Better With Popcorn

Holmgren: Flyers "Capped Out Right Now"

July 5 did not carry the same pomp and circumstance that the days leading up to the day did for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Early in the day on Friday, goaltender Ray Emery agreed to a one-year deal, and depth goaltender Yann Danis also agreed to a one-year pact.

Those moves along with the acquisitions of defenseman Mark Streit and former Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier make the team look a lot better off than last season's unfortunate debacle.

Expected comments released by General Manager Paul Holmgren revealed that the team is capped out. No flexibility exists to make additional moves, including one that could have kept popular winger Simon Gagne in the fold.

Around 3:30 p.m., CSN Philly insider Tim Panaccio tweeted that Holmgren and Gagne's camp had agreed on money, but not term. Silence ensued until Holmgren's comments about not possessing the proper amount of cap space to make the deal.

According to capgeek.com, the Flyers are over the cap ceiling by $1,053,522. Moving Chris Pronger to LTIR will alleviate nearly $5 million. That cleared space will be essential to include new deals for RFAs Erik Gustafsson, Oliver Lauridsen, Brandon Manning and Eric Wellwood, who were qualified offers two days ago.

Past that, some cap space will be required to make organizational moves like calling up players from the minors to fill holes. That will happen.

As mentioned aptly on the Steve Dangle Podcast on June 25, buying out Danny Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov may have cleared up $12 million in cap space, but with the declining cap ceiling, it did not clear nearly enough to be effective. Perhaps that was simply the fault of the way "Free Agent Frenzy" truly works.

Rumors abound of Braydon Coburn's departure to Edmonton at the draft last Sunday until the Oilers picked up Andrew Ference as an unrestricted free agent, and then traded for Dallas' Philip Larsen. Coburn dropped out of the conversation, and it looks like he will remain with the Flyers.

Coburn was also tied in to a loose rumor including Max Talbot to Montreal. Nothing happened.

Through all of this it appears as if Gagne will not return to the Flyers for the second time. Last time, thanks to the same problem in 2010, he packed his bags for Tampa Bay in exchange for fringe defenseman Matt Walker. Fans still aren't over that move. They won't like this one either.

With or without Gagne, the Flyers possess significant depth up front. They can deal two strong scoring lines, and two similarly strong checking lines. Defensively, with the acquisition of Streit and a hopeful comeback season from Coburn, they are in better stead than last season's depleted, piecemeal defense.

Granted, this is merely on paper. How this team operates in October will be the determining factor on how successful this day was--specficially between the pipes sans Bryzgalov and plus Mason and Emery.

The "capped out" process will also get increasingly difficult as Claude Giroux is slated to receive about a $5 million raise. Holmgren might have to hope and pray that the NHL's revenue stream kicks into high gear this season so that the salary cap will rise significantly.

Otherwise, the cap situation might get truly impossible to fix.

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Follow Jordan Kuhns (@playsbykuhns) and the site (@TCLFlyers) on Twitter.

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