Columnist: Flyers’ offers for Parise, Suter were “gamesmanship”

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Do the Philadelphia Flyers really want Ryan Suter and Zach Parise or are they just feigning interest in them in the hopes of driving up the price? Philadelphia Daily News columnist Sam Donnellon thinks Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is engaged in a bit of “gamesmanship.”

Donnellon argues that the Flyers offered 12-year deals worth at least $80 million to each of the two superstar free agents despite the fact that neither player had expressed much interested in playing for Philadelphia.

Donnellon goes on to suggest that Holmgren’s motivation was to drive up the price with a high earlier bid.

In fact, the columnist thinks that Parise’s delay might be a direct result of “the Flyers’ fat offer and the reverberations it created.”

It certainly wouldn’t be surprising if some teams put in bids on Parise or Suter simply to test the waters or even just to make it harder for their competitors to get either player at a discounted price. I’d go as far as to say it’s expected. However, given the way the market’s been going for the past few years, if anyone is surprised by the notion that Parise or Suter could command offers in excess of $80 million, then they haven’t been doing their homework.

Parise and Suter are taking longer than anticipated to sign and they’re the only ones that can say why that is. At the same time, it’s not like they’re being unreasonable, especially given the importance of this decision to the rest of their lives.

So in the end, I remain skeptical that the Flyers’ bids have thrown a wrench in the process, but if Philadelphia has really managed to drive up the price for Suter or Parise, then Holmgren has helped his team out in the long run.

It would be a low risk game for Holmgren to play, seeing as the worst case scenario is that one of them actually signs with Philadelphia. That might complicate their cap situation, but it certainly wouldn’t be a bad problem to have.