Now that the dust and shockwaves have settled from the Pronger trade, now the Flyers must determine how to fill out the roster for 2009 - 2010. The glaring needs at the moment are backup goaltending, a 2nd or 3rd line right wing and a 4th line center who can actually win a faceoff. Compounding the complexity of the situation is the fact that the Flyers are only 4.5 - 5 million under the cap at the moment. So let's look at the available options for each position and my opinion as to what Homer needs to do to round out the team and still allow some cap flexibility for injuries, etc.
Backup Goalie: - The prime suspects for this job include: Antero Niittymaki, Craig Anderson, Scott Clemmensen and Ty Conklin. With the exception of Niittymaki, all of the others made less than $1 million last year, and I think a one year offer at about 1.5 million would be appropriate for any of them. I would vote to keep Nitty, he's a team guy who doesn't complain and when he has a capable defense playing in front of him, he makes the stops he should make.
Right Wing: - Mike Knuble is the sentimental choice. He's been a valuable Flyer for a number of years and given the organizations' loyalty to players who perform and are quality citizens, with everything else being equal, I think he would be re-signed. The question becomes, can they afford him and is he willing to give the proverbial "home team discount" to remain a Flyer? He made 2.8 million last year and even if he would like to re-sign at that price, I'm not sure the Flyers can afford to do that, especially for a 36 year old who is not the fleetest of foot winger out there and who often is a defensive liability. If they look in-house, I would expect Andreas Nodl to start the season on wing while JVR gains some experience in Glens Falls. Other available options Tom Kostopoulous, Mikael Samuelsson and Tomas Kopecky, all of whom should be available in the 1.5 - 2 million range.
Fourth Line Center - From what I've seen, I don't think there's anyone out there in the Flyers price range who is worthy of pursuing. I think the job may be best left to Jared Ross. Although he didn't take a lot of draws last year, he did have a FOW % of 56.2. Now I know that was in a limited period of time, however with some extra work after practice, I believe he can do the job that's necessary, as well as chip a goal now and then.
So bottom line is that I expect about 3 - 3.5 million of the available cap room being spent on necessary parts, which will leave about 1.5 million for wiggle room to cover injuries.
Let me know if you agree, disagree or think I'm completely nuts (but don't ask my wife to answer that question)