News broke yesterday that forward Danny Briere will in fact be bought out by the Philadelphia Flyers when the club is allowed to use their amnesty buyouts this summer. Briere has two years left on a deal that would have cost the Flyers a cap hit of $6.5 million per season but now they will save that money to help them get under the salary cap ceiling of $64.3 million.
Briere will soon become a free-agent per say as teams will have the opportunity to enter a bid for Briere’s services in hopes of acquiring the 35-year old veteran. But the Edmonton Oilers are best to stay as far away from Briere as possible when he is officially bought out.
The 15-year veteran will bring some offensive value to the club that decides to gamble on him, but it would be just that….a gamble. His offense has tailed off over the past couple of seasons and aside from the 2010-11 campaign when he put up 68 points he has only broke the 50-point plateau once since 2007-08. In short, he’s not worth the contract that he’ll likely get.
Following the 2006-07 season where he scored a remarkable 95 points with the Buffalo Sabres, Briere instantly became one of the highest sought after free-agents in recent memory that summer. He signed a massive deal with the Flyers and following a 72 point performance in 79 games during his first year in Philly, Briere failed to live up to the hype.
At 35-years of age, the last the thing the Oilers need is a wily veteran who can’t stay healthy long enough to consistently produce on the offensive side of the puck. And his defensive game? He’s only had two seasons out of the last six where he was a plus player.
The one upside to Briere is his history in the playoffs. One could argue that it is the second season where Briere has played his best hockey of his career and there could be a club that is set to make a playoff run next year that could use his clutch hands.
Through 108 career playoff games Briere has recorded 109 points, 50 of which are goals. Not many modern day players can boast those kinds of statistics.
Regardless, Briere’s best years are behind him and a grueling 82-game schedule will surely take it’s toll on an aging veteran. Whether or not he can help the team in the playoffs is irrelevant if he can’t help them get there.
The other detrimental fact on Briere is his size. At 5’10” he’s one of the smaller players in the league and the Oilers don’t need someone of his stature. It’s been stated the Oilers need size, grit and character up front to compliment the skilled forwards meaning Briere doesn’t measure up….both figuratively and literally.
Briere will be an added offensive compliment for one team this summer, but it’s best if it’s not the Oilers. Temptation should be low for Craig MacTavish on a player like him; too much money for a smaller, aging veteran isn’t worth the time, money or risk. All three of those are best spent elsewhere and with the likelihood that both Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky may not be around, inheriting Briere would be like replacing one of them. Given Hemsky is younger and quite possibly more effective offensively when you compare careers, the Oilers would be better off keeping number 83 than signing number 48.
Thanks but not thanks on Danny Briere this off season.