Been awhile since this has been updated due to school and work but here we go!
Last nights 5-2 loss essentially ended any type of hope the Flyers had at making the playoffs barring any sort of immaculate intervention (and no, Joseph Gordon Levitt will not be waving his arms at the games making angels appear to perform incredible feats). With the trade deadline a week away many ponder what Paul Homgren will do with this team. There has been much speculation that he is seeking a puck-moving defenseman or a big-time forward but these come at a steep price anymore. This team clearly needs to make some moves but it remains to be seen whether Homer can keep youth in the organization or will ship players out for talent or draft picks. Given this years talented and deep draft class, stockpiling picks may be the way to go.
What does this team need to succeed in the future, who stays and who goes? I'm going to play some arm-chair GM and level my decisions.
Needless to say the offense has been terrible in this lockout shortened season. Players all throughout the lineup have gone missing for long stretches during the entire season and it shows in the Flyers dismal record. Some players such as Jake Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn have shown they truly belong to stay here and are very valuable to this team while others such as Max Talbot and Sean Couturier have taken some big steps backwards.
Couturier is a very young player at only 20 years old and has proven to be one of the best shut down centers in the game but, the offense hasn't been there this year. Sean has been missing chances left and right and his confidences has been down. Is this a reason to trade him? Possibly, given the right return but it may prove to be a costly move by the organization in the long run. Couturier is a player who the Flyers need to wait on and be patient with. As a rookie he put up good offensive numbers but this year has hit a sophomore slump. One down season is no need to jettison a young and promising center out of town. Look at Anaheim and holding on to Getzlaf after a year in '11-'12 where the elite center only had 15 goals. Many rumors have the Flyers trading Couturier in the offseason for Bobby Ryan (6 years older than Coots) but this is a bad deal. Ryan does not bring the defensive talent Couturier has and the contract situation will be a factor. Couturier is an RFA in the summer of '14-'15 and Ryan is a UFA in '15-'16. Why is this an issue? Because the Flyers need to pay Claude Giroux in '14 and make no mistake about it he will get the big money. The Flyers will also need to keep Brayden Schenn (RFA) that summer with Coots and G. That is going to be a lot of money. If they acquired Ryan the very next summer they would be faced with signing Ryan to a big contract as well and may not have the cap space if they want to field a team with any defense. I would not be a fan of this trade if it happened because I don't see Couturier having many more down years given his talent level.
Danny Briere has drawn the ire Flyer fans as his defensive-zone play and lack of offensive production coupled with a high cap-hit made him a prime target for a trade or off-season buyout. The off-season buyout may be the most likely option for Mr. Playoffs due to a current concussion. It will be a move that frees up cap space but at what cost? The Flyers would lose a tremendously talented offensive player, a great team player and a very well-respected leader. With all that being said I unfortunately believe Danny will not be returning as a Flyer in 2013-14.
Overall, the Flyers have offensive talent throughout their lineup and in the minors. Nick Cousins and Scott Laughton will be with the club soon and their additions to the players in tact (Giroux, Hartnell, Simmonds, Voracek, Read, Schenn and Couturier) will make this team lethal upfront in the future. BE PATIENT!
This has been a real sore point for the Flyers this season. Their defense has arguably been the biggest reason the team is 3rd-worst in the NHL. Kimmo Timmonen is a warrior but beginning to show signs of aging, Brayden Coburn has regressed to a 21-year old mistake filled player and their 5-6 pairings have been horrendous pretty much every single night. The Flyers don't have much in their farm system in terms of D and their lack of depth could haunt the organization for years to come. When looking at this defense let us remember that if it were not for a career ending injury a Hall of Famer would be roaming the blue lines but they must now play the hand they are dealt.
The JRV-Luke Schenn trade was one that benefit and hurt the Flyers in one move. Schenn has definitely benefited from the change of scenery and has had a very good season in many peoples eyes so far. The downside is JVR has emerged as a great offensive threat and goal-scorer in TOR. Schenn has been one of the few bright spots on D this year along with the big bear, Nikolas Grossmann.
Flyers fans have been calling for the head of Brayden Coburn all season and it may be coming. With the deadline looming his smooth-skating and big body would make a very nice addition to teams in the playoff hunt (think Anaheim out West) looking to bolster their defense. I can easily see Homer pulling the trigger on a deal with Coburn in it but only if the return were to be 1st round picks, top prospects or a player of comparable skill. Coburn is still young at only 27 years old but his body has been through some long and grueling playoff runs in the last 6 years as a Flyer.
A player who absolutely needs to be dealt now at the deadline or in the offseason is Andrej Meszaros. He has been nothing but an injury-plagued defenseman in his time in Philly. His cap hit is too high for the little he brings to the table. He has some offensive upside but is very suspect in his own end and takes way too many stick penalties or gets beat in the corners too much for a 3-4 defenseman.
Rumors have the Flyers linked to nearly every puck moving defensman under the sun at the moment. the big ones are Bouwmeester, Boyle, Yandle and now SJ's Brent Burns. Only two of these players make any sense for the Orange and Black and that would be the latter two. Bouwmeester is a slightly above-average player and has proven that with his lack of play in Calgary. The guy actually had a Hockey News article written on him titled "If JayBo Plays Does Anyone Notice?" Not a good sign for an aging defenseman with a sky-high cap-hit (7+ mil a year). Dan Boyle would also be a bad deal to make as he is 37 and on the downside of his bright career. This would only be a temporary fix and not help the Flyers in the long-term. rnrnMaking a run at Yandle or Burns makes sense for many reasons. Arguably the biggest is their talent levels but the other is they both have cap-friendly contracts. Yandle is the more skilled of the two and would more likely have a higher price tag but rumors have it he is attainable. Yandle is a smooth-skater who brings a nasty edge coupled with great offensive zone presence. On the other side of the puck is Burns. He is known as a player with blazing speed, precision passing ability and a great PP player. He also brings the ability to play a very tough game in his own end. Overall if the Flyers were to acquire either of these two players it would be a tremendous lift to their hurting defense. Either of these players would make parting with Cousins or Laughton easily bearable.
This one's simple: KEEP BRYZ! He has played well this year for a floundering team. His contract is not absurd and there is no one else in the league who can replace him skill-wise. Hockey is a team game and while the goalie may have his off nights, he needs help around him to succeed and get wins.