Jul 1, 2011, 4:24 PM EDT
So much for an easy Friday to lead us into a light holiday weekend. The Flyers continued to be aggressive on the first day of free agency, shipping Kris Versteeg off to the Florida Panthers for draft picks. Meanwhile, Ville Leino’s and Brian Boucher’s tenures in orange black are officially over, as the winger signed a long term contract with the Buffalo Sabres, and the netminder heads to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Versteeg trade signals the end to that experiment, and while some fans were willing to ride it out and give the young hand a chance to learn coach Peter Laviolette’s system, the front office indicated it was a failure.
The Flyers received a second round pick from Florida, in either the 2012 or 2013 draft, as well as San Jose’s third in ’12. Unfortunately, this is less than they originally paid when they acquired the 25 year old in February, sending a first and a third to Toronto. The move was certainly in part to create some much needed salary cap relief, but accepting a return that was less than their initial investment has to sting.
And up north, Leino found a partner willing to pay. The Sabres agreed to a 6-year deal with the Finland native worth $27 million, averaging $4.5 mil per season. It’s a steep price for Leino, who had a career year in 10-11 with 19 goals and 34 assists, but at times was maybe a little too fancy for his own good. [See "Update" here for how this relates to the Jagr deal]
Boucher’s departure comes as no surprise however, as he agreed to a two-year deal with Carolina.
There’s no telling if the moves are over–is an extension for recently acquired Wayne Simmonds on the way?–but I hope they are, if only because we would like to get into holiday mode (parrrtayyy!). There’s no doubt this has been an exciting couple of hours though, and for that matter, last few weeks in Flyers-land.
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