Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/07/06 at 10:30 AM ET
This week's signings brings the Flyers' current payroll to about $35.5 million. If Gagne agrees to a deal worth about $5 million and Pitkanen signs for around $2 million, the Flyers will be left with a payroll of about $42.5 million, about $1.5 million below the NHL's new $44 million salary cap. That should explain why the Flyers did not make a big splash in the free-agent market. Still, Flyers general manager Bob Clarke thinks his 2006-07 roster will be better than the one that finished in a first-place tie with the New Jersey Devils with 101 points. "We signed our big guys last year," Clarke said, referring to Peter Forsberg, Derian Hatcher, Mike Rathje and Mike Knuble (in 2004). "Our weaknesses, even when we were healthy, was that our third and fourth lines weren't scoring enough. This year we got faster, more skilled, smaller players for our third and fourth lines that we think we are going to be a better team than we were last year. Until all of our injuries we were a real good team last year."more
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