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FIREWORKS TOMORROW TOO

Enjoy the BBQ today, because the fireworks are tomorrow in NHL free agency

Thursday, 07.4.2013 / 11:19 AM ET / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
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FIREWORKS TOMORROW TOO

If the Flyers do nothing else, adding arguable the best defenseman on the market in Mark Streit and arguably the best forward on the market in Vincent Lecavalier in one offseason has to be considered a huge success.

Yet, it’s safe to say, the Flyers work this offseason is not done. The next 48 hours especially will be hectic, fast, furious and will reshape the 2013-14 team and beyond considerably.

Adding another goalie is a must, trading some established salary is very likely and locking up some additional key depth parts is also on the agenda.

What will happen though, remains to be seen.

Mark Striet was the Flyers first target this offseason.

It should be known though that under Paul Holmgren the Flyers are quite an active team when the calendar flips to the month of July.

In 2007, Holmgren made splashes by trading for the negotiating rights for Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell and locking them up long-term and then convincing top free agent forward Danny Briere to sign an 8-year, $52 million contract with the team, beating out 14 other suitors – much like he did this summer with Lecavalier.

Holmgren also brought in defenseman Jason Smith for one season, appointed him captain, and watched his team go from the league’s worst record to the Eastern Conference Finals in one season with that eclectic mix of veterans and third-year pros melding perfectly.

The 2008 summer was Holmgren’s most quiet year. In an unattractive year for free agents (Marian Hossa was the only big name who didn’t end up flaming out) Holmgren’s adds were unmemorable – Ossi Vaananen and Glen Metropolit. Only Arron Asham stuck around for a bit, and even he was just a role player.

The big move of 2009 came at the draft when Holmgren traded for Chris Pronger. He added two players who would prove to be integral during the run to the Stanley Cup Finals the following spring, bringing back Brian Boucher and signing glue guy Ian Laperriere.

The summer of 2010 came on the Flyers quickly after the run to the Finals, and while free agent additions like Jody Shelly and Sean O’Donnell didn’t exactly get the heart racing, both were added to try and help the culture in the locker room as high character players. Resigning their own pending free agents proved critical too for the Flyers, who made sure to lock up Braydon Coburn on July 1, and later Daniel Carcillo and Darroll Powe.

The most memorable offseason to date may have been the summer of 2011 as Holmgren traded Mike Richards and Jeff Carter ultimately getting in return four current players – Jake Voracek, Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.

Those trades set up the signing of Ilya Bryzgalov as well as the free agency additions of Jaromir Jagr, Max Talbot and Andreas Lilja.

Last summer was a very active one, even if the end result wouldn’t seem that way.

Michael Leighton, Ruslan Fedotenko, Bruno Gervais and eventually Kurtis Foster weren’t moves that lit the world on fire per se, but it wasn’t like the Flyers didn’t swing for the fences.

They tried incredibly hard at first to nab both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and were thought to be in it until the end, when they found out on Independence Day that the two Americans – and good friends – decided to go home to Minnesota instead.

In the process of waiting out those decisions, Jagr jumped ship for Dallas and other free agents signed elsewhere.

The Flyers then presented Shea Weber with an offer sheet that was so pricey no one thought the small market Nashville Predators would match it.

Vincent Lecavalier was the biggest prize in free agency and he landed with the Flyers. What's next? We'll know for sure tomorrow.

Except they did.

This left the Flyers with very little to hang their hat on from the offseason – the trade for defenseman Luke Schenn notwithstanding.

Much of the Flyers heavy lifting has already been accomplished this season with Streit and Lecavalier, but there is still a lot of rearranging that still needs to take place, and all 30 NHL teams will be doing that together in one crazy day starting tomorrow.

After looking back at Holmgren’s track record, a crash course in hockey feng shui between hot dogs and hamburgers today might be a smart idea.

To contact Anthony SanFilippo email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37

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