Hey, hey, hey, Goodbye
What a whirlwind off-season for the Flyers thus far! First Danny Briere met the unemployment ax and now the lightning rod for criticism in net has been given his walking papers. Ilya Bryzgalov was informed by the Flyers management yesterday that they would use their second compliance buyout on him. This is great news for their salary cap situation and to many fans.
Bryz's antics were not what derailed this team but he surely didn't help any with even ESPN making fun of him. While in 2012-13 Bryz was not the Flyers biggest problem on the ice, he certainly was in 2011-12 in his first season with the team. He never seemed to make that one big save to steal a game or keep the Flyers in the lead at many times. In the Playoffs especially he hurt the Flyers more than anything. He never seemed to be able to make easy stops that kept momentum going or was a big reason the Flyers were behind in many games versus PIT. While the defense was shady at times for a goalie being paid this much money he needed to steal games or limit teams to only 1 or 2 goal games more consistently. This became evident in the NJD series when the offense was stifled but Bryz couldn't hold leads when they had them in Games 1 and 4 and allowed too many soft goals and bad plays in games 2, 3 and 5 (cough, Clarkson turnover, cough!).
In two years as the Flyers #1 goalie Bryzgalov may have been one of the most disappointing big signings in Philadelphia Sports History. After being sat for the Winter Classic to feuding with the media it was his time, and his inconsistent play was the biggest factor in Paul Holmgren's decision. Hopefully, moving forward the Flyers can have Steve Mason play like he did in his 8-game sample size and find a quality goalie such as Jonas Hiller, Jaroslav Halak or Ray Emery come in to platoon and really sure up the crease for once.
Hopefully this buyout will lead to signing Giroux, Schenn and Couturier long term and keeping the core of this team together to contend for Cups in the near future.
This off-season seems to have more rumors than usual connecting the Flyers to big name players and deals. So let's look at a few and do a little analysis.
The 28-year old defenseman has now been linked to trades heading to EDM or ANA for various packages of players and picks. The EDM rumor is Coburn, Laughton and the 2013 3rd rd. pick for EDM's #7 overall pick. This offer is one Philly may need to strongly consider. Coburn has been a rock on defense since he came to Philly but last year struggle mightily adjusting to a new role with the team. Part of that might have been the late start to the season, which if he is retained can only hope was the cause. Losing Laughton may not be the worst thing in the world. I know he lit up the OHL this year and has drawn many Mike Richards like comparisons but isn't that why they acquired Brayden Schenn two off-seasons ago? Laughton is expendable because of Couturier and Schenn's role with the team currently.
Potentially holding the #7 and #11 picks in this years draft would be absurd when looking at the talent pool on both ends of the ice. #7 could became Ristolainin, a strong Russian defenseman who could potentially make the jump next year to the NHL, and the #11 opens up a world of possibilities. Trade it to a desperate team looking for youth in exchange for a scoring winger to open more options on offense. They also could draft another young defenseman and actually home-grow their talent for once and have the potential of 2 great defenseman in a few years in addition to the likes of Lauridsen, Gustaffson and Manning. Look at NYR and BOS, both of whom have some great drafted talent on their roster that gives them a great defensive core.
The ANA rumor is Coburn and the #11 pick for Bobby Ryan. I don't think this trade benefits the Flyers at all. They would lose a very good 2-3 defenseman who is only 28 and the #11 pick. Bobby Ryan is a very good player but I don't believe he is worth this price. He has four 30-goal seasons but how much of that is who he plays around and lack of top defenders covering him? He is stuck behind Perry, Getzlaf and Selanne. He was dropped to the 3rd line in the playoffs for lack of production, had a down year and was known to have attitude problems earlier in his career. He reminds me way too much of JvR and we all know how polarizing he was for Flyers fans. I would love to see Ryan become a member of the Flyers but not at this price. The team has many scoring options currently, and I believe with a full off-season and training camp players like Read (if not traded), Hartnell, Couturier, Schenn and Simmonds will have big years. Also, can't discount Max Talbot from helping out more like he did in his 1st season with Philly.
The Flyers have been connected to this American born defenseman for the last 2 years. PHX is setting quite a high asking price for his service however. They wish to acquire Schenn or Couturier which the Flyers have kept refusing to trade the two young forwards. Yandle would be an upgrade on D but needs to be grabbed without giving up their great young talent. Maybe a package of Matt Read, Andrej Meszaros and a 2nd rd. pick would do the trick, but I don't know as the Flyers also have to be somewhat weary of the cap but Yandle only carries a $5.25 mil hit which for a defenseman of his skill set is considered on the cheaper side and he is locked up for three more seasons.
These are the biggest rumors out there right now and at the draft it will be anything goes so let's see if Holmgren can pull some draft day magic like he has in the past and help get this team back to where they belong in the pursuit of Lord Stanley.
From the Box,