Kimmo Timonen was set to become an unrestricted free agent after this shortened season ended. Considering the current and likely future state of the Philadelphia Flyers‘ defense, general manger Paul Holmgren decided to make the soon-to-be (March 18) 38-year-old blueliner a prudent offer. It’s one that the veteran appears likely to take.
According to Comcast SportsNet Flyers Insider Tim Panaccio, Timonen is expected to sign a deal that would extend his contract through the 2013-14 season before this week ends. He will receive $6 million next season, which is a slight cut in pay from his annual $6.33 million stipend.
Apparently the combination of a stagnant global economy and the new National Hockey League Collective Bargaining Agreement have even affected hockey players’ bank accounts. That CBA phrase was intentionally inserted into this digital space because I know how badly everyone has missed reading that three word, 31 character combination.
Holmgren’s crafty acquisition of the rights to then-pending free agents Timomen and Scott Hartnell from the Nashville Predators in June 2007 continued his revamp of a Flyers team that was in disarray. Four months prior to that deal, the then-interim front office boss (due to Bob Clarke’s early season resignation) dealt Peter Forsberg to the Preds for two players and their 2007 number one draft pick.
“Homer” returned that pick to Nashville in a controversial deal that basically allowed him to gain negotiation rights with both players prior to the July 1 free agent benchmark. That specific deal helped to define Holmgren’s personal style and has proven to be one of the best tactical maneuvers of his tenure.
So far this season, Timonen leads all Flyers in average ice time (22:46) per game, is tied for first in the plus-minus rankings (+2) and is tied for third in points scored (5). Considering just those three points and the lack of veteran depth on the Flyers’ current blue line, this coming contract extension looks like another sharp business decision.