Philadelphia Flyers Fans Look Mournfully at Free Agent Crop

The Philadelphia Flyers have a little bit of cap wiggle room, but few possible signings bring much value

You’d think for a group of people whose job it is to sign players and manage contracts, they’d be intimately familiar with the term. I’d bet, however, if you threw the term “winners curse” at NHL GMs, they would give you a blank stare.

This term actually refers to an economic phenomenon whereby auction contests over an asset lead to systemic overpricing. Therefore, when a team “wins” the bidding to land a free agent, the team has lost in another sense by likely overpaying for the asset.

NHL free agency is rife with such cursed winners. By the end of so many contracts born of the free agency period, all the talk is about how bad the contract is, and if the team can find any way to get out of the contract.

So it might not be so bad that the Philadelphia Flyers physically will not be able to get stupid when a team like the Vancouver Canucks foolishly drives up prices for everyone as they try to buy their way out of mediocrity on the free agent market. Depending on the assumptions you make regarding pending Flyers free agents, the Flyers have $3 million or so in cap space to play with. The only way they could even get a seat at the table for someone like Okposo, Eriksson, or Lucic is to find a taker for Streit and/or Read. (Despite my past wishful thinking tracking Loui Eriksson).

That leaves the Flyers in the hunt for free agents like Troy Brouwer and Jamie McGinn, as Sam Carchidi has suggested. First off, any player can be a good signing if the price and term are right. That said, I am pretty skeptical of these signings.

For one, McGinn just isn’t a very good player. At his best, he’s a borderline top-6 forward. Giving him significant term or money is a near guaranteed regret.

Brouwer might be a better bet. He’s scored more consistently than McGinn, and he looked pretty strong for the Blues in the playoffs this spring. And yet, he still doesn’t make enough of an impact that he’s worth signing to a “winner cursed” contract.

It’s a little depressing that the best rumor I can find regarding free agent targets of the Philadelphia Flyers right now is for Islanders 4th liner Matt Martin. Paul Holmgen wouldn’t stand for this state of affairs, but Ron Hextall knows prudence is the better part of valor.

Let’s just passively watch the free agent frenzy In Philly from a distance for one year.