The NHL Free Agency period is now exactly a week old. With a really busy first day, every day since has been extremely slow in free agent signings. This is due mostly to a reduced salary cap. With a reduced salary cap for the 2013-14 season, teams have to wisely budget their money, and not overpay for free agents who don’t deserve an enormous contract that will handicap their organization. Most teams have followed this strategy, but others… well… have not.
As of right now there are three teams who have spent over the salary cap for this season and another team who is about to. Now, how can a team spend over without the league getting involved? Well, during the offseason, a team is allowed to spend a certain percentage over the cap, but then has to either trade or cut off the dead weight by the time the regular season starts in October. These four teams that have to do this are the Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins, which is the team I was referring to before that hasn’t spent over the salary cap as of right now, but will if they sign just one more player.
Out of those four, the most interesting team who has completely ignored spending money wisely is the Flyers, who somehow were able to buyout both Ilya Bryzgalov and Daniel Briere and still not be over the salary cap.
How is that possible?
Well, the Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, who thinks very highly of his work, signed and overpaid for ex-New York Islander captain Mark Streit and, most famously, ex-Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier. Both are getting up there in age and their numbers have been on the decline for the last couple of years, especially Lecavalier. The Flyers also went out and signed the Chicago Blackhawks backup goalie last season, Ray Emery, to I guess platoon with the goaltender on their current roster, Steve Mason?
So, the Flyers basically wasted their two buyouts by giving tons of money to both Streit and Lecavalier, whom are both over the hill, and failed to fix their biggest problem last year which was defense and goaltending. Yes, Streit is a defenseman, but he is more known for his offense than his defense, and Emery is a goaltender, but like his counterpart Mason, both of them are backup goaltenders at best. So, while most teams are budgeting their money wisely, there are other teams like the Flyers who ignore logic.