It has been reported recently that the Flyers, along with a few other NHL teams, are very interested in the possibility of signing unrestricted free agents Miroslav Satan or Petr Sykora.
Both players have offensive skill. Both players have great veteran experience. Both players are getting old...
Satan is 34 and Sykora is 32. Both players still have some years left in the NHL.
There are a few differences however. Sykora has won a at least 2 cups, while Satan has won just one. Sykora is regarded as a better defensive player than Satan.
The question the Flyers organization is most likely asking themselves is, "Which one would benefit the team the most?"
First off, I would like to say that either player would be a good asset to the Flyers roster in 2009-2010, one that lost a good chunk of offensive power with the departures of Knuble and Lupul. Last season, Sykora had a slightly higher point total than Satan, putting up 25 goals and 21 assists for 46 points in 76 games played for Pittsburgh. Satan, on the other hand, totaled 17 goals and 19 assists for 36 points in 65 games played, also for the Penguins. However, in 2007-2008, Sykora put up a solid 28 goals, 35 assists for 63 points in 81 games, while Satan posted 41 points in 80 games.
So as far as statistics go, both players would provide the Flyers with some offensive production on a currently less than adequate 3rd offensive line. Sykora seems slightly more The problem is, what about the money?
Last season, Satan had a contract with the Penguins for 3.5 mill. This is fairly hefty for a player who only put up about 40 points the last two seasons, though the Penguins probably thought he would produce more. Sykora, however, had a contract for 2.5 mill and put up more points in his last two seasons than Satan.
Most likely, the Flyers could certainly come up with an easy way to sign Sykora to a deal less than 2 mill. Let's face it, if that wasn't the case, Sykora would have been signed already. Satan on the other hand, might not take anything less than 2 mill.
I look at some of the recent signings of players that took a huge cut in order to get onto a roster and get some playing time. A good example is Antero Niittymaki. He was earning about 1.2 mill with the Flyers before he resigned with Tampa Bay. Now he is making half of that. Also, what about Mark Recchi? He just signed a 1 year deal with Boston for 1 mill and put up 60+ points last season. Granted, he's 41 years old, but I believe the Flyers could meet somewhere in the middle around 1.5 mill with a contract for Sykora. A contract with Satan would most likely have to be a little higher.
It may be a different situation with forwards like Sykora and Satan, but they are definitely going to have to take less money if they want a good roster spot. I have a some ideas as to how the Flyers could sign either of these forwards. Here's the simplest one I could come up with:
If the Flyers signed Sykora to a deal worth about 2 mill, they shouldn't have too much trouble clearing cap space. In my opinion, Daniel Carcillo could easily go. That would save almost 900K that isn't really adding to our cause. I would also be bold enough to say that Andreas Nodl could be dealt as well. His 800K contract isn't really helping our team either. That right there clears up about 1.7 mill. Add that to the cap space that we already have and you've got a solid 2 mill+ to work with to try and sign Sykora. I also want to make it clear that I wouldn't like to spend 2 mill on Sykora, but it would give us enough space to work out a deal to sign him. Anything above 1.5 mill is asking a lot, in my opinion.
I thought about a possible scenario in order to sign Satan, but it didn't take long for me to realize that I would just rather have Sykora. Satan doesn't have the all-around playing ability that Sykora has, nor the leadership skills either.
The only obstacles I can see with the Flyers attempting to sign Sykora is the possibility that Sykora and his agent play the "I just won a cup and scored 25 goals last season" card. It's an impressive card, but is it worth more than 2 mill? Possibly. Mike Knuble got a 2.8 mill per year contract with Washington and put up about the same numbers last season. My only response to Sykora would be that despite winning the cup last season, he appeared in 7 games and had one assist. What say you now Petr?
I would like to know what you think. Who would be the better player to sign? I vote for Sykora all the way and think it's more realistic. Yay or nay?
Constructive criticism and thoughts much appreciated.