...but Paul Holmgren has just shown how bad of a GM he is. He has drastically overpaid for Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell.
Hartnell, 24, has a great deal of potential, and when he was drafted was pegged to be a captain some day. But in the last two years that has faded away, and he's had numerous head-on collisions with the coaching staff, and most of the locker room could not tolerate him.
His cap hit for the Flyers: $4.2M for 6 years. Hartnell's actual value: about $3M.
Kimmo Timonen, a two-time All-Star and Olympian, wanted entirely too much money to begin with. He was asking $5M from a team with major financial problems due to a lack of corporate support. I just hope his family isn't too upset with the deal. Kimmo was also under very little pressure to succeed in Nashville, where he has played all 10 years of his career.
His cap hit for the Flyers: a whopping $6.2M. His actual value: $4M. So Holmgren paid 1.5 times the actual value for Timonen.
Spenidng $10.4M on two players is hardly financially wise for any team in the NHL, unless their names are St. Louis and Lecavalier, Crosby and Malkin, Briere and Drury, and Timonen and Hartnell are far from any of those. Even if the team improves (which shouldn't be too hard) over last year, they would have to win the division, or maybe even the conference, for these signings to be vindicated. And with the Sabres spending to the cap (meaning they might retain Drury, Briere and Vanek), the Senators maintaining, almost entirely the team that dominated the Eastern Conference Playoffs, and the Peguins rapidly emerging as the best team in the Atlantic with a ridiculous amount of young talent, including the triple-crown winner Sidney Crosby, that's not likely to happen.
I think the Flyers might make the playoffs, but it won't be easy. And if it doesn't happen, then obviously Paul Holmgren will be wiping the egg off his face... for six years.
The Predators, meanwhile, are still a viable playoff team in the West. They still have an incredibly talented team. If they sign Paul Kariya to a new contract, this team is still one of the best in the West, and possibly the NHL.
Look for Poile to dig deep and find some of those "day two guys" like Shero (who was mentored by Poile), as somebody here said, to shore up the third forward line. This team is still one of the top in the West.
Also, the Predators have signed Mike Santorelli to an entry-level contract. He was 16th in the nation in overall scoring (47), 3rd in goals scored(30), and 6th in power play goals(11), as well as being 7th in shorthanded goals(4). Predators fans may remember his insane request of $200k to play the final 9 games of the Milwaukee Admirals' season.