With just two goals and 11 points in 39 games this past season, the writing on the wall was right in front of R.J. Umberger.
That writing turned into reality when Ron Hextall took to the podium during a news conference on Thursday and delivered the news. The Flyers will buy out the remaining portion of Umberger’s contract.
“We thought long,” Hextall said. “You don’t want to make rash decisions. We just need the space. I think it’s better for R.J. and better for us.”
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The move won’t be official until Umberger waives his no-movement clause. The Flyers expect him to do so and for it to be finalized by the end of the day. It’s also not a surprise to Umberger, who said “I expect one” after the season he had.
By waiving his clause and being bought out, the Flyers will save $3 million this season in cap space, which is a big reason behind the move. They will spread out $3.1 million over the next two seasons.
Umberger was acquired for Scott Hartnell in 2014. Hextall doesn’t regret the deal despite Hartnell’s 23-goal season. He “feels the same way now” about the move as when he made it.
“R.J. didn’t play as well as we’d hope,” Hextall said. “Right now I feel [the deal] is a benefit for us. We have space … we need space.”
There likely won’t be a market for Umberger, which could spell an end to his 10-year career.