himself in quite some time, recchi seems to be showing the effects of his age and all those games played, and amonte has been a complete disappointment in philly.

    don’t get me wrong. i like mostly everything you say and agree with many of your articles (this one included). i just don’t think this guy intended to jump down your throat or come off as snapping at you. if it’s what he said about the av, i think he was just using them as an example – he may not have even been making the connection there (some people don’t). maybe it’s just me, but i didn’t see it as an offensive read or anything. i was actually surprised to see you react that way in your response because i didn’t see it coming.

    anyway, carry on. and has there been an article about the sharks yet? …

  20. Flyers_01 says:

    Hey, I wasn’t trying to be overly critical of anyone, I was just stating my opinion was different and my reasons for it. I may seem optimistic but it’s the team i follow and I think my reasoning is sound.

    The reason I mentioned the Avalanche wasn’t because they used to be the Quebec Nordiques, I mentioned them because when i think high paid players I think Forsberg, Sakic, and Blake, with Roy previously being the fourth of a group that used to take up the better part of 40 mill on their own. The remaining 3 represent a salary level that is not maintainable under the new CBA meaning that the Avalanche are probably going to be one of the teams most hurt by the new CBA.

  21. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    1. Clarke was arguably a better GM when he had no $ in FLA and MIN. Now the prices of players will be in check and the superior scouting of the franchise will be more evident. I can say the same for NJ, Detroit and the AVs.

    2. I hear the buyout is going to be 30%. Nobody can tell me if it will count towards the cap. Even if it does, Mr. Snyder will pay the price. Esche and Johnsen are guarateed to be back! Gagne is likely back too but Clarke might want to renegotiate.

    3. A VERY good source in the NHL news community is willing to bet with me that Jeff Carter will out perform Sid Crosby this coming year. I am not taking the bet.

    4. Malikov wanted 4 million per year. Zhamnov (the most skilled player of team) turned down a 4 year deal for over 4 million per year. Iginla will be lucky to make much more than that in the new NHL.

    Do NOT be surpised to see the Flyers spend a lot this coming year to load up on repriced players. They will dump a lot of dead weight. LeClair is a warrior but he has to go. If that means that his salary goes onto the salary cap then the Flyers will pay the tax. The pressure is too high for them to win in Philly to do anything less.

  22. NemiNA says:

    That should asnwer alot of questions as to what clarkie wants to do.

    I am all for getting rid of all the expensive veterans. I would love for them to sign Pronger, but another defensive defenseman wouldn’t hurt either. They should pick up 2 veteran defenseman and a scoring RIGHT winger through free agency.

  23. wolfpacns says:

    i would rather be the flyers then the leafs..atleast the flyers have youth in gagne,handzuz pitkanen…with cater and richards we are not sure what will happen to the players yet they may be draft elgiable again or fa who knows till the cba comes out…but the lafs r screwd hahaha and i’m a leaf fan and i don’t see a cup here for another 37 years

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