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Trade(s) Coming This Week?

Ilya Bryzgalov visited Philadelphia last week and created a twitter account, tweeting in both Russian and English with hints of good news coming soon. What does this mean for Flyers fans? Hopefully, it means that Holmgren’s meeting with Bryzgalov and his agent Rich Winter went well, and their plans to get back in touch this week will solidify a contract that both sides will be happy with. With the NHL Draft coming up this Friday, the Flyers are expected to make a splash in the trade market. The cap is expected to go up to between $63 and $64 million, so that helps the Flyers in being able to sign Bryzgalov by making some minor demotions to the NHL and using the waiver wire. However, I still think a trade will be coming, small or large so RFAs Powe and/or Nodl can be re-signed, as well as Ville Leino.

I added a new poll on the right on who you’d rather see traded this off-season. The names haven’t changed, and there won’t be much to analyze or talk about until the Flyers make a move. If a trade is announced, you know that the news of Bryzgalov’s contract shortly follows that news, and vice-versa. As it stands now, the Flyers don’t have a pick in this year’s draft until the 3rd round. But we’ll see what happens. I’ll be back with analysis and updates on anything that goes down. Bryzgalov and Winter should be in talks again with Holmgren tomorrow, so expect progress as early as tomorrow afternoon and as late as Friday. Should be a fun week.

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Posted by on June 20, 2011 in Flyers Talk and Other

 

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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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Testing the Waters: Why the Flyers Will (probably) Not Sign Leino or Bryzgalov

Before I begin, keep in mind that I am a Leino fan and would like him to return the Flyers, but not if they overpay him. I’d also love to see Bryzgalov get a shot over here and bring his talents to our team so close to a championship. But with the salary cap and the market, in my opinion there’s a chance they will not be here next year. And here’s why.

Ville Leino will be 28 at the start of next season, and Ilya Bryzgalov will turn 31 by the time free-agency on July 1st rolls around. Why won’t the Flyers sign them? Simply because they both are set up to be paid big in this contract. Three years from now, neither of them will be able to command as much money or as many years as they can now. Ville Leino has been trying to strike the NHL for years, and finally got his shot to show his stuff last year in the playoffs. Ilya Bryzgalov has been the best player on the Coyotes for years now, and he wants to get paid and win some games before he’s too old to do so. It only makes sense that these guys are going to go after bigger contracts with more financial security.

Ville Leino wants to stay in Philadelphia, we all know that. He has good chemistry with his linemates, and he fits in a lot better here than he did in Detroit. But how much will that affect his decision making when he could easy make $3.5 million in another city that has money to splurge? (New York Islanders, Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Unknowns, Florida Panthers, etc.) As I’ve said in previous posts, I want Leino to stay. Quality wingers are in short supply in our franchise, and he is a great forward with some nice moves and strength on the puck. But if he asks for more than $3 million, I expect the Flyers to let him walk. We have to sign JVR next year to a new contract, and if next season is anything like his performance down the stretch this past season, he’s going to deserve a substantial raise.

Ilya Bryzgalov has been rumored to liking Philadelphia as a possible destination for his next job, but at what price? He might be willing to take a smaller salary to play for a contending hockey club, but I can’t see him willing to get too underpaid on what should be his last big pay day. If the Flyers do want to sign him, it would be upwards of $5-$6 million. They have to trade some salary away (Versteeg, Carle, maybe Carter, etc.) in order to be salary cap compliant for the year, and they arguably still have a void or two to fill on defense or forward.

July 1st is about a month away, and it will be very hard to figure out what Holmgren will do. He always seems to get creative around this time, maybe he can trade Leino’s rights at the draft if they can’t reach an agreement with him? Will they trade one of their core forwards? It’s going to be a very exciting early July this year, I hope we get what we need… as long as the price is right.

 
 

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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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Season Ends in Disappointment

To make the week of the Flyers getting swept by the Bruins, I was swamped in finals and had absolutely NO TIME to update the blog. I had a laundry list of things to say after attending Game 1, but due to my rigorous schedule I couldn’t get on a computer and talk about it. But here I am, school is done, the Flyers are done, and it’s summer break for me filled with work and enjoying the weather. The Flyers have a lot of questions to address this off-season, considering they were (supposedly) a deeper team this time around, yet fell WAY short of their expected exit. I think if the Flyers lost valiantly to the better team in a conference final or the cup finals, this pill would be a bit easier to swallow.

