Now that the Steven Stamkos talk can finally be put to rest, the Philadelphia Flyers will focus on Free Agency which opens today at Noon EST. (Join Me for GetFlyerdUp.com’s NHL Free Agency LIVE BLOG TODAY STARTING AT 11:30AM EST)
For the first time in a while the Flyers will have some money to throw around and are sure to be active today.
Who will they target?
Cole won a Stanley Cup along with Peter Laviolette in Carolina, and a reunion could be beneficial for both. Cole played in all 82 games last season for the Canes, posting 26 goals and 26 assists. His veteran presence and familiarity with Laviolette and his system make him a likely target for the Flyers.
After a red-hot start to the 2010-11 season in which Fleischmann posted 21 points in 22 games, he was diagnosed with pulmonary emboli causing him to miss rest of the season. Fleischmann has been given a clear-bill of health, and is cleared to play. Fleischmann is still young and undoubtedly talented; he has the ability to play Wing or Center and could be a very good edition to the Flyers.
Flyers fans know all about Ville Leino, and if the price is right he’ll be back in orange and black. Leino has showed some inconsistency at times, but has loads of talent. He’ll no doubt be a hot target on the free agent market, and with the recent contract signings of players like Tomas Kopecky, the price for Leino may be too rich for the Flyers.
Here’s another name that Flyers fans are very familiar with, Simon Gagne. I have no doubt that Gagne would love to return to the Flyers, and the Flyers would like to have him, if the price is right. However, the Flyers would be wise to not be blinded by their past relationship with Gagne, who isn’t getting any younger and as we all know he’s prone to injury.
Michael Ryder seems to be a popular name with Flyers fans when discussing free agency. Yes, Ryder has ability, but as many have pointed out, he’s vastly under-performed his last few seasons. I’m not sure the amount of money it would take to sign Ryder would ultimately be worth the return the Flyers would get.
Chris Higgins is a name that seems to have been lost in the free agent shuffle. He started the season with the Florida Panthers, before ending up with eventual Western Conference Champion Vancouver Canucks. Higgins is a solid two-way power forward, with some nice scoring ability. Higgins could be a nice addition to the Flyers third or fourth line.
Jamie Langenbrunner’s name continues to pop up, remember GM Paul Holmgren tried to trade for the veteran winger before the season started. The Flyers will probably kick the tires on Langenbrunner, but it’s unclear if Langenbrunner even has interest in joining the Flyers.