The Philadelphia Flyers salary cap situation has always generated a colorful discussion. During his tenure, former GM Paul Holmgren made some great moves and some questionable moves with contracts. Now with Ron Hextall in charge, he is set to fix some of Holmgren’s mistakes and get the Flyers salary cap under control.
After the owners and the NHLPA agreed on a new CBA, the salary cap ceiling dipped to $64.3 million for the 2013-14 season. Back in June, the salary cap ceiling rose to $69 million. A seven percent increase from the previous season.
The salary cap following the 2014-15 season should increase even more thanks to the new television deal with Rogers Communications. The Winter Classic and one additional outdoor game will bring in more revenue for the league. Another seven percent increase could vault the ceiling to $73.8 million.
The Flyers are pressed for cap space this year. They are more than $3 million over the cap, but Chris Pronger‘s LTIR relief will make them compliant by the first game of the season. When July 1, 2015 rolls around, Hextall and co. will have several player entering free agency. None of these players has a deal worth more than $2 million.
Rinaldo will be a restricted free agent, so Hextall could send a qualifying offer to retain his rights. This upcoming season could determine if the Flyers plan on keeping Rinaldo. The 24-year-old has made great strides since coming into the league, but if he does not show a more disciplined style of play, Rinaldo could be looking for a new home.
Timonen may come back for another season. It will all depend on the development of the prospects and if his body can take another year of pro hockey.
Emery’s return for this season is nothing to worry about. He played better than his stats indicated and gave a valiant effort in the first round of the playoffs.
The 2014-15 season could be Emery’s final year in Philadelphia. There are several goalies who are pending free agents in 2015 and most of them are better than Emery.
Overall, the Flyers will gain $6 million of cap space. The likelihood of that number staying the same is low. Akeson, Rinaldo and Timonen could each return on cheap, short-term deals.
If the salary cap goes up another seven percent, and if Hextall does not sign any of the pending free agents the Flyers could make a big splash next July. Several players, including left wing Bobby Ryan, could hit the market.
The Flyers have not had to worry about the salary cap in quite some time. The coming years and proper management by the front office could yield the prize the Flyers have sought for more than 40 years.