Flyers working to sign Coburn

Posted: June 30, 2010

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren spent much of his time yesterday negotiating with current Flyers who are restricted free agents before the annual signing frenzy begins leaguewide tomorrow.

Braydon Coburn, Darroll Powe and Dan Carcillo are the Flyers' notable restricted free agents.

Powe and Carcillo should be due small raises - and were already offered the mandatory 110 percent salary hike. Both players could be looking for more. Coburn, on the other hand, could be due a lot more.

"The only one, I don't want to use the word difficult, but the only one would be Braydon Coburn. If you look at what he has done the last couple of years for our team he was probably underpaid," Holmgren said. "Right now we are just seeing how things fit. Obviously, they are at a number and we are at a number and we are trying to come to an agreement."

Coburn, 25, had a salary-cap hit of $1.3 million last season. Pittsburgh's Kris Letang, a player with similar stats and minutes played, signed a 4-year deal last offseason worth $3.5 million per season.

Coburn could command a shade below Letang's value, given that he played more than 25 minutes per night (25:09) during the Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup finals.

Holmgren and Coburn's agent, Gerry Johannson, began negotiating an extension back in March but were not close on a number then.

Coburn's presence could be what dissuaded Dan Hamhuis from signing with the Flyers. Holmgren said yesterday that Hamhuis' concern wasn't about money but for a defined role with big minutes.

"We never even got into money," Holmgren said. "It came down to a fit. I think at the end of the day, Dan was more geared toward waiting until July 1 before making any type of decision. I do believe that the chance of us having a shot [with him] on July 1 is still very good."

The worst-case scenario with Coburn would be arbitration, which could be an ugly fight in front of a judge. Coburn can file for arbitration on July 5; the Flyers can choose to file for arbitration on July 6 if Coburn does not.

Without Coburn, the Flyers would have to rely on Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen for even more minutes.

"I think we are in the market for another defenseman or two to try to improve ourselves," Holmgren said. "I don't think we are in a position where we can say, 'OK, we don't need to look at that.' We will continue to look at everything to try to improve our team."

For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at http://go.philly.com/frequentflyers.

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