The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have acquired the rights to unrestricted free agent defenseman Dan Hamhuis, as well as a conditional 2011 draft pick, for Ryan Parent.
If the Flyers can ink Hamhuis to a deal, he will immediately bolster an already solid defensive core. He scored 5 goals and contributed 19 assists in 78 games last year with the Predators, but he is not known for his offensive ability. Instead, Hamhuis relies on a solid positional game to get the job done. The Flyers have until July 1st to sign him before he hits the open market (similar to the trade to acquire the rights to Timonen/Hartnell a few years back).
Hamhuis is 27 years of age and has spent his entire career with Nashville, even playing with Kimmo Timonen way back. He is expected to command up to $5 mil. per season on his next contract, so the Flyers would likely have to make another move to fit his salary under the cap.
In my opinion, the jury is still out on Ryan Parent. He's a young defenseman with plenty of potential, being a former first round pick, but he struggled with the Flyers this past year (especially in the postseason). In addition, he is constantly battling injuries, often associated with his balky back. But, d-men take time to develop, and Parent could go on and have a successful career with Nashville. Even if Parent blossoms into a solid NHL defenseman, Hamhuis already is one. If they can sign him to a reasonable contract, I really like this trade for the Flyers.
The Flyers most valuable trade chip is Jeff Carter, especially with their overwhelming depth at center. It is a very real possibility that the Flyers move Carter and his $5 mil. cap hit to clear room for Hamhuis. Philly needs to restock their farm system, so trading Carter for solid prospects and cap relief to a Western conference team wouldn't be a bad move. But he shouldn't be given away by any means.
Lastly, the biggest need for the Flyers heading into 2010-2011 is GOALTENDING. Will giving Hamhuis $5 mil. per leave enough cap space for them to sign a solid goalie? Tough to say, but in fairness, the free agent market for goalies is far from impressive. Homer's solution could be bolstering the defense, and signing an average goaltender like Leighton or Dan Ellis from Nashville. Then, you could trade Carter for a high pick and a goaltending prospect whom you can develop over the next year or two, using Ellis/Leighton to fill the gap. Your thoughts?