The NHL's free agent frenzy began Tuesday, and as usual, didn't disappoint. For the Flyers, their biggest storyline was what GM Ron Hextall would do in his first free agency as a general manager.
Hextall couldn't play with a full deck, as the Flyers were backed up against the $69 million salary cap. They started the period at $230,000 over the cap, and were not able to move Vinny Lecavalier and his $4.5 million cap hit, after multiple reported attempts.
As a result, the Orange and Black were severely limited in what they could do when the period opened at noon. They signed veteran goalie Rob Zepp for a year, re-signed Ray Emery to a one-year deal and inked Blair Jones to a two-way deal.
Zepp, 32, was signed after seven years with the Deutsche Eishockey League's Eisbären Berlin -- where he was teammates with Claude Giroux and Danny Briere during the 2012-13 lockout. He posted a 2.39 GAA and .931 SP last season, and will complement Anthony Stolarz with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Emery returns on a $1 million deal -- a cut from the $1,650,000 he earned last season. He will back up Steve Mason once again, after filling in admirably as a backup last year.
Jones was signed to a two-way deal, and spent the past three seasons in the Calgary Flames organization. The 27-year-old center is a depth signing, and will likely start next season with Lehigh Valley. He posted 17 goals and 38 points in 38 games with the American League's Abbotsford Heat last season, and has appeared in 128 NHL games.
The Flyers now sit $1,236,429 over the cap, which can be exceeded by $6.9 million throughout the offseason. $4.9 million will come off the books once they can add Chris Pronger to long-term injured reserve in October.
While the big names are gone, there's still a crop of quality free agents the Orange and Black could target. They could use help on their much-maligned blueline, as well as a scoring left-winger. While Day 1 wasn't the most exciting in recent Flyers history, there's still plenty of moves Hextall can make to focus on next year.
Rob Riches is a contributor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Riches61.