Oh Me Oh My, theres a LOT of work to be done this summer. I would like annnounce that this is what I would do, I'm not saying Holmgren will do anything like this. First I'll address the defense, then the upcoming draft, then offense, then .... *Dun Dun Dun Duh* Goaltending. Finally I will give you what my roster would look like.
Okay so first I want to address those dreamers: Pronger is not coming back. There is no way he will ever set foot on the ice again. A few people hope that he might come back and could maybe get by being half the defender he used to be. Honestly its just not happening.
Now that Ive got that out of the way I can address the problems
1) Coburn's Regression
2) Mezaros Transforming into the "Glass Man"
3) Timonen's 6mil Salary...And his Age...Well just Timonen in general
4) Luke Schenn: Was the JVR Trade Worth it?
5) Bottom Liners
7) Finally Signing
Im not really going to talk about Grossmann because his situation is pretty simple. I like the way he plays despite being slightly injury prone.
1) This year Coburn has been atrocious. I really cant think of another way to describe how he was playing. Try. See if you can. I bet you cant. He has always been a streaky player but I think this season has kind of exposed him as extremely benefiting from good line mates. And thats not a weird thing with defensemen. Just look what happened when Weber and Suter split. Still I want him out of Philly. Time to move on. Despite his play I still think he has some value on the trade market (and yes I know he has a no trade clause). Later I will say the trade id do.
2) Oh Mezaros the only person youve been competeing with is Rick DiPietro for injuries "ba-dum-TSH" (My best attempt at the drum noise after a joke). Yes I know what I said is an overstatement. Mez looked great at the beginning of the season before his injuries but when he was rushed back he looked like a shell of his former self. He seemed almost too scared to hit. Mez's injury troubles have really destroyed any value he could have on the trade market. So I would keep him for another year and use him as a 5th/6th Defender. He could really anchor that line. And if it doesnt work out you can release him as a free agent in 2014 since his contract ends.
3) *Facepalm* Really Holmgren? 6 Million? I mean I love Timo, He has been our best defender but COME ON! But he is 38 and has had injury troubles in the past (thank god not this year). Also a NMC? We could have sold him at the deadline next year for a pick. Well thats not happening anymore. Now in Timo's benefit he has been great. As of now he is tied for 16th in the league for points among defensemen. Thats great considering his age. All in All, if 6 million is what it takes to retain Timonen I think its a move we need to make.
4) Yes. Hell Yes. I know this is the unpopular choice but look at the Flyers Defense this year: its terrible. Now picture it without Luke Schenn. Thats what I call a nightmare. Yea, yea, yea, JVR is having an amazing season in Toronto but the Flyers never used him like the Leafs do and when he was here he was constantly injured. Time will tell whether he can stay healthy. On a cap perspective we traded roughly a 5 million dollar cap hit for again roughly a 3 million dollar cap hit. At least were not gaining cap. Time will tell who is the winner here, but I personally think its too soon to tell.
5) Okay Bottom Liners. This group consists of: Kurtis Foster, Bruno Gervais, Erik Gustafsson, Brandon Manning, Oliver Lauridsen, Marc Andre Bourdon, and Andreas Lilja. First, Kurtis Foster should not be playing. Nope. Not good enough. At least he only plays during injuries. How many of those can we actually have? Oh wait...Anyways, Gervais should go too. Word of note to any GM, ANY PLAYER THAT WAS WAIVED FROM THE ISLES SHOULD NOT BE PICKED UP. Oh, and then not resigned by the defense needing Lightning. Sorry, I needed to vent that out. Coming into this season I thought Gustafsson would make the team, I have been surprisingly underwhelmed by his play this year. In this last call up and during the Boston 3-1 win, he was pretty good so its hard to tell where he actually sits. Again, time will tell. Okay, moving on, Brandon Manning has not gotten any NHL time this season partially because of his untimely recent injury. I think that eventually he will be a solid defender if we give him time to grow in the NHL. "Ollie" Lauridsen was an unexpected call up for the Boston game previously mentioned. At first he seemed a little lost on the ice but he was just adapting to the pace of the NHL. Overall I thought he played well and he seems like a diamond in the rough. Marc Andre Bourdon, or MAB, has had a concussion and other injuries for a long time. So theres not much to say here other than this is worrying that he is getting these kind of serious injuries at this point in his career. Finally do I really have to talk about Lilja? What says it all is that Holmgren has more faith in Lauridsen than Lilja.
Overall we don't have really any blue chip prospects coming up through the AHL system at this point in the franchise (the Flyers are ranked dead last in prospect depth).
6) Now that I pretty much trashed the entire defense I am going to give you a way to fix it. As much as I hate trading players away we NEED a puck moving defenseman who can actually make a pass out of his zone and spring the forwards for a rush. Timonen is too old to be this man anymore. My choice is Pheonix's Keith Yandle. At the young age of 26, Yandle is already a great puck moving defenseman with 19 points this season, 43 last season, and an outstanding play off record last season. And he is 190 pounds and 6'1 so he isnt a really tiny guy, like our own Timonen. Now I am going to say this first: It will cost an arm and a leg to acquire. But the questions are is he worth it? Hell Yea. Will he help fix our defense? Hell Yea. Our there any other cheaper legitimate options that still bring the same skill set? Hell No. Let me go through a few:
--Bouwmeester--He will cost as mush as Yandle with more cap hit, less speed, and less passing skill (Not bashing JBouw but he is not what we need).
--Shattenkirk-- No way St. Louis lets him leave for anything less than a huge fortune. You thought I was going to say small fortune. Nope. HUGE.
