The Philadelphia Flyers have had one of the more interesting, albeit not necessarily unsuccessful, free agency periods of any team in the National Hockey League thus far.
The team has made a few additions to deepen the bottom half of their lineup in the form of Ruslan Fedotenko, Bruno Gervais and Luke Schenn.
While they lost an underachieving James van Riemsdyk, and an overpaid Jamomir Jagr, there was still much skepticism that the Flyers were going to need to sign Zach Parise and Ryan Suter if they wanted to be a serious contender for the Stanley Cup in the 2012-13 NHL season.
This is simply not the case.
The positives for adding these two lineups are definitely very obvious. Parise is one of the best American-born players in the game today. He would bring a keen sense of intellect as well as an extra ounce of leadership that might have been the catalyst to get the Flyers into a position to win the Cup.
His presence on the wing would have more than compensated for what they lost when Jagr decided to ship himself off to Dallas, and a long term leader would set the foundation for a very skilled team up front in the future.
Ryan Suter, on the other hand, would help the Flyers with their defensive depth after acquiring Luke Schenn from the Maple Leafs. He would add a dynamic to the high end of the power play while still being able to contribute offensively at even strength.
Put these two guys together, who are buddies and would definitely bring a great attitude into the locker room, and it appears that the Flyers really are going to wish that they had made a harder run for these two guys.
Did I mention that both signed for the same contract of 13 years and $98 million?
You read that correctly. In order to land both of these guys, the Flyers would have had to basically put aside $200 million dollars over the next baker’s dozen seasons.
The chances of either of those guys being a factor in a decade is very slim, as most NHL players seem to hit the driftaway point around 33 or 34. Parise and Suter will be 39 years old during the final year of their contracts.
The biggest reason why these two guys were not worth this amount of money to the Flyers is that they are both unbelievably overrated.
This year’s free-agent class was one of the worst in recent memory, and both Suter and Parise were the recipients of that fact.
Parise was 24th among all skaters in points last season with 69, which was 24 points fewer than Flyers superstar Claude Giroux. The former Devils captain also had a minus-5 rating on the season.
Suter, on the other hand, was 11th in points, but only put up 7 goals and took just over 130 shots—just over one shot per game.
The fact of the matter is that the Flyers have much bigger fish to fry, and passing on these two guys was an absolute fantastic thing.
Claude Giroux is one of the best players in the league right now and, with the cap space that the Flyers have saved by avoiding both Parise and Suter, they should be able to land a long-term deal that will have him eating cheesesteaks for the rest of his career.
The Flyers will be just fine this year without the likes of the two guys who ran off to Minnesota. If goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov can play to the level that his contract says he should, they could very easily be finding themselves holding the Cup at year’s end.