Caps should have new faces on the bench
If they cannot come to terms with Mike Ribeiro before July 5 the Capitals may be in the market for a second-line center who can complement top-line pivot Nicklas Backstrom.
On Thursday, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced that second-line center Danny Briere will be one of the team's two compliance buyouts, making him a free agent on July 5.
Briere is 35 and coming off the worst offensive season of his career – six goals, 10 assists in 34 games. He is seeking a two- or three-year deal and would prefer to play close to his home in Southern New Jersey, where he is a single father of three sons, ages 14, 13 and 12.
The Caps and Flyers will be playing in the same division next season. Which means ...
“There’s a lot of things that we will have to consider,” Briere told reporters on Thursday. “Obviously, the kids is an issue. We’ll have to consider also if it’s a team that has a chance to win a Stanley Cup or not, a team that might have a role for me or not.
“Those are all questions that at this point I don't really know, and I don't know which one’s going to take over. Obviously, I'd prefer to be close to the kids, but we don’t know if it’s going to be an option or not.”
It’s unclear what kind of contract demands Briere will have as a free agent. The eight-year, $52 million contract he signed with the Flyers in 2007 was heavily front-loaded, nosediving from $10 million in the first year to $3 million in 2013-14 and $2 million in 2014-15.
As part of the buyout compliance, the Flyers will pay Briere a total of $3.3 million over the next four years, averaging $833,333 a year.
With that in mind, it’s difficult to determine Briere’s value in the open market, especially since he missed time this season with a concussion. Would it be $3 million per season? Two million? Four million? More?
And at the age of 35, can Briere give a team like the Caps the same offensive options Ribeiro [13 goals, 26 assists] gave them this season, but at a lower price and a shorter term?
Briere certainly has a wealth of playoff experience. His average of 1.01 points per game in the playoffs, highlighted by 30 points in 23 playoff games in 2010, rank sixth among active players and his 109 points in 108 career games would easily be the most on the Caps’ roster.
“Obviously, I'm not very happy with the way last season went,” Briere told reporters. “But it's also extra motivation moving forward, to prove that I can still play, and hopefully I still have a few more years.”
Question is, where will those years be spent?