Long time Flyers’ beat writer Chuck Gormley hit on a rumor in his blog, that the Flyers could be the first team to target Devils’ UFA center John Madden, saying that “The Flyers recognize the need for a defensive centerman who can win key face offs, and Madden is the perfect fit.”
Madden is a 36 year old, two-way center, who made close to $3 million last season with the Devils, with seven goals and 16 assists in 76 games played. He also has two Stanley Cup rings, both in Jersey.
The basis of the rumor lies with the fact that the Flyers desperately lacked a shut-down centerman that excels in faceoffs. Madden would also give the Flyers the veteran presence they desperately lacked down the stretch.
Last season, Madden was third on the Devils with a 51.6% face off win percentage. That would rank first on the Flyers, ahead of current Flyers’ best, Mike Richards, who led the team with a 49% percent win percentage.
However, with news of a shrinking salary cap, the Flyers would be hard pressed to add on any significant salary, which means to acquire the needed pieces, General Manager Paul Holmgren will likely have to shed a roster player.
Center Danny Briere has been rumored to be on the hot seat, his $6 million against the cap would be an enormous relief for the Flyers, who still need to sign two goalies a defenseman and possibly Mike Knuble.
But unless the Flyers shed major salary, Madden would have to sign for $2 million or less for the Flyers to be able to afford him. And that is a possibility considering his production last season and age. But for less than they are paying him now, it would be strange to see the Devils pass the longtime cornerstone of their success.