1. WTF do we do about goaltending?

2. How do we re-sign/replace all of our free agents?
(Leino, Zherdev, O’Donnell, Nodl, Carcillo, Powe, Boucher,Boynton)

3. Who do we dump in order to remedy our cap space that’s under $500,000? (About $430,000)

4. How will aging veterans Pronger and Timonen respond to their most recent injuries that both might require surgery?

The Flyers have a lot of options with free-agent goalies this off-season, and there are a good amount of young goalies on the market if the Flyers were looking to trade some of their bigger names in order to alleviate space and grab a goaltender until Bobrovsky can start. Signing free-agents is going to predicate on the cap space we have, and who we deem expendable. Timonen and Pronger, at this point, have until September/October-ish to get healthy. The window is closing for these guys.

I will be spending the next few weeks going more in-depth into these questions and preparing for free-agency, draft, and trades in the upcoming months.

 
 

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Season Preview: Starts in Pittsburgh

The Consol Energy Center’s opening night will have the honor of hosting the defending Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers. The homecoming/home-breaking for one of our biggest division rivals and we have a chance to ruin it just like the Canadiens ruined the last memory of the Igloo last spring. I’m pumped.

The Flyers are coming off a Stanley Cup Final run that ended in a 6 game series with Chicago and without some pieces from that team. Losses of Gagne to trade and Leighton and Lappy to injury bring a lot of room for players to step in. Nikolai Zherdev is a man on a mission for another shot at the NHL after spending some time in the Russian KHL league, and he has a shot to now playing with some of our top profile players. Michael Leighton’s play was stellar at times last season, but fell letting in a few soft goals in the Final; including a flukey-type one that ended his team’s run. Brian Boucher is back to take it between the pipes while Russian up-and-comer goaltender Sergei Brobovsky will be dressing as the club’s backup with Johan Backlund on the Phantoms. UPDATE: Apparently Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start tonight in Pittsburgh. Can’t wait to see what this kid has in store for us this season.

Another concern on the injury front has been the absence of Chris Pronger. Pronger had some procedures done on his knee this summer before the start of camp and did not participate in the pre-season. However, we have to recognize that this is Chris Pronger we’re dealing with here, and he doesn’t necessarily need the pre-season. He knows what type of shape he has to be in at this point in his career. Tonight everyone was expecting him to play, and we know he wants to. He will not be playing tonight and Matt Walker Oskars Bartulis will be taking his place. This defense has a lot to answer for. With most of the core intact with Pronger, Timonen, Carle, and Coburn, we should be solid. We also have returning second year player Oskars Bartulis to supplement the new additions of Sean O’Donnell, Matt Walker, and Andrej Meszaros.

There are a few young players on the team who also have a lot of questions to answer this season. Ville Leino stunned and dazzled hockey fans with the opportunity he received in the Eastern Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals. Now this is his chance to prove to the Flyers he’s worth a new contract. Zherdev will be hoping to get another contract too, so look for these two young talents to duke it out all year. Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter are also entering the last year on their contracts, and both are due for a pay raise. This will be a problem down the road, especially with Carter’s cap hit already at $5,000 and Giroux still on his rookie contract under $1,000. JVR has added more muscle to his frame to help his play along the boards. He has the talent and skill to play in the NHL, now he just needs the grit and effort to become a true power-forward type player that he can be. I’d like to see him take it to guys on the boards and be aggressive in fighting for the puck. You got size kid, start using it.

The Pens are going to be opening their new building and trying to figure out how to get Paul Martin involved in their powerplay after losing Sergei Gonchar this off-season. They are also without Jordan Staal at this point, so for once I know our center depth is exponentially better than theirs rather than being about even as usual.

Can’t wait for tonight, should be a great game. I’ll have more on the season as it goes on. Not much to say yet since they haven’t played, but I’m sure there will be plenty to talk about soon.

 

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How We Got Here

The Flyers are in the Stanley Cup Finals. The FLYERS are in the Stanley Cup Finals. Not Pittsburgh, not New Jersey, not Washington, not Boston, not Buffalo, not any of the top-seeded Eastern Conference teams. The 7th seeded Philadelphia Flyers have made it all the way and now only four wins separate them from their first Stanley Cup in 35 years. With a long 82 games season and three grueling rounds of NHL playoff action, it is easy to look past exactly what got us here. Here’s a look at some main events leading up to this wonderful playoff run:
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Posted by on May 28, 2010 in Playoffs

 

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