Nov 9, 2011, 12:32 PM EDT
On the morning all the local precincts counted their ballots and announced who would come, go, and stay in office, the Flyers cast their vote to keep defenseman Braydon Coburn stationed on the Philadelphia blue line for another four years.
Despite being just 26, Coburn is the longest tenured Flyer currently on the roster. Tim Panaccio reports that he’ll be paid $18 million over the next four seasons, with his annual cap hit increasing from $3.2 million to $4.5 million. What that means for the front office’s decision-making on other pending free agents, including Matt Carle, remains to be seen.
If we learned anything this summer, it’s that off-season signings are fairly unpredictable with the Flyers. Any idea we had as to the team’s cap scenario in June was out the window as soon as the market opened. So it’s hard to say with any certainty what today’s signings and roster configurations mean to the Flyers’ ability to retain free agent pieces they’ll want next summer.
Still, with the team perennially close to the cap, any raises given to players who aren’t elite at their positions are usually met with some degree of skepticism and worry over losing flexibility to sign or trade for new talent, or at least have some space for short-term injury needs. More than a few fans will likely bemoan this one accordingly.
What we do know is, a usually solid d-man who is neither particularly young nor anything close to old will likely be here for the foreseeable future. With Chris Pronger aging and susceptible to shot-related injuries as part of his job description and Kimmo Timonen putting more miles on a well-traveled odometer, the Flyers appear to have wanted to ensure they had a pair of sound defenders with plenty of good years ahead of them. Andrej Meszaros is also 26, and he’s inked at a cap hit of $4 million per season through 2013-2014, per CapGeek.
Once considered an emerging high-end talent with offensive abilities, especially in the transition game, Coburn has largely settled into a more conventional blue line role. But, still just 26 and entering his prime, there’s a solid chance he continues to mature as a player and makes his cap hit look like a bargain, which it may already be when when the next free agent period opens.
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