In this new part of “Meet the New Flyers”, we once again are looking at a defenseman. One of the most curious pickups in the off-season for Paul Holmgren and Co. because this signing of former Blue Jackets defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen brought a 7th d-man to the table. With floods of rumors and speculation pointing to the fact that guys like Timmonen, Pronger, and Coburn are mostly a lock to stay with the team because of their big role and Parent being a young guy in our system… Matt Carle and even more likely candidate to be dumped or demoted to the minors Randy Jones need to be cleared to make room for him. So what can Tollefsen bring to the table?
Ole-Kristian Tollefsen is a Norwegian-born hockey player who was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2002 NHL Draft. This 25 year-old defenseman has a nice size and skating ability at 6’2, 211 pounds. He mostly gained notoriety by NHL scouts for helping his team get to the playoffs and win a bronze medal with his Norwegian Elite Team, the Lillehammer Ishockeyklubb. His NHL totals are nothing to write home about from an offensive perspective; he has 10 points and 273 PIM in 145 NHL games. However, it is most likely this signing had the idea of Tollefsen being on the 3rd pairing with a physical presence. With Ryan Parent developing, they’d be good linemates cause they can both move the puck and matchup pretty well versus most teams’ 3rd and 4th lines at least.
There’s not much more to say what he can bring to the table, as he does not have many seasons under his belt. Randy Jones seems to be the best option to demote to the minors or dump his salary in a waiver or trade. Chances are we will place him in the minors, and at that point if an NHL club picks him up on waivers, so be it. I’m not a big fan of getting rid of Carle because he is a solid pairing in the top 2 and on the powerplay. Randy Jones is young enough and skilled enough to be in a 3rd pairing with a good supporting cast, but he has not impressed many in Philadelphia. His 2.75 million cap hit, if it were to be eliminated, would help a lot in a one-year deal with a player such as Sykora who has been rumored to be close to signing with either the Flyers or Buffalo. With our backs against the cap, it’s hard to make moves until someone else goes. One injury this year and we will find ourselves in a similar situation to last year when we saw players like Metropolit and Vaananen be placed on the waiver wire and Scottie Upshall traded in order to keep talent on our roster (Giroux). With rookie camp coming up and training camp shortly after, the front office still has some work to do in an off-season that’s already been very busy.
We have two more new Flyers to talk about this year, Ian LaPerriere and “new” Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher. Look for those articles soon as well as news on rookie and training camp as it gets closer.