Beginning today at noon, Flyers Jaromir Jagr and Matt Carle will join stars from around the NHL, such as Nashville's Ryan Suter and New Jersey's Zach Parise, in exercising their rights to unrestricted free agency. Whether any of those particular players will land in Philadelphia is unknown, we can only promise GM Paul Holmgren should be busy.
Just how busy is yet to be determined. As Tim Panaccio pointed out on Saturday, the Flyers have their work cut out for themselves. You really should take the time to read the overview for the finer points, but to summarize:
The salary cap is currently set at $70.2 million as of last week, though it's widely assumed that figure will be significantly reduced once a new a collective bargaining agreement is reached. This complicates matters for the Flyers, who have little room under the cap to operate already -- as usual -- and several areas they either would like to or must address: backup goaltender, scoring depth, and defense.
Panotch offers his take on some possible solutions, but we won't spoil the entire article for you. It's worth a read. As for my own thoughts, I'm more concerned about signing or replacing Carle than adding another scorer.
The fact that the Flyers are still talking to the Blue Jackets about Rick Nash suggests they feel different, or at least are determined to take care of both. However, for all of the instances the words "forward depth" have been recited this summer, one would think they might give the guys who are here a chance to replace the goals the club loses if Jagr departs, and whatever else went missing when James van Riemsdyk was sent packing.
We'll see what happens. There is a relatively small group of free agents that fit the mold of what the Flyers are searching for, so the possibilities aren't exactly endless, but where the chips will fall is still anybody's guess.