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Bryzgalov’s Rights: Where to Go From Here?

Yesterday evening twitter feeds and hockey blogs blew up with the news the the Flyers had traded Matt Clackson, a 3rd round pick, and a conditional pick (Holmgren confirmed not a 1st or 2nd) to the Phoenix Coyotes for goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov’s rights in hopes of getting him signed before free agency on July 1st. As Flyers fans, we’ve been speculating since our untimely exit from the playoffs on the Flyers motives for addressing our goaltending issue. This move comes as good news to most Flyers fans who hoped for a goalie to mentor Bob and be ready to win now. But it also comes up as a problem due to our salary cap situation, so how are we going to do this?
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Flyers’ Forwards: Team Toughness, Leino, Carter, Versteeg, etc.

Another big part of the Flyers’ off-season will be the re-signing of their forwards. Ville Leino, Dan Carcillo, Darroll Powe, Nikolai Zherdev, and Andreas Nodl will all be free-agents on July 1st, and the Flyers don’t have the cap space to accommodate all of them. Not all of them will be re-signed, especially with guys like Wellwood, Rinaldo, and Holmstrom hoping to crack the Flyers line-up during training camp. The forwards this year were arguably as deep as any other team, but they lacked execution during the second half of the season and could not seem to fully sync for more than a game at a time in the playoffs. There are a lot of options this off-season to fix the team, and many overlook the play of our forwards because of the goalie situation this playoff. But there definitely was something missing from our forward corps this season, so how can they fix it?
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Penguins Come to Philly

Thursday night’s loss to the Lightning was an emotional one for Flyers fans as they saw former Flyer fan-favorite Simon Gagne return to South Philadelphia wearing some different colors than his traditional orange and black garb. In the 3-2 loss, we were finally pleased to see Nikolai Zherdev get on the stat sheet with a nice rush with crisp passing by Giroux and JVR to find a streaking Zherdev for an easy tap-in. Brian Boucher got the start and played a great game up until he let in a pretty soft goal that turned out to be the game winner. The 4th line continues to be an effective checking line even without Lappy, and the powerplay is still struggling. The Flyers will hope to rectify that tonight when the Pens come to town for their first meeting in Philadelphia this season.

Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start tonight after going 2-0 in his first two starts. The Penguins have a bit more of a gameplan now after seeing Bobs in their home opener, so let’s hope our Russian friend can keep the puck out of the net tonight.

Scott Hartnell has been very quiet this season. Between stupid penalties, stirring the pot, and points… I feel like Scott Hartnell hasn’t even played a game for us this season (minus the Blues game in which he racked up 21 of his total 23 PIM this season with fighting majors). Danny B is still on his A-game offensively, and Leino is still finding his stride after recovering from his off-season hip surgery. If we can get Scotty and Ville going on the same burner they were on in the playoffs, that line will once again be extremely dangerous. I have been unimpressed as a whole with Carbomb’s play this season. He is -3 and has 2 PIM, and has generally been ineffective playing with top tier forwards in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. I feel that if he doesn’t pick it up, he should be bumped down to the 4th line in favor of possibly having JVR move to the first line. Call Nodl up to play on the third line, scratch Carcillo to light a fire under his ass or simply scratch the $1.1 million dollar man Jody Shelley. I’ve actually been pleased with Shelley’s play so far and he has laid some nice checks and seems to be a competent hockey player. Defensively, I’ve seen him body players and get the puck. That’s really all I can ask for from a 4th line enforcer winger, so that has been going well. Matt Walker is injured and may require surgery, but if his move to the LTIR frees up some more cap space, so be it.

Tonight’s Prediction
Look for Claude “The Magician” Giroux to get back on the scoresheet tonight with a goal and an assist. The kid is simply too good and this year is the year I finally believe he will get enough ice-time to be the NHL star that we all know he can be. I’d also like to see Richie get his first goal of the year, and tonight may be the night. He always seems to bring his best when playing against the Penguins, and nothing would be better to start off the season 2-0 against the division. Let’s go Flyers! Face-off at 6 PM to accommodate the Phillies starting at 8. Go Phils too!

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2010 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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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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Eastern Conference Finals Preview: (7) Flyers vs. (8) Canadiens

The roads both of these teams took to get here were not exactly the easiest ways to do it. Waiting till the end of the season before clinching a playoff berth, and playing two series against quality Eastern Conference teams; the Flyers and Habs are 4 wins away from the Stanley Cup Finals. Never before has a 7th and 8th seed met in the playoffs, so history has been made yet again. Tonight they start their series off in Philadelphia as both teams are fresh off of a seven game series. Here are what I believe the two most important keys to this series:
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Posted by on May 16, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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History Has Been Made

What can you say about last night’s win that hasn’t been said already? We all knew the story, even the ones who jumped on the bandwagon knew what last night’s game meant. Yet, what I was a part of last night will stick with me forever.

I walked into the Wach last night for the viewing party and got my courtesy “LET’S GO FLYERS” sign. There were drunk high school kids, die-hard fans, and casual fans all around me who all wanted the same thing: one more game, and one more round. The chants were cranked up to 11 as my friends and I made our way to our seats (Section 108/109). It filled up quickly as orange quickly swallowed the dark red color of the seats. The Flyers crew was walking around, and popped up on the screen from time to time to get the fans into it. What happened next gave me as big of goosebumps as I’ve ever had an actual Flyers game: Lauren Hart coming on screen with a recording of a recent rendition of “God Bless America”. You thought it was loud when we got there? Kate Smith stole the show. I was not even a thought when she sang on this particular recording, yet I as well as everyone else in attendance knew the significance of this song. My arms were prickly with goosebumps as the last chords of the song ran out, and then it erupted as the VERSUS feed came onto the screen and showed us fellow Flyers fans going nuts.
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Posted by on May 15, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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