*Note: Sorry for the picture, that guy watching the fight is creepy as hell.
With the departure of forwards like Joffrey Lupul and Mike Knuble, there was all of a sudden more room and competition for two spots on the top two lines. Not only were we going to be missing Lupul’s goal scoring and Knuble’s net presence, but one part of our game that saw our top 3 forwards accumulate a lot of ice time was our penalty kill… something Knuble was a good part of. With the promise of a veteran forward who can play well on the penalty kill, establish a forecheck, and hopefully mentor guys like Dan Carcillo and Darroll Powe, the new Flyer we are talking about this week is the addition of Canadian forward Ian “Lappy” Laperrière.
Lappy started off in the NHL by being drafted in the 7th round of the 1992 NHL draft by the St. Louis Blues. He would then enjoy tenures with the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings before finding a home in Colorado where he even posted 45 points one season and became the fan favored “Lappy” that we all hear about. When he signed with the Flyers, we gave him a 3 year contract at the age of 35. In that signing the Flyers have a veteran forward who can throw his body around at 6’1, 200 pounds. Lappy will probably find his home on the 3rd or 4th line as a role player; focusing on forechecking and using his grit and toughness to wear down the opponent.
The only concern I personally have with this signing is the idea that he has accumulated 1794 penalty minutes in only 1001 NHL games. With guys like Carcillo, Cote, Asham, and Hartnell on the team, it’s hard to believe we need someone who brings more penalty minutes to the table. Hopefully he can stay disciplined enough to stay out of the box. I’m not saying I don’t want Lappy to be throwing down and knocking the snot out of opposing teams, but I hope he does it with discipline he should have at this stage of his career. I would love to see him lead by example and help Carcillo and Cote develop into players, but that may be a long shot. With 316 points in his career, this signing was not to score goals. With a cheap 3 year deal to have a veteran on your lower lines to help out younger guys come into their own, this was a good move by Homer and Co.
The Avs fans loved him in Colorado for his style of play and heart, and I can only think of one better place than Colorado for a player like Laperrière… the Broad Street Bullies in Philadelphia.