Flyers sign defenseman Timonen to a one-year deal

Kimmo Timonen
Kimmo Timonen
Posted: June 15, 2014

When the Flyers' season ended with a playoff loss to the New York Rangers, veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen figured he had played the final game of his stellar 15-year career.

"There were a lot of times I thought, 'OK, this was probably enough,' " he said in a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon.

But a couple weeks later, Timonen reconsidered, and on Friday he signed a one-year deal for $2 million plus incentives. He was paid $6 million last season.

"After a few weeks of working hard, I realized I could still do it. It wasn't the money," Timonen, who lives in Haddonfield, said before boarding a flight to return to his native Finland for 10 days. "Probably the biggest thing is my family really likes it here. They were on board, saying you've got to play one more year and go for it."

The signing means the Flyers have about $67 million committed to their 2014-15 salary cap. The NHL has not announced its cap limit, which is expected to be near $70 million.

The Flyers still need to re-sign restricted free agents Brayden Schenn and Jason Akeson, and a backup goalie. And they will get $4.9 million in cap relief when Chris Pronger is put on the long-term injured list at the start of the season.

New general manager Ron Hextall said that it was a "no-brainer" to re-sign Timonen, and that the only thing that delayed the process was whether the 39-year-old defenseman felt he could withstand the grind of one more season.

"I kind of let the process play out because sometimes it takes time," Hextall said. "Over the last two or three conversations, he's convinced that he's got enough in the tank to come back and play."

Hextall said the fact that Erik Gustafsson decided to play in Russia did not increase the Flyers' urgency to get a deal done with Timonen.

Timonen had six goals, 35 points and a plus-5 rating last season, when he was named the winner of the Barry Ashbee award, given to the team's top defenseman.

Barring a trade or a rookie's making the team, the Flyers will have the same top six defensemen as at the end of last season: Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Nick Grossmann, Mark Streit, Andrew MacDonald, and Luke Schenn.

With Timonen back, the Flyers likely won't rush promising young defensemen like Shayne Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg to the NHL at the start of the season. They figure to get some seasoning with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Hextall said Timonen could have gotten more money on the open market, but he "did not want to go down that road. Obviously he's a loyal person and he's the type of player we want."


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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