In the months since the lockout came to an end, and compliance buyouts were made available to teams, much of the talk for the Philadelphia Flyers has focused on Ilya Bryzgalov. While it might be a done deal that one of their two available buyouts will head in that direction, the other one may be just as big of a sure thing.
There has been some debate back and forth as to whether or not the Flyers will use a buyout on Danny Briere. With two years remaining on his contract, Briere carries the highest cap hit on the team, at $6.5 million. With the Flyers in some trouble with the cap coming down, they might not have a choice.
Despite the fact that Briere would like to stick around, the business side of hockey may simply not allow him to do that. He struggled throughout the 2013 season, with only 16 points in 34 games, including only six goals. Even in a full season last year, his production was down. The 2011-12 season saw him score only 16 goals and total 49 points in 70 games.
It’s unfortunate that the situation has reached this point, more for Briere than the Flyers. He’ll turn 36 at the beginning of next season. Players of that age typically aren’t fond of moving around. Luckily with the buyout, he’ll have his choice of where he eventually ends up landing.
For the Flyers, they’re losing a player that was supposed to be important offensively, but has not. Nonetheless, he’s an important player in their locker room from a veteran standpoint. With a handful of young players, having him around was beneficial from that standpoint.
It all comes down to the financials, and they’re not pretty right now for the Philadelphia Flyers. Even when they do buy out Ilya Bryzgalov, they may have to also part ways with Briere. If they were to hold onto him, it would inhibit their ability to improve a roster that was a massive disappointment in 2013.
It’s far from confirmed, but we’ve probably seen Danny Briere hit the ice for the last time as a member of the Flyers.