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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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Home Sweet Home

People can argue home-ice is not a factor in the playoffs all they want; in the Finals, it definitely is. The Flyers failed to get a split in the first two games after dropping two one-goal decisions in a row. Tonight they look to avoid that terrible 3-0 hole and change the landscape of the series. Mike Richards needs to do something at the Wachovia Center tonight, whether it is a big hit or goal. He is the kind of guy that feeds off the crowd, and if he can do something big like he did in Game 5 of the Montreal series, this team will get behind him. I really liked Bartulis’ play the other night. The rookie defenseman did not make any huge mistakes that I can recall, and he actually did a good job of eating up some minutes to give our top four a rest. Braydon Coburn played a hell of a game as well, and if he can continue that style of play our top two pairings will continue to be lights-out. Scott Hartnell deserves a mention too because he was a forechecking machine and in that 3rd period burst he simply would not give up and kept getting the puck to his teammates with his strong board play.

The first two games of the series are over, and the Hawks are flying high right now. They’re a young team and could possibly be getting a little too confident. They have not played in Philadelphia yet. I don’t care how loud they say San Jose is, this team hasn’t played a home Final game in 13 years. The fans are ready, the team will be ready, and the Hawks are going to see what a loud building is. I know they’re 7-1 on the road, but that’s the previous three series. This series is the one I’m worried about, and if the Flyers lose tonight, I will be very worried.

No word yet on whether JVR will still be a healthy scratch in lieu of Carbomb. I think Carbomb especially is the kind of guy that will help you at home with some energy and big hits to get the crowd into it. He’s slowly becoming a fan favorite, and I think his efforts will get his team and the crowd up. His strong play along the boards rivals that of JVR who definitely has more potential and talent, but I don’t think he’s ready for this type of game just yet.

Tonight’s game will either swing the momentum in the Flyers favor, or give Chicago every reason to close this thing out. I firmly believe the Flyers will come out fired up and get behind their crowd to victory. This team has come too far to lose three straight to Chicago. Let’s see some production from the Richards line with Carter and Gagne even strength, that line could be the game-changer for us. They need to build on the good forecheck they established in the third period and carry that over into tonight’s game. Niemi won’t be able to stop shots forever.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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JVR Returns to Continue the 15-Game Streak


-John Tavares getting a souvenir from trying to accentuate a Chris Pronger hit earlier this season (Prongs was penalized for it).

The talk in Flyerdom after their 3 days off is the final game at the Islanders tonight. The Flyers have won 15 straight against their division opponent, and look to make it 16 straight tonight to continue the longest active streak of any NHL team against another. They’ll do it tonight with the return of rookie forward James van Riemsdyk who was shaken up a bit during last Saturday’s loss to the Penguins when Timonen’s shot hit him below the knee. After sitting the Devils game, he will be back to help out and replace Carcillo who was suspended for two games for his match penalty against Clarkson on Sunday. Bill Metzler posted the probable lines for tonight’s game:

Hartnell – Richards – Giroux
Gagne – Briere – Leino
JVR – Powe – Asham
Cote – Betts – Laperriere

Carle – Pronger
Timonen – Krajicek
Bartulis – Parent

Hartnell playing with Richie and Giroux is a good move, and probably the best fit to replace Carcillo on that line. Although he played very well with Powe and Asham, it makes the most sense rather than put Cote, Asham, or JVR on that first line. The Briere line should continue to do well. Leino should be able to dangle around the Islanders tonight and set-up some scoring chances. Cote gets another shot for at least another two games, so I hope he’s ready to do his job with his limited ice-time. I wouldn’t mind him dropping the gloves either. Also, notice that Coburn is missing from that pairings list, which is an interesting move considering Parent was scratched in a coaches decision the past couple games. Perhaps Lavvy is lighting a fire under his ass and hoping he picks his play up? Another interesting idea would be if the Flyers were strapped for forwards again due to injury, suspensions, NHL abductions (hey it could happen with our team ya know), etc… What would you think of Coburn playing on the 4th line as a winger? His defensive responsibilities would be cut shorter obviously, and I’ve liked his play when pinching in the offensive zone and getting deep. It’s just his defensive play I’ve been suspect about. Just a thought…

Need these two points tonight, only a possible 12 points left to gain with six games left.

*Image courtesy of the Islanders’ official site.

 
 

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Flyers Crush the ‘Canes

Scott Hartnell scored with 2 assists, Braydon Coburn scored twice, Matt Carle scored on a wraparound with 2 assists, Van Riemsdyk scored with an assist, and David Laliberte who got his first shot in the NHL tonight from the Phantoms scored and got an assist in a thrashing of the Carolina Hurricanes this afternoon in front of a loony Halloween Philadelphia crowd. Filled with costumes, craziness, and “Let’s Go Phillies” fever spreading, the Flyers showed everyone that the Phillies may be defending their title; but the Flyers are still playing too as they cruised to a 6-1 win. Carolina outshot us 40-28, but it did not matter as Emery was nearly perfect making 39 saves helping the Flyers improve to 6-4-1.
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Posted by on October 31, 2009 in Flyers News

 

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Jose Theodore and Missed Oppurtunities Hand Flyers a Loss

I’m not going to analyze the whole game, and I know I said tonight was close to a must-win, but I had to be happy with that 3rd period effort. The Flyers were pressing for much of that 3rd period and Jose Theodore had an outstanding game to blank the Flyers after the first period.

Good things to take from this game:

Both of the goals came on the power play. One from Scotty Hartnell with a nice pass from Richards and more importantly, the second from Coburn after JVR took Knuble’s spot right in front of the net to cause trouble for the goalie. Coburn’s goal is HUGE because hopefully it creates a little confidence in him after he has been on the ice for most of the goals the Flyers have let in and has been somewhat of a turnover machine throughout the first few games.

Even without Gagne who fills a big power play, penalty kill, and even strength presence; the Flyers played against an offensive power house and managed to go down to the wire in their loss.

Emery played a very strong game and I was very happy with the way he fought for sight of the puck and for the loose pucks in front of him (especially that penalty kill in the 2nd period).

We need to stop juggling these lines and find some chemistry with them, and hopefully with the return of Betts on Saturday we will start to see more consistency.

Gagne’s injury is apparently new and he will decide whether or not he will get surgery tomorrow. We hope for a speedy recovery for him as he wasn’t looking very healthy the way he was skating around early this season. I hope he comes back 100% and doesn’t rush it, we have enough depth where I’d want him to be good to go late in the season rather than risk his health now.

Flyers have off until they come back home on Halloween this Saturday to host the Hurricanes for a 1 PM face-off.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2009 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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