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Flyers buy out final season of Umberger's contract

Forward had two goals in 39 games, was healthy scratch in 23 of final 24

NHL.com @NHL

The Philadelphia Flyers bought out the final season of forward R.J. Umberger's contract Thursday. 

Umberger, 34, had an NHL salary-cap charge of $4.6 million for 2016-17, according to GeneralFanager.com. It was the final season of a five-year, $23 million contract he signed Sept. 20, 2011 while a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

"We need [salary-cap] space," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall told CSNPhilly.com. "We've got guys that are coming up like [Shayne Gostisbehere] and [Brayden] Schenn and [Radko] Gudas. We need space."

Schenn and Gudas can be a restricted free agent July 1. Gostisbehere will be a restricted free agent after next season.

Umberger had two goals and nine assists in 39 games this season. He was a healthy scratch in 23 of the Flyers' final 24 regular-season games and all six Stanley Cup Playoff games. 

During the Flyers' end-of-season press conference, Umberger said he was expecting to have his contract bought out. 

"Who wouldn't after my season?" Umberger told the Courier-Post on April 26. "That's something up to them, their decision. Business side of it, you can't control that."

Umberger spent his first three NHL seasons with the Flyers and was traded to the Blue Jackets after the 2007-08 season. The Blue Jackets traded him to the Flyers on June 23, 2014 for forward Scott Hartnell.  

In the past two seasons, Umberger had 11 goals and 26 points in 106 games. 

"It hasn't been a great two years," Umberger said. "It's not what I imagined when I came here, but that's life. Last year I was hurt and it was obvious that I was hurt the way I was playing. I felt great coming into the season, high expectations, and I felt my play, when I did play, was better than last year. I just wasn't scoring." 

In 11 NHL seasons with the Flyers and Blue Jackets, Umberger has 180 goals and 392 points in 779 games. He scored at least 20 goals five times.

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