When the Flyers were coming off the worst season in franchise history in 2006-07, there was one free agent who showed a belief in the organization that it would recover, and do so quickly.
Danny Briere signed with the Flyers, despite receiving offers from 14 different teams. It was his willingness to sign here that made the team attractive again to other players who would eventually come in and make the Flyers a true contender again very quickly.
But now, that same contract has proved prohibitive for the Flyers in a summer when the salary cap is being reduced by six million dollars.
As such, the team has informed Briere that it will use one of two available compliance buyouts to part ways with the popular forward, as has been speculated for some time.
“I met with Danny last week and informed him of our decision to use a compliance buyout on his contract,” said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. “This was a very difficult decision for us to make as Danny has been a very good player for us over the past six years.
“Danny came to our organization as a free agent in July of 2007 and has been a tremendous player, person and role model in all aspects and for that we thank him. We wish him continued success and best wishes in any future endeavors.”
The contract became a problem because of the cap number, not necessarily the money owed.
Because Briere’s contract was front-loaded when he signed with the Flyers, he got most of his $52 million in the first handful of years of the eight-year deal.
He had two years remaining and while he was only owed $3 million for next season and $2 million the season after, Briere, 35, still had to have a cap hit of $6.5 million per the rules in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which says the Average Annual Value (AAV) of a player’s contract counts toward the cap, not the specific dollar figure.
The Flyers will now have to pay Briere 66.6 percent of his remaining money owed - $3.335 million – but will have twice as long to pay it as was the term remaining on his contract. This means the Flyers will pay Briere $833,750 per season for the next four seasons. As a result, the team will get cap relief by not having any portion of his contract count against the cap.
Each team was afforded two compliance buyouts (aka: amnesty) as part of the new CBA that can be used either this offseason or next offseason. This means the Flyers have one left in their back pocket.
“I just want to say thank you to all the fans and my teammates for the wonderful last six years here,” Briere said. “Also, I want to thank the Flyers organization for treating me so well during my stay here. I will always be grateful to everyone around the team for my time spent as a Flyer.”
In 364 regular season games with the Flyers, Briere was a solid contributor posting 124 goals and 159 assists for 283 points in six seasons. He ranks 29th on the Flyers all-time scoring list.
However, where Briere was really special was as a post-season performer. In five playoff seasons with the Flyers, Briere played in 68 games and notched eye-popping numbers with 37 goals and 35 assists for 72 points.
He set a franchise record for points in a post season with 30 in 2010 scoring 12 goals and adding 18 assists in 23 games, leading the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals. He also led the entire NHL in playoff scoring that season. His 30 points were the third most in the NHL since the league resumed with new rules after the 2004-05 lockout.
For his career, Briere has played in parts of 15 NHL seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres and the Flyers and has played in 847 games. In that time he has accrued 286 goals and 373 assists for 659 points.
In the playoffs, he has posted 50 goals and 59 assists for 109 points in 108 playoff games. His 109 points rank tied for 67th all-time in NHL playoff scoring and is fifth-most among active players.
Among the top 50-active playoff scorers in the NHL, Briere is one of only six players who averages more than a point per playoff game (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Martin St. Louis, Alex Ovechkin and Claude Giroux are the others) and Briere has more points than all of them.
Stay tuned for more from Briere later today.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37