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June 16, 2016

Flyers will buy out R.J. Umberger, start to see benefits of Hartnell trade

Flyers NHL

As was widely expected, the Flyers will buy out forward R.J. Umberger’s contract, general manager Ron Hextall confirmed today. The 34-year-old forward had one year remaining on his deal, which makes the buyout a two-year process.

Umberger has the option to be placed on waivers first, and if he ends up clearing, then the buyout can be executed.

Since Umberger is over 26, the buyout “is paid over twice the number of years remaining on the player's contract at a rate of two-thirds of the total salary remaining.” In layman’s terms, the move allows for the Orange and Black to carve out some extra cap space this season, but Hextall is also forfeiting a little bit for next year.

From a cap standpoint, here’s the breakdown of the move (via Cap Friendly):

 Pre-Buyout
Post-Buyout
Savings
2016-17
 $4,600,000$1,600,000
$3,600,000
2017-18
$0
$1,500,000
-$1,500,000

 

Umberger was brought over two summers ago in a trade that sent fan favorite Scott Hartnell to Columbus, a deal in which the Flyers got smoked player for player. Hartnell has 109 points over the past two seasons and Umberger only managed 26. That doesn’t necessarily make the trade a bad move, though, as the finances were always a huge part of the transaction.

Hextall clearly saw Hartnell’s contract, which still has three years remaining at a $4.75 million AAV, and realized he wanted to get out of it. When Columbus offered a similar contract that expired two years shorter, he decided to pull the trigger.

If the Flyers “lost” the first two years of this trade, they will very likely “win” it moving forward. Hartnell has reportedly been on the trade block, and with his team nowhere near contention two years ago, Hextall took on Umberger for a couple of years and essentially got out of Hartnell's contract faster.

In a way, the past two seasons of fans screaming for Umberger to be scratched from the lineup was simply the Flyers taking their medicine. Here is what Hextall said today (via the Courier Post's Dave Isaac)

There were two parts to the trade essentially," Hextall said. "The one was the space. I felt like two or three years for then it was going to be good for us, and I feel the same way now. Hartsy’s been a good player in Columbus … didn’t play as well as he hoped…benefit for us. We need space, we’ve got guys that are coming up like (Shayne Gostisbehere) and (Brayden) Schenn and (Radko) Gudas. We need space. Hartsy played well for Columbus, and we’re essentially going to be out of it. So I’m fine with it."

After a season in which he mostly found himself watching games from the press box, Umberger said that he expected a buyout when the Flyers cleaned out their lockers a month ago.

According to General Fanager, the Flyers are down to about $60.9 million in committed salaries for 2016-17.


Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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