By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
As free agency arrived on Wednesday, the belief was the Flyers were positioning themselves to do something big and noteworthy. A local product, who happens to be an All-Star and produced 115 points last season, wanted to come home and sign for team he rooted for growing up.
The Flyers, strapped in cap space by bad contracts, made a difficult decision to buy out Oskar Lindblom on Tuesday to start freeing up cap space. That was not going to be enough to accomplish what they wanted, signing Johnny Gaudreau.
Ultimately, the Flyers were not able to move James van Riemsdyk’s contract without parting ways with a first-round pick, which management balked at. That meant that Gaudreau will go elsewhere, with division foes the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders reportedly as finalists. Gaudreau had not signed with a team as of Wednesday afternoon.
In lieu of that, the Flyers made three roster moves on Wednesday. To fill a hole in the third defensive pairing, they brought back Justin Braun, reportedly on a one-year deal. They also added physical fourth-line forward Nicolas Deslauriers on a four-year deal with a $1.75 million AAV.
The Flyers also made a deal with forward Cooper Marody, originally a sixth-round pick of the team in 2015 that is more of a minor-league depth move.
That was it for the so-called “aggressive” Flyers, who seemed to be anything but as the hours passed on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, many teams around the league were much more active, adding players and making improvements to their team. One team that had already made a mark on the offseason, the Ottawa Senators, added a familiar face as their veteran presence to a young core.
Claude Giroux signed a three-year deal with a $6.5 million AAV to join the Senators, near his hometown of Hearst, Ontario. Giroux becomes part of a young core that includes recent draft picks Tim Stutzle, Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot, and recently-acquired scoring winger Alex DeBrincat.
Another move involving a former Flyer on Wednesday came from the San Jose Sharks, who added Lindblom one day after buying him out on a two-year deal with a $2.5 million AAV.