Even after dramatically reshaping the Flyers last June 23, on the eve of the NHL draft, Holmgren did not deny on Monday that he would like to add pieces this summer to help put the Flyers over the top.
Without specifically touching on a player or position, Holmgren agreed that he would be "as proactive" as he has been in summers past to make the Flyers better.
"If we can improve our team, we'll do what it takes," Holmgren said at a news conference at the team's practice facility in Voorhees. "We'll take a peek on July 1 and see what's available, and if there's a way we can improve our team we'll take a shot at it.
“I like our team. I think our younger guys are just going to continue to get better. I think we're going to continue to look around and see what's going to make us even better."
Holmgren said that whatever personnel changes the Flyers are going to make likely would come by addition after the July 1 free-agency period opens.
Unlike last year, Holmgren does not appear to have the appetite to acquire the exclusive negotiating rights to some of the market's marquee unrestricted free agents before July 1 rolls around. That would include high-priced prizes such as Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter and New Jersey forward Zach Parise.
The Flyers acquired Ilya Bryzgalov on June 7 last year, at chairman Ed Snider's demand, which forced the blockbuster trades of Carter and Richards to make room under the salary cap. In the end, the Flyers were bidding against themselves — since very few teams were going to make a big push for Bryzgalov on the open market.
The result? A whopping 9-year, $51 million deal for Bryzgalov — one that likely keeps Holmgren up at night.
Holmgren said his stance heading into this weekend's draft in Pittsburgh has little to do with the players, but more on principle.
"Looking back, I'm not sure if we waited, we could've gotten the player for the same price," Holmgren said, without naming any particular deal.
On June 18, 2007, the Flyers worked out a similar trade with Nashville for the rights to Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen. Both players are entering the final season of their 6-year deals totaling $63.2 million. Those worked out in the Flyers' favor.
This year, Suter and Parise both seem destined to watch teams clamor for their services on July 1.
Even a trade for Columbus star Rick Nash seems to be one that will go down after the draft, since the Blue Jackets — after their Carter debacle last summer — will need to make sure they get the right deal for their franchise cornerstone before sending him packing.
Over the weekend, an Internet report said Nash — who has a no-trade clause and 6 years left on his $62 million deal — vetoed a trade to Philadelphia. Holmgren laughed when asked about the report, saying he didn't "know anything about it."
Nash, 28, has nearly 300 career goals and led the league in goals in 2003-04, with 41.
The Flyers are interested in the big names, because, well, they are the Flyers. There is hardly a marquee name on the market that the Flyers don't at least peruse — and this summer is no different. Sometimes, as in the case with Jaromir Jagr last summer, it happens out of the blue.
Holmgren pegged the 40-year-old Jagr's chances of re-signing with the Flyers at "50-50," and said he definitely would be interested in having him return. Holmgren said he was "fairly confident" the Flyers could re-sign unrestricted free agent defenseman Matt Carle.
Both players, though, will have to hit free agency, since the Flyers cannot possibly sign them before July 1 because of salary-cap restraints. The cap is temporarily expected to rise to $70.3 million before a new labor deal is hashed out.
For now, that means this important draft week — where trade talk always runs rampant with all 30 NHL general managers in a room at the same time — likely will be quiet for the Flyers. Unless, you know, there is a fire sale before then.
"We've had lots of conversations here about trying to improve our team," Holmgren said. "We'll continue to have those conversations. We'll take a peek and see."
Paul Holmgren said the status of injured captain Chris Pronger, who is back in the St. Louis area with his family, remains the same. "He has good days and bad days," Holmgren said. He added that Pronger has spent time watching video of prospects and attended staff scouting meetings for a peek at life in the front office … The Flyers' first pick is at No. 20 overall on Friday night in Pittsburgh … Last week, the Flyers made minimum qualifying offers to restricted free agents Jakub Voracek, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Tom Sestito, Ben Holmstrom and Harry Zolnierczyk to retain their rights for next season.
Contact Frank Seravalli at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DNFlyers. Read his blog at www.philly.com/FrequentFlyers.