Timonen Coming Back and What That Means
Kimmo Timonen has always done his best work under the radar.
When the Flyers acquired Timonen in June 2007, most fans expected the 5-foot-10, 194-pound Timonen to provide flash. He was supposed to be the offensive spark that the team missed for years.
Timonen never reached 50 points like he did in his last two seasons with Nashville, but he did become the Flyers’ rock.
In his first five seasons in Philadelphia, he never played fewer than 76 games nor averaged less than 21 minutes per night.
It’s easy to forget just where the Flyers were before Timonen arrived. The team had the worst record in hockey and the talent to match. Since Kimmo got here, the team has gone to the Eastern Conference finals twice in five years, including his first season in Orange and Black.
Timonen will earn $6 million. That seems crazy. The soon-to-be 38-year-old is a step slower, no question.
What’s really remarkable, however, is how consistent his numbers remained despite his advancing age.
There are a couple early responses that have surfaced around the fan base:
- Kimmo Timonen is awesome, glad he’ll be back.
- He looks old, do we really want to bring him back for another year?
- How are we going to upgrade the roster with so much cap space devoted toward next season (if reports are correct, $62.1 of the 64.3 million cap will be occupied).
The second is addressed in the stats. He might not make it look as easy as he once did, but Timonen is still a productive player. The Flyers are better with him on the ice than off it and his production is still comparable to his first five years in Philadelphia.
While it is a bit surprising that Timonen can still garner $6 mil, the Flyers will be able to open up more cap space for next season with the use of amnesty tags and long-term injured reserve.
Also, what big-name defensemen will be available? Look at this list. Next summer is pretty disappointing for a team in need of help at the blue line. Maybe the Flyers won’t be able to make a run at big names like Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, or any of the forwards set to hit the market. But that might be a good thing.
Next year, the Flyers should feature these guys:
Centers: Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, Scott Laughton
Wingers: Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, Matt Read, Tye McGinn, Eric Wellwood, Max Talbot
Don’t forget that the Flyers also have Ruslan Fedetenko and Nick Cousins, who could be ready for the NHL next season.
That’s a young, talented group of forwards. Do the Flyers really need to break the bank this summer on a forward? Danny Briere could also be back, but he’s an amnesty possibility. We’ll see.
Hey, losing Scott Hartnell sucked. It sucked even harder when Wayne Simmonds got hurt. Losing a pair of top-six wingers hurts your depth, no question. You know it’s ugly when Tom Sestito is responsible for scoring.
We’ve all noticed this and everyone freaked out, leading many to believe that a trade is necessary.
That said, this isn’t a problem to solve with money and names. This is a problem with the Flyers’ inability to develop their farm system. This team has enough top-line talent when healthy, and those guys will return.
But I digress; a one-year commitment to Timonen could be an admission. Paul Holmgren might know that his best bet is to wait for his young forwards to progress and take the next step. By bringing back Timonen for one year and $6 million, he might realize that tying up long-term cap space in an unnecessary big name is an ill-advised path to follow.
Likewise, the defense would be in shambles without Timonen or a defenseman of his caliber. Timonen is this team’s best option for next year. And hey, if you can’t roll over cap space, might as well spend it. YOLO, or something.
Flyers fans are always looking for the next shoe to drop, and it’s hard to blame them. This team is rumored to be in on just about every major deal, and is as aggressive as any organization in professional sports.
There might not be a next move, however. Holmgren and company might finally be committed to building around this young nucleus.
Time will tell what happens, and it’s almost impossible to project. But the Timonen deal isn’t bad despite his age, and it might be the best way to use that cap space for next season.