Hamhuis was "looking forward to free agency" before surprising trade to Flyers

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It’s the same-old, same-old for David Poile and Paul Holmgren. During the summer of 2007, the Nashville and Philadelphia GMs worked out a deal that was pretty much the first of its kind – when the Predators couldn’t agree to contract terms with unrestricted free agents Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen the team shipped their negotiating rights to the Flyers a couple of weeks before free agency began.

Three years and a day later, the same happened again, this time with coveted UFA-to-be blueliner Dan Hamhuis, who was sent to Philly for defenseman Ryan Parent last Saturday. Hamhuis said that once negotiations between the Preds and his group broke down he had an inkling a move would be made.

“We had no idea that we’d be going (to Philadelphia), they didn’t really check in with us first,” the 27-year-old said. “So it was a bit of a shock.”

The 6-foot-1, 203-pound shutdown defender averaged 21:15 of ice time this past season, third on the Preds behind only Olympians Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, and Hamhuis’ plus-4 rating was tied for second among the team’s defense. Near the top of the UFA list for blueliners, he’ll command a raise on his $2-million salary and likely a lengthy term as well.

The Flyers would seem to be a choice destination for any free agent; loaded with depth throughout the lineup, they should be a Cup contender again next season. Hamhuis acknowledged as much, but intimated Philly is no sure thing.

“We were really looking forward to free agency and the chance to look at a bunch of teams,” the Smithers, B.C., native said.

Hamhuis was reticent to say too much about negotiations with the Flyers, but Philadelphia obviously didn’t ship the promising Parent to Nashville just to lose Hamhuis on July 1 when the free agent market opens.

“They’re trying really hard to get us to come and we just kind of want to take a look around and make sure it’s the right fit.”

So while Hamhuis didn’t see the Philly trade coming, it sounds as if Philly might not see Hamhuis at all. 

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