The Flyers have made some interesting moves this offseason. The main move that all of the moves centered around was the acquisition of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. The Flyers have struggled to find a legit number one goalie for over a decade and now hope Bryzgalov will be that guy. They shipped a couple of prospects from Adirondack of the AHL along with a couple of picks for the rights to sign him.
It took a while, but they finally did sign him to a 9-year, $51 Million dollar contact. This obviously required getting rid of some salary.
Although they needed to dump a lot of the payroll, it’s safe to say that most people were still surprised when they traded away their top two franchise players, including their captain. Mike Richards was traded to LA for highly-touted, young Bradyen Schenn along with Wayne Simmonds. Carter was dealt to Columbus for winger Jakob Voracek.
Still, they needed to trade away more salary, so young talent Darroll Powe as well as Kris Versteeg, were both traded for draft picks.
Many people argue that the Flyers got rid of too much talent and now have a worse team. However, let’s actually take a look at these moves…
Jeff Carter <-(check out this pucked up video on youtube) is an elite talent in this league, I will not argue with that. Still, Philly wasn’t the best fit for him. I wonder if he was a good “fit” for the girl in this picture? A lot of people referred to Carter’s frequent play as “dogging it” or “lazy” or that he was more concerned with girls and partying than the game. But the real problem with Carter was, as I said, it just wasn’t the right fit. Maybe he wasn’t with the right linemates; maybe the Flyers system didn’t fit his style of play well enough. Whatever it was, Carter was not effective. No matter how good a player is, their effectiveness to their team is a completely different story. However, at the end of the day, the Flyers just shipped 35+ goals a year to Columbus.
Jakub Voracek came to Philly in the Carter trade. Everyone that I’ve talked to about this has told me that Flyers fans are definitely going to like Voracek…they have all literally said “if you’re a flyers fan, you’ll like Voracek.” So that sounds like it’s probably a good sign. Moreover, Voracek found success playing on a line with NHL superstar Rick Nash, as those two were centered by Derick Brassard. Just being able to be put on a line with Rick Nash says something about Voracek. To me, it sounds like Voracek will have a better time here in Philly than Carter did. Not that he’ll put up better numbers, because he won’t, but he’ll be more effective relative to his skillset than Carter was relative to his skillset. On top of that, the Flyers received a first round pick and a third round pick in the subsequent 2011 draft, drafting forwards Sean Couturier Nick Cousins respectively.
Mike Richards <-(check out this pucked up video on youtube) was going to be the Flyers’ franchise player. He was supposed to be what the team’s future centered around after they dealt Forsberg away after the abysmal 2006-07 season. Instead they centered beer pong players around him. Following the 2007-2008 season, Richie was signed to a 12 year extension. After Derian Hatcher was captain and then Jason Smith, Richards was finally given the “C”. Richards was a good captain, I’ll agree. And although there was drama between him and Pronger, he still was a good team leader on the ice and in the locker room, as well as a great player overall. The only bad thing about his actual captaincy, which was a complaint many fans had of Richards, was he was just a drip in post game interviews, afraid to talk to the media, mumbled when he had to answer a difficult question…
The problem on the ice was that he had a certain intensity to his game that we all know and love. But that intensity didn’t show up as much nor as often as it should have. Richards will certainly be missed, but the frustration of his inconsistent intensity, for lack of a better term, ironically will not be missed.
When looking at the deal as a whole, the Flyers essentially robbed the Kings. Brayden Schenn, cousin of Maple Leaf defensemen Luke Schenn, is said to be by a lot of scouts and media “the real deal”. I know, I know. We’ve heard that before. But this time it is legit; he has a lot of credentials and he put up some sick numbers in juniors. Wayne Simmonds came along in that deal as well. Simmonds is an energy guy with skill. Like a Dan Carcillo, except a lot better. Could probably play on the second, third or fourth line and be very effective on any one of those lines. On top of that, a second round pick in next year’s draft also came along in that deal.
A highly-touted, very skilled young center, an energy/skill winger and a decently high draft pick next year for Richards (explained above…it sounds like the Flyers did pretty good in this deal.
Darroll Powe was a good young player, a penalty-killing specialist and defensive specialist even in full strength situations. He had great speed for his size, and was also pretty decent offensively, or at least underrated offensively. He also brought a nice physical game as well and, from time to time, would drop the gloves if need be. The Flyers lose a very valuable player when the traded him for a 2013 third round pick.
The third round pick will either be used to draft someone in 2013 or will be utilized in a future trade. But, the Flyers did sign someone who will take Powe’s role. That guy is six-year veteran Maxime Talbot. He’s another defensive/penalty-killing specialist with decent offensive skill. While Powe will be missed, it won’t be too long before Flyers fans warm up to Talbot.
Kris Versteeg leaves the Flyers, but it wasn’t working out here for him anyway. Instead we get an even more skilled player in some guy that goes by the name of Jaromir Jagr. Yes, he is old as hell, but he’s still one of the top players in NHL history and will still help out in a lot of spots. Dan Carcillo leaves, but like I said, Wayne Simmonds is the new, better Carcillo. And Booooosh leaves, but obviously, all Flyers fans would prefer the tandem of Bryzgalov/Bobrovsky. The Flyers also signed some more energy guys to extensions, Andreas Nodl and Jon Kalinksi. Nodl already has a role on this team and is a good player to have. Kalinski, if he doesn’t make the big club this year, is a very, very good call-up guy to have in the organization.
All in all, the Flyers season is looking a lot brighter than a lot of people think, so just wait for October 6, sit back and enjoy the ride…
No, they won’t win a Cup this year (even though this is what it’s all about, but no pucking surprise), but it will be a good year (as usual).