Forget the Steven Stamkos hype. The Flyers have decided not to pursue the Tampa Bay superstar.
Yes, the Flyers kicked the tires and thought about giving the 21-year-old center an offer sheet.
“But it was nothing serious, really,” Peter Luukko, president of the Flyers’ parent company, Comcast-Spectacor, said on Thursday evening.
The Flyers, who are now among the teams interested in 39-year-old winger Jaromir Jagr, are happy with the team general manager Paul Holmgren has assembled, Luukko said, and would have had to remove some key pieces to fit Stamkos under the cap.
“Plus you’re talking about giving away four No. 1 picks,” Luukko said. “We like what we have and the (salary-cap) flexibility we have moving forward _ and that’s important.”
Stamkos, who has an NHL-best 96 goals over the last two years, is a restricted free agent. Even if the Flyers had given him an offer sheet, Tampa could have matched it.
The Lightning could have waited seven days before matching it, effectively crippling the Flyers’ pursuit of unrestricted free agents.
Luukko said the published numbers being floated around _ some said the Flyers were considering a 12-year deal for $115 million _ were bogus.
“We never got to numbers. Never got that serious,” he said.
Luukko said he, Holmgren and club chairman Ed Snider kicked around the idea of what Stamkos would mean to the Flyers, but that it didn’t make sense to dismantle the team.
Now the Flyers will turn the attention to the free-agency period, which starts at noon on Friday.
The Flyers are considering several options, including winger Erik Cole, who won a Stanley Cup with coach Peter Laviolette in Carolina.
Other tempting free agents include Michael Ryder, Jamie Langenbrunner, Michal Handzus, Simon Gagne and John Madden. The Flyers are not pursuing Brad Richards, a club source said.
The Flyers would like to re-sign prospective free-agent Ville Leino, but they had not made much progress as of Thursday night.
The Flyers could land Jagr, a five-time NHL scoring champion. He wants to return to the NHL after playing three seasons in Russia.
Jagr is also being courted by Pittsburgh, Detroit and others. He figures to get about a $2 million contract.
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Jeff Carter, in a conference call with reporters Thursday, said he has finally come to grips with the deal that sent him to Columbus for Jakub Voracek and two draft picks.
“I know it’s part of the game,” he said.
Carter, who averaged 38 goals over the last three seasons, acknowledged that he and his best friend, Mike Richards, were floored to each be traded.
“It was definitely a tough time for both of us,” he said, adding he was excited to have a “fresh start” in Columbus.
Carter, 26, said he enjoyed living in Philadelphia and playing before sellouts virtually every night. The fans, he said, made every game “a huge pickup for the team.”
Carter said he was undecided about whether he would keep his home in Sea Isle. “I obviously love being down there,” he said.
Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at BroadStBull.
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