Teams own the rights to unrestricted free agents until July 1 of any given year, and therefore, the ability to negotiate exclusively with said player during that period.
My issue with goaltending threads remains - many suggestions are offered, but no real solution is offered. Not to pick on panayiotis, but this is a prime example. He didn't even know that the Flyers never had a shot to sign Roloson without providing compensation. How can credence be given to criticisms of the organization's choices when it doesn't appear a person has a clear understanding of the scenario, or at least one clearer than the Philadelphia general manager?
In general, I think the proposals I've read from fans and media alike all lack at least one of two things:
1) a definite upgrade, and 2) an attainable or cost-effective upgrade (one that wouldn't cost much talent-wise or financially).
Dwayne Roloson? He's had one good season in the NHL, which was last year on a stingy defensive team. Is he better than Hackett? I wouldn't bet anything valuable on it. It's open for debate. It is certainly not a sure thing. Since acquired by the Flyers, Robert Esche has been good whenever he's been in a consistent rotation (skip last year when he played once every two weeks or so). I feel the Flyers' best hope is to have Esche develop as did Osgood in the late 1990s and as Giguere did last year. It's not inconceivable by any stretch. It's a gamble, but no less than it is to deplete the team by trading currents/futures to get something that might be a little better. To quote Bob Clarke, "Martin Brodeur isn't available." (This isn't a dead issue, but I think the Flyers would be well-served to see how Esche continues to play with the majority of the work.)