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03-22-2006, 09:56 PM
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Have to bring back the following:

Gagne - Forsberg - Knuble
Handzus - Carter - Umberger
Primeau - Richards - Kapanen
Eager/Savage - PHANTOM - Dimitrakos

Extras: Radivojevic/Eager/Savage

Hatcher - Johnsson
Pitkanen - Rathje
Gauthier - Desjardins

Extras: Meyer/Jones

Not too many changes should happen, but if the Flyers can trim off about 10 million and assume that all signed brings them to around 38 million with a cap of 45-48 million, then they may be able to upgrade by subtraction. Johnsson, Desjardins, Brashear, Savage, Radivojevic, Esche, Stevenson, and maybe even Primeau might be cap casualties if comparably priced upgrades are available. The most upside in free agency is on defense. The Flyers would be absolutely sickening on defense if they kept the defensive minded Hatcher/Rathje/Gauthier while adding a two-way, yet offensively skilled dman to complement Pitkanen/Johnsson/Meyer. Desjardins could be the seventh guy, but if you could take the 3-4 Johnsson would look for along with the 2-3 Desjadins is likely looking for, why wouldn't they just give someone new who is less likely to get beat up at this point? Chara, Redden, and Berard are all going to hit the open market unless Ottawa locks up the first two. There are going to be options for the Flyers for the first time in a while. I could see Desjardins platooning with Meyer and Picard as the 6-7-8 role, while adding one of Chara, Redden, or Berard to the core of 5. That would be a killer defense:

Rathje - Pitkanen
Hatcher - FA
Gauthier - Meyer/Desjardins/Picard

Up front why not take a shot at a top flight wing if there is enough money under the cap at that point? They should have about 5-9 million available even with adding a defenseman. Elias would be a coup, but perhaps Mark Parrish, Jamie Langenbrunner (Hitchcock connection), Vyborny, or Arnott would be forward upgrades. If the Flyers clear out some salary that really doesn't play much, then they could land one decent dman PLUS a forward:

Gagne - Forsberg - Elias
Umberger - Carter - Knuble
Handzus - Richards - Kapanen
Nedved - Primeau - Dimitrakos

Hatcher - Redden
Rathje - Pitkanen
Gauthier - Meyer/Desjardins/Picard

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