I happened across an article the other day at Delaware Online, the website for the Wilmington News Journal. Wilmington is a suburb of Philly, and the article talked about the massive contract given to the still-unproven Mike Richards. The title: Richards' Deal Forces Flyers To Get Creative.
He gambled that Richards, who missed 23 games last season due to a sports hernia and a separated shoulder, would remain healthy throughout the rest of his Flyers career.
He gambled that Richards, whose career high in points before this season was 34, would continue to develop as a point producer and eventual captain.
And he gambled that the NHL salary cap, which has climbed from $39 million to $44 million to $50.3 million since the end of the NHL lockout, would continue to escalate.
Assuming there are no significant roster changes, the Flyers have committed roughly $44 million to next year's payroll.
All indications point to the NHL salary cap rising to about $55 million next season.
Theoretically, that would leave the Flyers about $11 million in cap space to re-sign unrestricted free agent defenseman Jason Smith and restricted free agents Jeff Carter, R.J. Umberger, Randy Jones and Riley Cote.
Can they do it?
"We're going to have to be very creative," Flyers president Peter Luukko said.
Paul Holmgren is a joke. He gave so much money to Mike Richards...banking that the player will get better and become the eventual Captain.
Remember when the Sid contract talks were going on? Sid could've asked for $10+ mil a year, and Ray Shero would've blabbed the same sob story that the Penguins would have to get creative sign Geno, Staal, Esposito, etc. down the road.
If Shero ever based his contract negotiation style on pure hope and speculation, he'd be run out of Pittsburgh. His contract was given to the reigning MVP, and he negotiated a deal that left room for the other young talent.
Smarts > Hope.
Shero > Holmgren.