Jul 1, 2011, 3:20 PM EDT
While many fans are still coming to grips with the fact that Jaromir Jagr will be wearing orange and black this season, it was not the only move that Paul Holmgren made today.
Not even close.
The Flyers began their busy day with an extension for the recently acquired Jakub Voracek, who came over in the Jeff Carter exchange. Then they signed free agent defenseman Andreas Lilja to replace the departing Sean O’Donnell, as well as luring center Max Talbot away from the rival Pittsburgh Penguins.
Lilja spent last season with Anaheim after spending the previous five in Detroit, where he was part of their run for the Stanley Cup in 07-08. The former second round pick of the LA Kings in 2000 turns 36 in less than two weeks, and he missed most of the 09-10 campaign with a concussion. He appeared in 52 games for the Ducks last season though, and as long as he stays healthy, the addition should solidify the back end of the Flyers defensive rotation. He’s signed for three years at $1.7 million per.
Just as it seemed like things couldn’t get any crazier, the Flyers announced the signing of Talbot to a five-year, $9 million contract. Talbot played his entire six-year NHL career for Pittsburgh, and like Lilja, was a member of a Stanley Cup winner in 08-09, in fact scoring the series’ decisive goal for the Pens. The 27 year old isn’t a huge factor on the score sheet—generally registering slightly more than 20 points per season—but he figures to fill Philly’s need for a solid third-line center and penalty killer.
Earlier, the club came to terms with Voracek on a one-year offer worth $2.25 million. He who was a restricted free agent when the Flyers acquired the right winger from Columbus. No word on whether the two sides discussed anything long term, but Voracek certainly has the chance to create a bigger role for himself in the season ahead. The seventh overall pick in 2007 averaged 48 points across the last two seasons for the unheralded Blue Jackets.
And then of course, there is Jagr. Matt covered the Jagr signing in detail, so we won’t get too much into that, but at one year it seems like your prototypical low risk/high reward move. Along with Lilja and Talbot, it also appears one of the Flyers’ goals with this round of signings was to surround their young team with players who have experience hoisting the Cup. Jagr may not be an instant fan favorite, but he fits the bill of a player who has had post-season success in the NHL.
Of course, this round of moves leads many to believe Ville Leino won’t return. We’ve noticed the silky smooth Leino has become something of a fan favorite, and get the feeling he will be missed. There’s no arguing his solid numbers (53 points in 10-11), but it seems the team and the winger disagreed on his value, so the franchise moved quickly to fill out the rest of their roster.
None of these moves should blow anybody away, and won’t, but the Flyers apparently had a goal in mind. They added a group of cost-effective veterans who have gone the distance, and fill specific holes in the lineup. Time will tell whether this drastic shakeup achieves the desired result, but nobody can accuse the Flyers front office of sitting on their hands this off-season.
UPDATE: More moves, right this way. Kris Versteeg has been traded, and Ville Leino and Brian Boucher have signed with the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes, respectively.
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