Boucher signs for 2 years, $1.9M with Carolina

Posted: July 02, 2011

Brian Boucher knows free-agency day all too well.

Seemingly every other July 1, the day begins the same way at noon, with excitement and hope. As each hour passes and each roster spot is contracted to another player, the nerves start to set in.

Especially for a goaltender.

That's the dilemma Boucher faced yesterday before inking a new 2-year, $1.9 million deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. It ended Boucher's 2-year run in his second stint with the Flyers, one that ultimately began as Ray Emery's backup in 2009 and ended as the Flyers' playoff scapegoat.

Boucher is one of eight prominent players from last year's roster not to return for next season.

"At some point, when guys start signing, you want to make sure you have a spot to go," Boucher said. "I wanted a 2-year deal, and when players started to sign, I took the deal I got."

Boucher, 34, said he was "very sad" to leave the Flyers, who kept communications with one of the most well-liked players in their locker room open. But leaving his teammates and the organization he began his career with wasn't the hardest part.

It was breaking the news to his 9-year-old son Tyler, who has essentially grown up in the Philadelphia area, despite moving to Phoenix, Chicago and San Jose.

"There is more to it than the Flyers," Boucher said. "My son, when I told him we were signing in Carolina, had tears in his eyes. He asked me, 'Dad, are you getting traded?' He doesn't understand free agency yet.

"He got sad. He has his friends and his hockey team here. That's the tough part. It's a good thing kids are resilient; he'll get past it."

Boucher, whom Carolina GM Jim Rutherford said will get 20 to 25 games this season as Cam Ward's backup, said he was excited for the opportunity.

"My role has always been defined," Boucher said. "I know who I am and what I am. I'm glad my role is important to the team. I'm hoping I can win some games and make sure Cam is as fresh as he can be heading into the playoffs."

Leino gets rich

Up until 15 minutes before the start of the free agency, the Flyers tried to work out a deal to bring back Ville Leino.

His demands were too rich for him to remain in Philadelphia.

Instead, Leino made one of the biggest splashes, signing a 6-year, $27 million deal with Buffalo, only a couple of months after knocking the Sabres out of the playoffs.

"The sense for us was that Ville was going to get multiple opportunities to get a lot more than we were prepared to offer him," general manager Paul Holmgren said. "I think Ville had a lot of offers in that range, maybe even some higher than that. I think Ville was really good for us, and we wish him all the best. I'm happy for him."

Leino, a waiver-wire pickup in February 2010, picked up 57 points with the Flyers, plus another 26 in the playoffs, where he set a single-season rookie playoff record in 2010.

Versteeg traded

Kris Verteeg, after spending only 3 months here, was shipped to Florida to complete a long-rumored transaction. He was dealt in exchange for second- and third-round picks.

Versteeg was set to make $3.083 million next season. Holmgren said the move was done to create a little more flexibility in the salary cap. Versteeg will be reunited with Dale Tallon, the general manager who brought him to Chicago.

The Flyers got a decent return for Versteeg, after sending their own first- and third-round picks to Toronto for him on Valentine's Day. While his play was considered a disappointment, Versteeg collected 18 points in 38 games for the Flyers, including the playoffs.

Slap shots

Dan Carcillo, who became an unrestricted free agent after the Flyers chose to not tender him an offer on Monday, signed a 1-year deal in Chicago worth $775,000 . . . Defenseman Sean O'Donnell signed a 1-year deal in Chicago for $850,000. Holmgren said O'Donnell was the Flyers' backup option after Andreas Lilja . . . Three players the Flyers had interest in signed elsewhere: Erik Cole (4 years, $18 million) to Montreal; Michael Ryder (2 years, $7 million), Dallas; and Michal Handzus (2 years, $5 million) San Jose . . . Holmgren said the Flyers "are close" to re-signing restricted free agent Wayne Simmonds, who was part of the Mike Richards trade from Los Angeles. *

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