Timonen "99 Percent Sure" That Next Season Is His Last
The Flyers were put in a bind and Kimmo Timonen knew it.
Using the tough situation the Flyers were in, Timonen used it to his advantage to sign a one-year, $6 million deal with the Flyers for the 2013-14 season. But for Timonen, next season could be his last.
"That's it. 99 percent sure that's my last," said the 37-year-old Finnish defenseman, who is in the middle of his 13th season in the NHL.
Timonen, who will be 38 next month, was going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season before signing his extension. He was unsure whether or not this was going to be his last season in the NHL, but some conversations with general manager Paul Holmgren helped changed those feelings.
"I talked with Paul [Holmgren] before the season started and he wanted to know where I'm at with playing one more year, and I said well coming off the lockout, coming out from back surgery, give me about 10 games," Timonen said after the Flyers 3-2 shootout loss to Florida. "I want to see how I feel. I want to still feel like I can play [at a] top level and a couple days ago I talked to [Holmgren], I said I feel pretty good and it was pretty easy after."
Before the game, Holmgren announced that the Flyers extended Timonen for another season, bringing up the fact it puts the Flyers near the cap limit with 19 players signed next season.
But Holmgren found that the money wasn't the main issue, and that he had to have the team's best blue liner back for one more season.
“Kimmo’s presence on the ice for us and in our locker room is invaluable," said Holmgren to reporters before the game. "We look forward to him continuing his all-around play for us.”
This season, Timonen has a goal and five assists in 11 games for the Flyers, including an assist in Thursday's loss. He's been averaging nearly 23 minutes per game on the top pairing with young defenseman Luke Schenn.
Perhaps it's Timonen's experience and ability to positively rub off on younger players that the Flyers are most interested in. In the 2007-08 season, Timonen and Braydon Coburn were paired together, helping the then rookie develop into the two-way defenseman he is today.
If Timonen can have a similar effect on Schenn, it will make the trade for James van Riemsdyk seem worth it in the long run.