Kimmo Timonen will play at least one more year as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. General manager Ron Hextall re-signed the 39 year-old Finnish defenseman to a one-year contract worth $2 million that includes performance bonuses that could total $1.5 million. TVA’s Ren Lavoie included the full breakdown of Kimmo’s contract in a tweet you will find below.
#flyers Kimmo Timonen contract: 2M$ base salary + 750 000 at 10 games + 250 000 at 20 games + 250 000 at 30 games + 250 000 at 60 games.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) June 15, 2014
There had been plenty of speculation at the end of the season that we had seen Kimmo Timonen play his final game as a member of the Flyers. The 39 year-old had seen age sap his quickness and heard people question his ability as a 1st line defenseman. After watching him this season you could definitely see that he had lost a step but that didn’t stop Timonen from displaying he still is a 1st line defenseman.
The Philadelphia Flyers secured their best defenseman for a pittance considering his even-strength production. He placed 18th overall in 5 on 5 CF% for defenseman that had played at least 750 minutes this past season.
That’s a pretty remarkable statistic considering the man’s age. That puts him in front of players like Matt Niskanen, Victor Hedman, and Ryan McDonagh. Now, I’m not stating that Timonen is in fact better than any of those players. My intent is only to show that even at his age, he still can help push play into the opponent’s defensive zone.
Now, not only is Kimmo a great player still individually, he still makes everyone around him better. Don’t believe me? Here is a brilliant chart to help visualize Kimmo’s ability to make his teammates better provided by the wonderful Stats.HockeyAnalyisis.com. The interactive portion of this graph can be found here.
This season Kimmo Timonen was once again asked to be the point man on the Flyers power-play. He performed brilliantly, placing 14th out of qualifying (at least 100 minutes played) defenseman. with 17 power-play points. He also placed 2nd with 12 primary assists.
Primary assists, for those unfamiliar with the statistic, is the assist leading directly to a goal. That’s 75% of Timonen’s PP assists that led to a Philadelphia Flyers PP goal. That tells me that even though he cannot skate as well as we are used to seeing, his vision on the ice is still superb.
If the Flyers were to have lost arguably, their best PP defenseman, I’d hate to have seen what the unit would have looked like in the upcoming season.
This contract provides the Flyers with a couple of options that I am all for.
1. Allows the Flyers to keep their promising young defensive prospects in the minors where they can get some much-needed seasoning. Even though I am just as excited about guys like Morin and Ghost, I understand the need for patience so those guys can get stronger and more accustomed to a pro-level hockey experience.
2. Paul Holmgren handed out two very unfortunate contracts to Andrew MacDonald and Vincent Lecavalier that have caused a salary cap headache for new GM Ron Hextall. Kimmo’s contract, including the bonuses, helps control their limited financial situation by not being too exorbitant. And god forbid if he gets hurt, the Flyers would likely only be on the hook for maybe $2.75 or $3.0 million after bonuses kick in. I can live with that.
I wanted the Flyers to re-sign Timonen, if he was willing to come back, to a contract somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.5 to $4.0 million. After seeing the particulars of the contract I couldn’t be more thrilled that we re-signed our best defenseman for so little. While Craig Berube will have to keep an eye on Timonen’s minutes this season, I think the flexibility that this contract allows the Flyers front office is fantastic.
Stats provided by Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com
Cap Information provided by Capgeek.