The Philadelphia Flyers had little choice but to sit back on July 1 and watch as the teams around them plucked the free agent market clean of impact players. Normally, one would assume management had to sit on its own hands, rocking back and forth with clenched teeth to pass up on such madness as we witnessed yesterday. But one would be wrong in such assumptions. As the Philadelphia Inquirer notes, GM Ron Hextall was calm and unfazed by the storm all around him.
“There’s 2 days of the year where hockey people get crazy: July 1 and the trade deadline,” Hextall said. “You’ve got to keep things intact, and it’s not easy to do. July 1 is one of those days where we all can get carried away. Sometimes, this day, you make some of the poorest decisions you make.”
There’s still no word on whether Hextall realized what city he was in when he made those comments.
In all seriousness, this is a marked departure from the Flyers of old, who would typically dole out anywhere from $40 million to $100 million or more in contractual commitments this time of year. Instead the Flyers have two things working for or against them, depending on how you look at it.
1) The Flyers are hopelessly cap-strapped. The team has a little big of wiggle room thanks to Chris Pronger LTIR designation, but otherwise they had no room to sign any of the big boys in free agency.
2) Ron Hextall is trying to implement a bit more sanity in the team-building process. This is a club that could use a dose of such, even if it comes from one of the craziest goaltenders to ever play the game. The team is still reeling from long-term contracts doled out to Pronger, Vincent Lecavalier, Ilya Bryzgalov, and Daniel Briere (the latter two have been bought out).
Now it appears the Philadelphia Flyers are taking a new route to team-building, whether they like it or not. At least from a fan’s perspective, they should revel in the idea that Flyers could become a patient, prudent organization. Whatever that means in Philly.
Tags: Philadelphia Flyers