There are positive signs in negotiations between the Flyers and winger Ville Leino.
Leino, who blossomed into one of the Flyers' key players in last year's Stanley Cup playoffs, can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
It doesn't sound as if it will get to that stage.
"I am optimistic we'll get a deal done," Bill Zito, Leino's agent, said in a text message on Tuesday.
Entering Tuesday's game with Montreal, Leino had 11 goals and was third on the team with 25 assists. He was tied for third in the NHL with a plus-22 rating.
The Flyers already have about $56 million committed to 2011-12 salaries. The salary-cap maximum - $59.4 million - is expected to rise next season, but there won't be enough room to sign all of the team's potential free agents.
A formula that factors expiring contracts into the mix leaves the Flyers with just under $4.1 million of "tagging" space, according to assistant general manager Barry Hanrahan.
The amount of tagging space must be greater than the amount of the salary-cap hit the Flyers will pay a player.
Because Leino is expected to sign a multiyear deal in the $2.3 million-per-season range, there is plenty of room for an agreement to be reached this season.
Leino, 27, is making $825,000 this season, with a salary-cap hit of $800,000.
Besides Leino, Brian Boucher, Sean O'Donnell, and Nik Zherdev can become unrestricted free agents after the season. Dan Carcillo, Andreas Nodl, and Darroll Powe are potential restricted free agents; the Flyers can match another team's offer and retain those players.
Last edited by MiamiScreamingEagles: 02-06-2011 at 10:18 PM.
I was always baffled by people claiming Leino would command 4M+ from us (he is still less than a year away from being a healthy scratch in Detroit, lest we forget). Even 2.3M would be a discount from my expectations, though. I always assumed something like 2.8M.
Assuming 61.4 cap next season, it looks to me like we can keep the team in place. We have 56 spent giving us 5.4 remaining. If Leino signs at 2.7, Nodl, Powe and Boucher for a total of 2.5 and we are good to go. Carcillo and Zherdev will walk and we are under the cap with everyone else locked up. If you remove Walker to the minors, we have enough to re-sign Zherdev if we want.
Leino signed for 2.3 and keeping the HBL line intact would be awesome. I wasn't his biggest fan when he came over, but somehow that line clicks. Part of the reason that it does, is because he takes a huge defensive responsibility, which is not something he was accused of doing previously. He's had a few slightly rough games lately, but overall that line has been magnificent.
If I was Leino I'd find a new agent. Under 2.5 million is gross underpayment. Color me shocked if we get it done for less than 3 over at least 4 years, this should be Ville's big contract. Hopefully I'm wrong.