Free agency shaping the Flyers

Wayne Simmonds (right) could join a line with young talent in James van Riemsdyk (left) and Claude Giroux. (AP Photos)

The Flyers failed to sign free-agent winger Simon Gagne, who opted for a two-year deal with Los Angeles on Saturday that will pay him a total of $7 million ($3.5M per season).

The Flyers have about $3.3 million in cap space _ $4.4 million after Ian Laperriere goes on the LTIR list _ and still need to sign RFA winger Wayne Simmonds.

A deal with Simmonds is expected to be finalized in a few days.

"Even if we don't do anything else, I'm very happy with the team we've put together," said Peter Luukko, president of of the Flyers' parent company, Comcast-Spectacor.

The Flyers are counting on their defense being one of the NHL's best.

They are also relying on newcomers Simmonds, Jaromir Jagr and Jakub Voracek to have big seasons and help compensate for the loss of Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Ville Leino, three players who combined for 78 goals last season.

Here is how the Flyers' lines may look:

** Hartnell-Briere-Jagr.

** JVR-Giroux-Simmonds.

** Talbot-Schenn-Voracek (Talbot can also play C)

** Shelley-Betts-Nodl.

NOTE: C Sean Couturier, the team's highly touted No. 1 dratt pick, is a threat to crack the lineup. Ditto promising Matt Read.

Still, it's far from an overpowering group, which means the Flyers will have to rely on strong goaltending and defense if they are to end their 36-year Stanley Cup drought.

* * *

The Flyers will hold a prospect development camp at the Skate Zone in Voorhees from Wednesday through July 11.

Many of the Flyers top prospects will be at the camp, including highly regarded center Brayden Schenn, who was acquired in the deal that sent Richards to Los Angeles, and Couturier, the eighth overall pick in the recent NHL draft.

The camp, which is open to the public, will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on July 6, 7, 9 and 10, and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on July 11.

On Thursday, there will be a public skating session from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Selected players will be on the ice with fans at various times throughout the session.

On Friday, the camp shifts to Stone Harbor for the annual Trial on the Isle. The day-long event includes a 9 a.m. mini-triathlon competition, followed by a youth hockey clinic, an autograph session and a charity softball game.


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