Philadelphia Flyers' General Manager Paul Holmgren released a statement today confirming that they will use one of their two compliance buyouts on forward Danny Briere, ending his tenure with the team after six seasons.
The team will have to pay Briere $833,333 for the next four years as per the compliance buyout rules in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement. His cap hit of $6.5 million will not count against the salary cap this season.
"This was a very difficult decision to make as Danny has been a very good player for us over the past six years," Holmgren said in his statement. Holmgren informed Briere a week ago that he would be bought out, the forward said in a press conference today.
On Tuesday, the rumor mill concerning the Philadelphia Flyers blew up.
Not only was it confirmed by ESPN's Pierre LeBrun that forward Danny Briere would be bought out, but conflicting reports about goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov's security with the team surfaced, as well as trade rumors involving Anaheim's Bobby Ryan and Los Angeles' Jonathan Bernier also came to the forefront.
Talk about a crazy day.
All of this coming on the heels of a reported deal struck with the New York Islanders to acquire their former captain Mark Streit. Streit signed a bloated four year pact worth a grand total of $22 million. Following that deal, it signaled change. There is writing on the wall...but for whom?
If, for example, both Briere and Bryzgalov are bought out, that unlocks about $12 million in cap space. The Flyers are currently above the new cap ceiling of $64 million by $7 million. These moves would not afford a ton of room, but it would at least be something.
The Flyers have made their first move of the off season, acquiring a defenseman from a division rival.
They have traded forward Shane Harper along with a fourth round pick in the 2014 amateur draft to New York Islanders for 35-year-old defenseman Mark Streit. Streit was the captain of the Islanders team the last two years.
Streit is going to be a free agent come July 5 but they now own his rights until then and have the opportunity to re-sign him. General manager Paul Holmgren said that Streit was one of the blueliners on his radar at the July 5 free agency period.
The Flyers came to a crossroads two offseasons ago.
They could have gone in one or two directions. One side of the path had them rebuilding the team, pushing a youth movement that would make them a dangerous contender in a couple years. The other path was the same win-now mentality the Flyers have had for the last two decades, resulting in a couple Stanley Cup berths and a handful of Conference Finals appearances.
Unfortunately, general manager Paul Holmgren tried to travel down both paths at once and wound up falling flat on his face this season.
(Photo: Wayne Simmonds (front) and Sean Couturier (back) were both a part of the youth movement. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
Only five games remain in this lockout-shortened regular season for the Philadelphia Flyers. These five games serve as a tryout period for players to show why they should or shouldn't stay beyond next season. Some players have already been written off, as it may not make much sense to keep for the future.
Many difficult decisions have to be made this summer, including players that have had extended stints as Flyers.
It's going to be a longer off season for the Flyers than they're used to.
Among the topics heading into the off season is the job security of head coach Peter Laviolette. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren reassured the safety of his head coach.
Via Sam Carchidi's article this morning:
"I haven't even thought along those lines," Holmgren told The Inquirer in a phone conversation. "I think it's been a difficult year because of the situation. We haven't had our whole team all year. I don't blame the coaches.
General Manager Paul Holmgren announced this afternoon that the Philadelphia Flyers have signed goaltender Steve Mason to a one-year extension worth $1.5 million. Mason was acquired in a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 3 for Michael Leighton and a 2015 third round pick.
The 24-year-old goaltender busted onto the NHL scene back in 2008. In his rookie season, he posted a 33-20-7 record with the Blue Jackets, posting ten shutouts, and owning an impressive .916 save percentage and a 2.29 goals against average.
General Manager Paul Holmgren announced on Friday that Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn will be out indefinitely with a separated shoulder. With only a handful of games left in the season, this likely means his season is done.
The length of his departure all depends on the degree of his shoulder's separation, but risking further injury in a season like the one that has unfolded makes close to zero sense. Coburn's departure has promped a callup of Adirondack Phantoms defenseman Oliver Lauridsen.
Originally a steal in the trade from the Atlanta Thrashers for Alexei Zhitnik back in 2007, the 28-year-old Saskatchewan native posted just five points through 33 games—a stark contrast to his 36 point season in 2007-08. His point production has sharply decreased since that point to the lowest it has ever been in his career as a Flyer by far.
Rewind to the Spring of 2010. The Philadelphia Flyers, down 3-0 in the Stanley Cup semifinal round, came back to take the series against the Boston Bruins while down 3-0 in game seven. The comeback mentality of the Flyers started then, and it hasn't let go.
That moment in Flyers history may be a fond one, but it may have ruined the current cast of players. Expecting comebacks every night takes a lot of stamina and endurance to pull off. It shouldn't be expected on a nightly basis.
(Pictured: Ilya Bryzgalov allows Brad Richards' 2nd period goal. Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)