The Philadelphia Flyers are doing all they can to add two of the biggest names on the NHL free agent market, but whether they land either one of them is anyone’s guess at this point.
Since NHL free agency opened yesterday at noon, much of the buzz on the rumor mill has centered around Ryan Suter (Nashville Predators) and Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils). They are, respectively, the top available defenseman and forward on the market, and teams around the league are lining up to try to acquire their services.
Count the Philadelphia Flyers as one of those teams. Reports are swirling that the Flyers extended the largest financial offers to both players – two similar 12-year contracts worth at least $80 million and maybe as high as $110 million. If money is what Suter and Parise want, then Philadelphia is where they will end up calling home.
But it’s not all about the money for these two, at least it doesn’t look that way at this point. Suter is reported to prefer returning to Nashville, but the Predators might not have what it takes to bring him back. If Nashville is out of the picture, another team in the Western Conference might be the more likely destination. And Parise? He also would love to return to New Jersey, and if not, a Western team like Minnesota could be at the top of his radar.
Of course, things can change, and change quickly, in free agency. What is being reported as true now can be revealed as a smokescreen later. Parise might make his final decision today, while Suter is expected to take a little longer to decide. If the Flyers aren’t able to land either of these top players, look for them to turn to the trade market. Can you say Shea Weber or Bobby Ryan?
On the MLB
Have the Philadelphia Phillies made the decision to give up on this season? Probably not just yet, but they are assuredly making preparations to go that route if things don’t turn around dramatically in the next two weeks.
Over the weekend, the Phillies jettisoned off-season additions Chad Qualls (to the New York Yankees) and Jim Thome (to the Baltimore Orioles). Reports also surfaced that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was beginning to gauge interest in free-agent-to-be Cole Hamels.
Now don’t freak out just yet – this doesn’t mean a trade is imminent. It does mean that Phillies’ brass is exploring the possibility now so that they are prepared, just in case, as the trade deadline approaches at the end of this month.
And can you really blame them for doing so?
We’re exactly halfway through the MLB season, and the Phillies find themselves 11 games out of first place in the National League East division, with a record of 36-45. They were swept by the Miami Marlins this past weekend and have lost 5 games in a row. By the time Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay come off the DL, and by the time Chase Utley is ready to play everyday, the Phillies might be officially out of contention.
It’s likely that the front office will allow the team the opportunity to show some signs of life going into, and coming out of, the All-Star break. But if the playoffs still look like an unlikely scenario later this month, expect the fire sale to begin.