Flyers decide to retain Sam Gagner

Center Sam Gagner is staying with the Flyers and it seems like a low-risk, high-reward gamble.

The Flyers' free-agency plans came into better focus Tuesday when they decided to retain Gagner, who was acquired Saturday from Arizona.

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Sam Gagner's potential and moderate salary-cap hit of $3.2 million were enough for the Flyers to retain him.

Gagner, 25, has underachieved during his eight-year career but led Coyotes forwards in goals (15) and points (41) last season. He could center the second line or play wing.

General manager Ron Hextall had been considering buying out Gagner's contract. In the end, he decided his reasonable salary-cap hit ($3.2 million) and potential (drafted sixth overall in 2007) outweighed the cap room.

In addition, Gagner is young enough to continue to blossom. If it doesn't happen, the contract is only for one year and the Flyers can move on.

"I'm as motivated as I can get," Gagner said after he was acquired. "I have a lot of people to prove wrong."

The Flyers sent Nick Grossmann and Chris Pronger's contract to Arizona for Gagner and a conditional draft pick that will be either a fourth-rounder next year or a third-rounder in 2017.

With Gagner on board, the Flyers' four lines might look like this, assuming they don't pick up someone in free agency or make another deal:

Claude Giroux centering Michael Raffl and Jake Voracek.

Gagner centering Wayne Simmonds and R.J. Umberger.

Sean Couturier centering Matt Read and Brayden Schenn.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare centering Chris VandeVelde and Ryan White or Vinny Lecavalier.

White signed a one-year deal for $800,000 Tuesday.

Lecavalier - who will have a $4.5 million cap hit for each of the next three years - was not put on waivers Tuesday for the purpose of a buyout. He will receive a $2 million bonus Wednesday, which may make him more tradable because he will have just $8 million left on his front-loaded, five-year deal. Arizona needs players to reach the cap floor.

As for the projected lineup, more moves could be made, and center Scott Laughton could work his way into the lineup.

Excluding the $1.3 million qualifying offer they gave restricted free agent Michael Del Zotto, the Flyers are about $5.8 million under the $71.4 million salary cap. Teams can go 10 percent over the cap in the summer.

The free-agency period starts Wednesday at noon, and the Flyers' biggest needs are a backup goalie and a winger.

Matt Beleskey, Michael Frolik, Chris Stewart, Viktor Stalberg, and ex-Flyer Justin Williams are among the wingers available.

The list of free-agent goalies who can be signed includes Karri Ramo, who probably wants a starter's job, Thomas Greiss, Michal Neuvirth, Jhonas Enroth, and Anders Lindback.

Flyers' Hall inductees

Defenseman Jimmy Watson and center Rod Brind'Amour will be inducted into the Flyers' Hall of Fame before games at the Wells Fargo Center this season.

Brind'Amour will be honored before the Nov. 23 matchup against the Carolina. Watson will be inducted before the Feb. 29 game against Calgary and South Jersey native Johnny Gaudreau.

Watson, a third-round draft pick in 1972 who became a five-time all-star, played all 10 of his seasons with the Flyers and was on their two Stanley Cup championship teams in 1974 and 1975.

Brind'Amour, acquired in a 1991 deal with St. Louis, spent nine seasons with the Flyers and had 601 points in 633 games.

Hail, Kimmo

The Flyers will honor Kimmo Timonen during a ceremony before their Oct. 14 game against visiting Chicago. Timonen, a longtime Flyer who was traded to Chicago this season, won the first Stanley Cup of his career last month and announced he was retiring.



scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull