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Flyers to use compliance buyout on forward Briere

by Adam Kimelman

Calling it both a sad and hopeful day, Danny Briere told reporters Thursday he was ready to move on from the Philadelphia Flyers.

The team announced earlier Thursday it would buy out the final two years of Briere's eight-year, $52 million contract.

By using one of the two compliance buyouts allotted to each team as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Flyers will save $6.5 million against the salary cap in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

He signed his contract with the Flyers in the summer of 2007 and had at least 25 goals in three of his six seasons, helping the team reach the Eastern Conference Final twice and get to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010.

In 15 NHL seasons Briere, a 1996 first-round pick (No. 24) of the Phoenix Coyotes, has 286 goals and 659 points in 847 games with the Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres and Flyers.

However, he had his worst offensive season in 2012-13, finishing with six goals and 16 points in 34 games.

"I met with Danny last week and informed him of our decision to use a compliance buyout on his contract," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said in a statement. "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."

Briere said he wasn't surprised when the Flyers told him he was going to be bought out and said he appreciated the way the organization handled the situation.

"That's why I have so much respect for the Flyers organization -- Mr. Holmgren, [team president Peter] Luukko, [chairman Ed] Snider and everybody that works in the Flyers organization," Briere said. "They were respectful the whole time. It wasn't an easy thing for them, either, meeting with me and having to break the news. But they did it with a lot of class. I'll always be grateful for that and also my time here as a Flyer."

Briere said he wasn't sure what was next for him but said he would like to play at least two or three more seasons.

"I've been here a long time," he said of Philadelphia. "This is home now for me and my family. Yes, it's not an easy day, but at the same time, I’ve seen all the rumors and reality was that it was going to happen. Like I said, it's sad, but at the same time, hopefully it's new doors that open, new opportunities. Obviously I'm not very happy with the way last season went, but it's also extra motivation moving forward, to prove that I can still play, and hopefully I still have a few more years."

Briere said there was no bitterness on his part toward the Flyers and said the only season he wasn't happy with was 2012-13, because of his play and the team missing the playoffs.

"There's a lot of good times," he said. "The first five years here were amazing. Obviously last year, not making the playoffs was a tough season -- the lockout, the short season. That was the tough one. But before that, the previous five, there's a lot of good memories. But the one that I think stands out the most is the [2010] playoff run, making the playoffs in the last regular-season game on the shootout, and then going on that run all the way to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. That's definitely the best little stretch of my time here."

That postseason Briere had a League-high 30 points in 23 games, and his 12 points against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final was one point shy of Wayne Gretzky's League record of 13.

Briere has made a habit of raising his game in the postseason. He has 109 points in 108 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, a 1.01 point-per-game average that ranks sixth among active players.

A single father to sons ages 14, 13 and 12, Briere said they'll have a say in where he plays next.

"There's a lot of things that we will have to consider," he said. "Obviously the kids is an issue. We'll have to consider also if it's a team that has a chance to win a Stanley Cup or not, a team that might have a role for me or not. Those are all questions that at this point I don't really know, and I don't know which one's going to take over. Obviously I'd prefer to be close to the kids, but we don't know if it's going to be an option or not."

No matter where he ends up signing, however, he said the Philadelphia region was going to remain his permanent home.

"This is my home," he said. "Wherever I'm going to end up, the kids are staying here and I'm coming back here. Yeah, this is my home. This is what we consider home now."

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