Sunday, July 21, 2013

Contract extension good for Flyers, not so much for Couturier

Some people may have looked upon Paul Holmgren giving a contract extension to Sean Couturier
Saturday as mere offseason office work.
In fact, with one sign-off of the move by Couturier, Holmgren pulled off one of his better moves in
some time.
Couturier, only 20, might have been a little shaken by the sub-par season he had in 2013. He
came back a little toward the end, but his promising rookie season was rendered forgotten by
a labor lockout that bred a textbook sophomore slump over several months.
Entering the final year of his entry level contract that pays him $1.375 million if all performance bonuses are reached, Couturier Saturday signed a two-year extension for a total of $3.5 million that won't kick in against the cap until next year.
He did this instead of playing the season out ahead of being a restricted free agent.
So Holmgren has done the right thing, getting real value out of re-signing a player who played well below expectations last season, and one that still garners real value on the trade market.
For barely any raise, Couturier successfully locked himself in for two more years at a salary which could soon look undervalued.
In so doing, he also has made his trade value soar. Any interested GM would be twice as attracted when a young player like this is tied up for this season and two others at a very reasonable salary.
In retrospect, and given time to gain business wisdom, Couturier might realize he could have waited. A player's salary doesn't go down at a young age. But coming off one so-so half of a sophomore season, Couturier did himself no favors by signing early.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Emery signed on as backup(?) goalie

The Flyers have started the NHL free agency period today by laying out their commitment to top player Claude Giroux, and making another half-hearted commitment to one of their goalies of the past.
While the 8-year, $66 million contract extension to Giroux had been out there for a couple of days, the Flyers rung in a confirmation at the noon free agency commencement by announcing a 1-year, $1.65 million contract to Ray Emery.
The Flyers would-be starting goalie three years ago, Emery's career seemed in danger with a degenerative hip condition. Since then, however, the 6-2, 196-lb goalie has resurrected his career. WIth Chicago last season, he made 21 starts in the short regular season, going 17-1 with a 1.94 goals against average and .922 saves percentage.
Those numbers may be sparkling, but a late season injury for Emery allowed Corey Crawford to get back in the crease, and he stayed there through the playoffs as Chicago ran the table toward a Stanley Cup.
Now Emery, 30, rejoins the Flyers, who have nonetheless seemed to make a commitment to Steve Mason to be their starter. Don't be surprised if it becomes a real competition for that role in training camp, however.
Together, the two goalies only shape up as a $3.15 million salary cap hit. Together, they have had success early in their careers, not so much afterward. Together, they'll likely be battling for playing time as the season progresses.