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June 14, 2004 - Primeau and Clarke Talk About New Contract
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Primeau and Clarke Talk About New Contract

Flyers center signs for four years

Flyers center Keith Primeau and General Manager Bob Clarke took part in a conference call on Monday afternoon, following the announcement that Primeau had agreed to a four-year contract with the club.

For audio clips,
click here.

Bob Clarke: For our organization, Keith is the most important player on our club. Hes our leader, and before we could go forward with the other signings we felt we had to get Keith signed, and we did, and were extremely happy about it. This will be our biggest signing of the summer.

Now that Keith is signed, who do you look to now?

BC: I think [Alexei] Zhamnov is where were at now. Well try and get him signed before the end of the month if we can, before hes free. Weve spoken a number of times with [Vladimir] Malakhovs agent, and we havent made any progress yet. Johnsson, Gagne and Handzus, those guys well get signed. It just probably wont be before the end of July or early August.

You left Mark Recchi out of that group. Where do you stand on him?

BC: With Mark, we wont do anything at least until we see what the new CBA brings us. Because of the number of players we have, and not knowing what the restrictions on salary are going to be, were just going to have to wait on some of the players.

Did that factor into the negotiations with Keith, that you dont know what the CBA will bring and if theres going to be a salary cap?

BC: That is something that both sides have to consider, and both sides have no information on whats going to happen, but every indication has been that the growth of salaries is going down.

Keith Primeau: This is where I wanted to be, and this is where I set my mind to negotiate a new contract. I hope I get to finish up my career here. Im pleased with the contract that is in place. It was important for me and my family to have security and to know where were going to be in the fall no matter what happens in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. We have school age children who are comfortable with their environment. There are several factors that went into it, and everything continued to point to me being most happy as a Philadelphia Flyer.

Its really exciting, and as I continued to say, Philadelphia is where I wanted to be, and that may have hurt my negotiations to an extent, because everyone knew where I wanted to play. But for my comfort level, there is nowhere else that Keith Primeau is supposed to play, and because of that, Im happy.

Are you comfortable talking about the numbers?

KP: The numbers are eventually going to come out. It ended up being four years and $17 million dollars. Once again, especially in my situation, this organization has taken care of me in a financial way. I can only hope that I can repay them with performance.

Did you feel that the playoffs enhanced your situation?

KP: For me, it didnt necessarily factor in. It maybe helped me to an extent to make it that much easier to negotiate, but I had an idea as to where I fit in as far as a salary structure and where I felt most comfortable playing.

Although I had a tremendous playoff, I may be the highest-paid checking center in the National Hockey League. My regular season, the production offensively was not near what Ive had in past years. I dont feel like Ive begun to deteriorate as a player, but as the league changes this is what I was most comfortable with and it is important to me.