The Flyers acquired the rights to defenceman Kimmo Timonen and forward Scott Hartnell from the Nashville Predators and re-signed both players. In return, the Predators received a first-round pick in this week’s draft – the same pick they traded to the Flyers in exchange for Peter Forsberg last winter.
Hartnell and Timonen were set to become unrestricted free agents July 1.
Timonen signed a six-year deal worth US$37.8 million while Hartnell’s deal is also for six years and worth $25.2 million.
Predators general manager David Poile said he knew he wouldn’t be able to re-sign Hartnell and Timonen and wanted to get something for them.
“We expected both Scott and Kimmo to be among the most sought-after at their respective positions when the unrestricted free agent marketplace opens on July 1, and it did not appear as if we were going to be able to sign either player before then,” he said Monday in a release. “That being said, we received a first-round pick for the exclusive right to negotiate with two players who ultimately could have hit the market in two weeks.”
The Flyers had a 48-hour window from Saturday at noon to Monday at noon to get the deals done.
Timonen, 32, had 13 goals and 42 assists last season. Hartnell, 25, had 22 goals and 17 assists.
The five-foot-10, 195-pound Timonen will become the top blue-liner for the Flyers, who were last in the NHL this season with a 22-48-12 record.
The six-foot-two, 208-pound Hartnell brings versatility to the Flyers as he can play either wing.
“Timonen was our team captain this past season and an all-star,” said Poile. “Hartnell is a young player that we drafted, inserted in our lineup at age 18, and saw develop into a 25-goal scorer.”
The future of the Predators is up in the air after Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, the co-CEO of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, reached a tentative agreement to purchase the team from Wisconsin businessman Craig Leipold.
Hamilton’s city council has approved an agreement that would allow Copps Coliseum to become the Predators’ home if the franchise ever relocated. Balsillie’s camp has repeatedly stressed that there’s a lease in place in Nashville and he termed the agreement in Hamilton a contingency plan.