You've got to give the Philadelphia Flyers credit for being proactive.
With a number of teams, including the Maple Leafs, anxiously waiting for a chance to try and sign Nashville defenceman Dan Hamhuis as an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, the Flyers have aggressively struck first, trading defenceman Ryan Parent to the Preds today for the rights to Hamhuis.
That opens up a 12-day window in which the Flyers exclusively own rights to sign the 27-year-old Hamhuis to a new deal, which seems likely.
It's the same kind of move - and with the same Nashville club - the Flyers made three years ago when they acquired the rights to defenceman Kimmo Timmonen and winger Scott Hartnell then signed both to six-year contracts. At the time, many argued the Flyers ended up paying much more in salary to both players than necessary - Timmonen's deal averaged $6.3 million, Hartnell's $4.2 million - but Timmonen and Hartnell were both integral parts this spring as Philly charged all the way to the Stanley Cup final.
Hamhuis averaged 22 minutes and change for the Preds last season. Parent, 23, played a regular role for the Flyers in the post-season before being a healthy scratch for the final five games of the Stanley Cup final against Chicago.
Hamhuis is coming off a four-year, $8 million contract and will likely be looking for somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 million per season. He was widely viewed as the best defenceman among this summer's unrestricted free agent crop, with New Jersey's Paul Martin, Boston Bruin rearguard Johnny Boychuk and Zbynek Michalek others still unsigned.
Philly was already facing some tough salary cap issues. For example, they only have one goalie, Brian Boucher, under contract at $925,000 per season.