The Flyers' week-long break will come to an end this Thursday when they host the Rangers.
While off, the Flyers set to work on a few things. Their powerplay unit, which is 29th in the NHL needed work; the entire team went to the Philadelphia Eagles game on Sunday as a bonding experience; and they have a couple players potentially returning from injuries which will create a few decisions.
The Philadelphia Flyers announced that Matt Read has signed a multi-year contract extension believed to be a four years in length totaling $14.5 million. The annual average value (AAV) stands at a shade over $3.6 million per season.
The man who once wore a #4 on his sweater will have to add a zero, as the retired Barry Ashbee holds permanent claim to that number.
Though Vincent Lecavalier will have to add a zero to his jersey, leading him to don a #40 jersey with the Flyers, Philadelphia did not get a zero as they landed the top free agent of the offseason. After inking a five-year, $22.5 million contract to play for the Flyers, the 33-year-old Lecavalier will bring the perfect combination of scoring and a veteran presence to a young Flyers team seeking a direction.
“I’m really excited," Lecavalier said. "Obviously everything came pretty quickly. I was part of an organization for 14 years so it was a tough few days. But after I talked to [head coach Peter Laviolette] and [general manager Paul Holmgren], I really liked what they have to say and where the organization is going. So that made my decision a lot easier.”
Lecavalier was bought-out by the Tampa Bay Lightning, a shock to the NHL. His buyout of $30 million over 14 years broke an NHL record that Ilya Bryzgalov held for only a few hours.
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.
After dropping a 3-1 decision to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, they find themselves seven points back of the final playoff spot with eight games to go, needing a bevy of extremely unlikely circumstances to occur for them to even slide into the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We have a game coming up," head coach Peter Laviolette said after the loss. "We need to win hockey games and focus on the next one."
That may be the only thing the Flyers can do—just try to win with what they have.
(Pictured: Claude Giroux during warm-ups. Photo by Candice Monhollan)
All 30 teams in the NHL know the type of talent Sean Couturier possesses.
Only one, the Philadelphia Flyers, have the fortune of saying that they are possession of his talent.
On the April 3 trade deadline, a handful of teams asked the Flyers about the 20-year-old Couturier. San Jose wanted him in exchange for Ryan Clowe and Ottawa wanted him for Ben Bishop.
The Flyers didn’t bite though, opting to hold onto Couturier rather than deal him for a potential rental forward with no goals or an unproven starting goaltender. They did, however, exercise the notion of trading him for a top, young defenseman or top line scorer.
Couturier was glad this deadline ended, especially for him trying to focus on his play rather than if he's going to get moved.
(Pictured: Sean Couturier celebrates with Jay Rosehill and Erik Gustafsson after setting up Rosehill's goal in the third. John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY)