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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Leighton Re-signed; What’s Going to Happen at Midnight?!

Today Michael Leighton was re-signed on the eve of NHL free agency. He received a two-year deal, totaling $3.1 million dollars. His cap hit will minimal, but it’s definitely a raise over his abysmal salary last year. Many Flyers fans are shaking their heads in disgust, yet some are happy with the news. That being said, Holmgren is not done. They still have plans to sign another defenseman or goaltender between midnight tonight and tomorrow night. I expect them to further another offer to Nabokov and Hamhuis just in case they change their mind, but I also expect them to go further. Anton Volchenkov has been a name floating around for the past week or so, and I would not be surprised if the Flyers could get him. He’d be a great 3rd pairing guy and a penalty killer if Lavvy felt the need to. His price would not be too high, either. Goalies on the list include the likes of former Flyguys Biron and Nitty, and other names such as Mason and Turco. I for one do not really have an idea of what exactly is going to happen. I’d love to have Nabokov for a season or two with Leighton as the back-up and Boosh being waived or as the third goalie. I don’t expect that, so I’d be happy with another goalie fighting with Leighton for that number one spot… Nitty or Mason please. NOT TURCO.

Tonight you will probably see Aaron Asham walk and not be re-signed, which is sad because I really like Asham. However, he’s going to want a raise and deservedly so, and the Flyers do not have enough wiggle room since they’re already trying to sign Coburn, Carcillo
and Powe to their RFA tenders. Krajicek is without a doubt gone, I should not even have to write that.

So tomorrow will be the big day, but I expect to hear some happenings early this morning after midnight. Last year we signed Lappy and Boosh and Emery around this time, but I’m not sure if we will be signing that many this year.

 
 

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Draft Weekend Recap

So a lot has changed since I last posted. We were all excited about the idea of Dan Hamhuis being signed soon, and yet he has left. We traded him to Pittsburgh for a seventh round pick because of his worries about not getting enough playing time. Yes, you read that right. With a team that boasts Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen as their top two defensemen, I guess Hamhuis thought he would only be a third pairing guy. What happens if he outplays Carle or Coburn in training camp? What happens if one goes down to injury? Hamhuis is basically being selfish and not reveling in the fact that he could play for a competitive team in a competitive city and do just that; compete, for a starting job. I don’t believe he will sign with Pittsburgh either, so we will probably see him test the market on July 1st.

There were also plenty of Evgeni Nabokov rumors circling the web, but they have slowed down a lot since it was clear that Nabokov would want more money than the Flyers could give at this point. This leaves a lot of room for possible deals to be made, but it closes the window as free-agency starts in a few days and the Flyers do not have many bargaining chips as they had only had picks in rounds 3-7 this past weekend.

Speaking of the draft, the Flyers drafted some young talent to add to their pool and hopefully develop into future NHL players. You can view that here. I don’t know anything about these guys, but that really is how hockey drafts work. Gotta hope some of those forwards pan out to add to our forward depth which is starting to get thinner in our system as guys get older.

Johnathan Matsumoto was also traded this weekend for a 7th round pick, which makes sense as he was a guy looking for an opportunity at the NHL level but couldn’t with the likes of Briere, Richards, and Carter on the team.

Will anything else happen between now and July 1st? Probably nothing big. I expect Coburn to be re-signed at the very least, but I won’t put signing a free agent goalie or defenseman out of the question come FA day.

 
 

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Flyers Open Season in Pittsburgh; Who’s Leaving?

The Flyers full schedule was released today and the beginning jumps at you since we will be hoping to christen the new Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh with the same way the Mellon Arena went out; with a big loss. I like opening on the road, and it worked well for us this past season as we got off to a good start. This team will have a lot of expectations yet again this year, but this will be more than last year’s “on-paper” expectations. They were two wins away from a Cup with a good core group of young forwards and some veteran defensemen anchoring the blue line. The odds for the Flyers to win the Cup last year are probably increased in the world of sports betting, but not every Flyer from this year will be returning.

Krajicek, Asham, and (finally) Mike Rathje will be UFA’s on the Flyers who you will probably see gone. Krajicek will definitely not return to the Flyers, as I don’t see a scenario where we would sign him when we have some young guys looking to fill the 6th defensive spot. Rathje is injured and won’t earn anymore money finally, and Asham will probably be sent packing. I actually like Asham a lot too, he’s a good player who was a solid winger on that 3rd line this year and I think he will do well wherever he goes, I just hope we can find a way to sign him.

Carcillo, Coburn, and Syvret are the 3 main RFA’s that have not been signed yet, and I expect Carcillo and Syvret to get some nice 2-3 year deals. Coburn, however, has apparently garnered some interest to other teams, but the Flyers fully expect to sign him and keep him in their defensive rotations if they can afford it. If he is to be traded, or anyone else for that matter, expect it to be done this weekend when the 2010 NHL Draft will be taking place. The Flyers are actively pursuing a goaltender, and I’m just hoping that Tim Thomas rumors are just that, because I don’t want a 33-year old goalie to solve our problems.

Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell are the two biggest names being thrown around at the moment, especially because of their big cap hits and the need to sign Hamhuis ASAP. Carter has a $5 million cap hit and does not have a NTC, which Hartnell does. I know the Flyers don’t want to necessarily move Carter, but I think it is the most logical choice. If you can get a top-tier defenseman, winger, or goalie out of it, go for it. Even if the return from Carter is something another team wants and we get involved in a multiple-team trade, I don’t care. Richie, Giroux, and Briere are your top 3 centerman. Even if Carter was a third line center, are you going to pay him that much to do that? If we weren’t so cramped for cap space, I’d love to keep our favorite regular season scorer (see what I did there?).

Hartnell would help out a lot of teams who need a physical presence, but he’d have to agree to the trade. I don’t think he wants to go anywhere, and who could blame him? You were one of the better players in your team’s run to the Cup (last few rounds anyway), and you know they are poised to do it again. Finding someone to take him will also be tough considering the money he makes.

Who would you want to see come to the Flyers? Trade for a goalie? Sign another good scoring winger with the free agents out there? Tim Thomas? Corey Schneider? Recchi? Selanne? Guerin? Kariya? Whitney? Fedotenko?

 
 

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One Piece Added: Dan Hamhuis to the Defensive Corps

This afternoon the Flyers reported that they acquired the rights to Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis. Hamhuis should not be a name that is new to you if you followed trade rumors at the trade deadline this season. He was one of the main players the Flyers were looking for along with Florida goalie Thomas Vokoun. However, Nashville, like back in March, will not be able to re-sign Hamhuis when he hits free-agency July 1st, so the Flyers gave them their former first-round pick Ryan Parent for the rights to Hamhuis and a conditional 2011 NHL Draft Pick.

This is great news for Flyers fans, who I think will find Hamhuis a lot more welcoming than Ryan Parent’s play the past two seasons. Our top-four defenseman are already some of the better in the league between Pronger, Timonen, Carle, and Coburn. The question is now, for how much do we sign this Hamhuis guy and where will he fit? He can throw his body around, and is reliable in pretty much any situation. I haven’t watched a lot of him obviously, but from what I’ve seen and heard there is nothing but good things about this guy. The best part? He’s 27 and is still coming into his own. Sounds like a great move by Homer and Co.

Braydon Coburn is the only defenseman out of our top four that I can see going if we were to dump salary in order to sign Hamhuis. Maybe get a team to pay his tender since he’s a RFA. However, I believe Coburn could be a strong 3rd pairing guy and make our defensive depth great, so maybe a forward would be better. You have to think we still might make moves for a goalie soon, and I’m expecting a blockbuster trade before or at the NHL draft, depending on how free agency goes. Jeff Carter or Hartnell would be obvious trades to make to clear cap space and get something good in return, but Hartnell would need to waive his NTC and a lot of teams will be asking for VanRiemsdyk or Giroux. There’s no way we part with Giroux, but it wouldn’t be so shocking if JVR was sent packing for something big, would it?

We’ll have more soon.

 
 

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It Still Hurts

A week ago today I woke up excited as anything for a chance to see my favorite sports team force a Game 7 for the most prized trophy in all professional sports. A week later, it still hurts knowing only two more wins were needed to secure an orange parade down Broad Street. I haven’t been able to get myself to write about it, I needed time to think.

There are many reasons why we lost Game 6, but I’ll be ashamed if any Flyers fan truly believes it was all Michael Leighton’s fault for the loss. Were a few of his goals soft? Yes, but our defense also needed to play better in front of him because he made some key saves. Then, is it Jeff Carter’s fault for not being able to lift the puck? No, but that could have made winning Game 6 a lot more probable. It was just frustrating to see our team carry the play for much of the 3rd and the beginning of overtime before letting Patrick Kane get a little shot through to the net. It reminded me a lot of how Team USA tied it up against Canada late in the 3rd after carrying the play for a while, then losing on a simple goal in overtime. It really stung after the game, and even worse when I had to shave the playoff beard the next day.

Pretty soon I will be writing about my ideas on what the Flyers need to do given their current roster and cap situation, and eventually look at plausible free-agents and trades that could improve this team and keep them motivated. I’ll try to write again as soon as possible, because there’s only a few weeks till draft and free-agency starts.

One last thing I will say about this team though. This was one of the most memorable playoff runs that I’ve ever experienced in sports. After watching the ’08 WFC Phillies put it together, I really thought this was our year. The way the Flyers fought through so much adversity and played with their hearts on their sleeves, it reminded me very much of a certain baseball team who had every one of their players ready for their cause. Regardless of the outcome, I’m still proud as ever to be a Philadelphia Flyers fan. I don’t remember having this much fun during a season. I know we did not win it all, but two wins shy of a Cup is a lot better than ending your season in a shootout at home. So many worse things could have happened to this team, yet they fought through it and almost got there. There are a few important decisions that Paul Holmgren will have to make this off-season. The goalie situation is probably the biggest, since they had said before the end of the regular season that finding a true #1 goalie would be their first priority shortly after Leighton went down with an ankle injury. There are a couple of contracts that need negotiating, such as Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter who may be moved. Daniel Carcillo, Braydon Coburn, Ryan Parent, Danny Syvret and Darroll Powe are restricted free-agents, while Mika Pyorala (remember him?), Michael Leighton, Lukas Krajicek, and Aaron Asham will be unrestricted free-agents.

Lot of work to be done. Look for more soon.

Thanks for the great season Flyers. 2009-2010 will always be remembered.

 
 

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It’s Over

A strange turn of events ended the game with a weird goal on Michael Leighton by Patrick Kane. Flyers lose the Stanley Cup in overtime 4-3 and the series 4-2. Great season, more on the season soon. And then time to move towards getting ready for trades, free agency, and drafts. Still love this team.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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Last Home Game

The Wachovia Center has seen its fair share of great games this season, with the Flyers playing pretty well at home overall. Tonight will be the last game played at the Wachovia Center for the 2009-2010 season, and it is the most important. The Stanley Cup will be in Philly tonight for the first time since 1987, and we don’t want to see it on the ice tonight. You can read other blogs for a recap of Game 5, because there’s not much else to say except the Flyers got flat-out outplayed for a majority of the game, and couldn’t settle down for long periods of time. Tonight will be different, I am sure of it.

There is no way the Flyers or their fans will let this team go down at home with the Cup on the line. We will have last change tonight with the advantage of setting up our defensive and offensive match-ups, so that’s another advantage besides our boisterous crowd. Joel Quenneville broke up his original line combinations on Sunday night and it helped Chicago spread their talent out. The Flyers also moved switched Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux on their respective lines, which I’ve been screaming for all series. Giroux needs more ice-time to be fully effective, and Carter has been fully ineffective. Let him center JVR and Asham and let them strut their stuff. Richards and Gagne need an effective player that can help them out and not shoot the puck into opposing players’ shin pads.

Michael Leighton should get the start tonight, I don’t think we could see it any other way. Boosh is still not 100%, regardless of what he has said. Tonight will be one of the last tests this team that has overcome so much adversity will face this season. Will they tie up the series and force the fabled Game 7 for the Stanley Cup that every team dreams as when he’s playing with his friends? Will they lose at home and end this amazing ride? I don’t think so. This team has consistently showed up when they’ve needed to most, but that’s not to say they usually don’t show up. Chris Pronger was a -5 last game, but who cares? I said it before after Game 3 in Montreal, Chris Pronger does not play two bad games in a row. He didn’t even have a bad game last time, his +/- was a reflection of a lack of team defense.

The last game of the season was the biggest game of the year.

The four elimination games in the Boston series were the biggest games of the year.

Game 4 in Montreal was the biggest game of the year, and then Game 5 was.

Games 3 and 4 in Philly were the biggest games of the year, and then Game 5 in Chicago was.

As we go further, there is more on the line and the games get bigger. Tonight will be no different; the biggest game of the year.

Let’s do it at home.

Image courtesy of Zimbio.com

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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