photo credit: Chuck Myers/MCT
The Philadelphia Flyers didn’t make the usual splash that the team is known for in NHL free agency.
Ron Hextall, the Flyers General Manager, had to sit back and watch most teams improve and spend money because of the cap situation that the former General Manager, Paul Holmgren, put the team in for this year. Holmgren signed Vincent Lecavalier to a five-year, $22.5 million deal before the start of last season with a cap hit of $4.5 million per season. Lecavalier didn’t pan out for the Flyers and the team has given him permission to seek a trade.
Holmgren also signed defenseman, Andrew MacDonald to a six-year, $ 30 million extension after he hadn’t even played a full season with the Flyers. The signing came with a $5 million per season cap hit for the next six seasons. Wayne Simmonds is signed for a $3.975 million cap hit over the next five years, and Mark Streit has a cap hit of $5.25 million for the next three seasons.
The big signing for the Flyers on day one of free agency was goaltender Ray Emery, who signed for one year with a cap hit of $1 million. Emery will be the backup goalie to Steve Mason, just like he was last season. The backup goalies were going fast to other teams that had more money to spend. The backups were signing longer deals for more money per season than Emery too.
Emery played in 28 games with a 9-12-2 record, a 2.96 GAA, a .903 save percentage and posted two shutouts. In three playoff games last season he was 1-2, with a 3.49 GAA and only a .888 save percentage. In his career, Emery has played 256 games while posting a 135-75-21 record. He also has a career 2.66 GAA, a .908 save percentage and 16 shutouts.
When he was in net last season, especially the during the playoffs, he tended to give up some big rebounds that went off of his pads. He also lacked any kind of post-to-post quickness, but he knows what his role will be on the team. Emery also wanted to come back to the Flyers because he felt comfortable here.
The Flyers also signed Rob Zepp, a 32-year-old goaltender out of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) in Germany. Zepp has spent the last seven years with the Berlin Polar Bears. He was a teammate of Claude Giroux and former Flyer, Danny Briere while they played with the Polar Bears during the 2012-13 lockout.
In the 2013-14 season, he played in 38 games, had a 2.32 GAA and a .927 GAA. Zepp has played in the World Championships for Germany three years including 2010,2013 and 2014. The goalie was originally drafted by the Florida Panthers in the 1999 draft but never signed. He was then taken by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2001 draft in the fourth round.
The deal will be a one year, two-way contract. Zepp will mostly likely be the backup goalie for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the AHL affialiate of the Flyers. The starting goalie will most likely be Anthony Stolarz since the Flyers let Cal Heeter become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Zepp moves well, has good reflexes, is athletic and is mentally strong, according to eliteprospects.com.