I've written before that Paul Holmgren's one-part genius, one-part madman style leaves me pretty confused, and yesterday's maneuvers continued that tradition. Let's look at what they got and gave up:
IN: Bryzgalov $5.67M x 9 years; Simmonds - 1st year RFA; Voracek - 1st year RFA; Schenn - 1st year ELC; #8 pick in 2011 draft
OUT: Richards $51.6M over 10 years ($6.6 $8.4 $7.6 $7.0 $6.0 $5.5 $4.5 $3 $3); Carter $56M over 11 years ($6 $6.25 $6.5 $6.75 $7 $7 $6.5 $5 $3 $2 $2)
Philadelphia moved what are likely slight discount contracts in the present with long-term risk; the acquiring teams each get 2-3 wins better while giving up less than that in the present. Simmonds new contract will likely be worth $4-5M to Philly (since he has to sign at a discount as an RFA) and Voracek is in the same ballpark. Schenn is paid $3M a year during his ELC, so there's no immediate value there - everything hinges on him being a superstar in 2014. The #8 pick is probably worth another $3-5M over the long-term. So the Flyers made their team a little weaker (maybe 2-3 wins next year) in the near-term, but they placed some solid bets on having very good players on discount contracts two or three seasons down the line and rid themselves of long-term downside risk.
And then they threw down $51M on a contract with a goaltender that expires when he's 40 years old. Philadelphia made some moves that were at worst defensible and at best increased their long-term competitiveness, and they followed it up by completely misunderstanding the goaltending market. As we've written here and many have written elsewhere, goaltenders are virtually a dime-a-dozen, and the talent gap between the guy on the ice and the guy on the bench is next to nothing, even if their salary gap is huge. There was no reason to sign Bryzgalov to anything remotely resembling this contract, and the Flyers - after having picked up $10-$20M in contract discounts across four young players - just threw away $25-$30M extra dollars that they didn't need to spend on a goalie contract.
But hey, this is the team that signed Michael Leighton to a multi-year contract then cut him almost immediately, and continues to make Jody Shelley the richest man from Manitoba. We will never figure out what's running through Paul Holmgren's mind.