--Byfugelien- With Winnipeg in 3rd in the east there is no way they will get rid of their top defenseman. Just not happening. And do we really want Big Buff in a city famous for its cheese steaks? Low blow.
--Boyle-- OLD. He is freaking 36 and comes with a side of a huge cap. Maybe if he was younger he would be the right move but nope. Of all the ones i mentioned he would probably be the worst in my opinion. Again I'm not bashing him but we already have our veteran (Timonen).
Phew. Okay now this is what I would give up to get Yandle:
Brayden Coburn + Matt Read + 2014 2nd Round Pick --> Keith Yandle
Now before everyone blasts me in the comments just read my reasons:
---1)Coburn needs a new start in a new organization and I dont really want him on the Flyers so he can go.
---2) Matt Read is great. I love how he plays but we have to give to get. If Matt Read wants to play his normal position as Right Wing he would be behind Voracek and Simmonds. He is not a 3rd Line Center and although losing his production will hurt I think we can deal with the loss. Also Matt Read will be expecting a huge raise from the 900,000 he makes this season so that could be costly.
---3) I chose a pick in the 2014 Draft because face it in the '13 we are drafting pretty high and this is a deep draft. I'll get into all that in a little bit. Personally, I think the Flyers will make a bounce-back next season so we might not be giving up too much.
One last thing: Before I would offer Matt Read I would offer Scott Laughton because we are almost too deep at center. If they accept that with Coburn and the pick I will be amazed but hey its a better deal for us. If the offer I suggested with Read does not get it done I would throw in either a 3rd from a few years in the future or a cheap prospect. Maybe Wahl? We did get him really cheap from Calgary.
7) To be candid, the 2013 Free Agency Sucks. It really sucks for defensemen. There are only a few players I want for the price it would cost. I will save you from all the options and go with my top choice: Landislav Smid. A young (27), tough, and experienced defenseman who plays top minutes for Edmonton. He is not a flashy defender but he will be a great addition to the team. I think if he does hit free agency he will receive around 3.00-3.75 million.
Phew, Finally done with Defense. Moving on..
2013 NHL ENTRY DRAFT
Again I will start this one with killing a pipe dream. We will not get Seth Jones. I guess thankfully we are not that bad. Seth Jones, often compared to Pronger, is going to be an all-star in the NHL; however, he will most likely be drafted 1st overall.
Now that said, this is not a huge problem. There is talent everywhere in the first round of this draft. Personally, I think the Flyers will be unlucky and loose out on the lottery and end up with somewhere between a 4th and 6th round pick.
My top choice for that pick would be...wait...Drum Roll please? dum duh dum duh dum tsssh. Okay good, my choice is Valeri Nichushkin. Nich is a Russian 6'4 200 pound Left Winger currently playing as a top six forward in the KHL. So far he has had mixed mock draft results going anywhere from 2nd Overall to 12th. European prospects are loving this kid. Let me now discuss his playing style: He is a power forward who is able to maintain control of the puck, create space with his size (much like Jagr), and then charge the net and snipe the corners. Check out these videos:
Actually watch them. I probably wouldn't but please do because they will show you what I see in him.
This is a great article on Nich:
One last thing: Please Holmgren do NOT draft another center...Has it ever crossed your mind that we have too many when we have centers playing on wings.
I guess I'll make a laundry list again:
1) Couturier Regression...or Maybe too High Expectations
2) The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Which Forwards are Suceeding
1) Constantly on the Flyers blog people are calling for Couturier's head. Saying that he should be traded. Are you guys freaking serious? Literally he has gone from the golden boy to the whipping boy. Why would you trade a prospect when their value is at the lowest? That just doesn't make sense. Maybe we overvalued him and expected too much. He is 20 years old and we thought after shutting down Malkin in the playoffs, still an impressive feat, he would grow on that and become a Selke Trophy candidate. Now just because he is having a sophmore slump does not mean you give up and trade him. He is the future of this franchise. If Holmgren cannot see that its time to go. Let him progress and try to give him more time once we completely miss our chances at the playoffs.
Matt Read-- Great this year despite injuries. He has a real scoring touch and can play a great two way game.
Claude Giroux-- Not living up to insanely high expectations but slowly amassing a respectable amount of points in the second part of the season. Also great on faceoffs.
Jake Voracek-- Do I really need to say how good he has been? SO GREAT. He is building off last season and having a great year. Passing, shooting, skating; He does it all.
Scott Hartnell-- Not building off of career year because of injuries. Poses questions over whether last year was a fluke.
Wayne Simmonds-- Having a great year and defining himself as a top power forward.
Brayden Schenn-- Not showing the amazing progression we had hoped but is still doing well and defining his game. However he has been inconsistent.rnrnZack Rinaldo-- Probably one of the best Flyers. Able to draw other players into penalties and puts up great hits.
Simon Gagne-- Not much left in the tank but has great sentimental value and is a good veteran presence.
Maxime Talbot--Not living up to scoring expectations but remaining a strong defensive player.
Ty McGinn-- An unexpected addition to the Flyers lineup that has been pretty good when up.
Rusty Fedotenko-- A good defensive forward that makes smart plays but not great on offense.
Mike Knuble-- Not much left in the tank but adds depth and leadershiprnrnHarry Z-- Needs to learn discipline with big hits.
Danny Briere- Terrible. I hate to say it but he has been terrible.rnrnSean Couturier- Not living up to expectations and not showing any offensive prowess or stellar defensive play.
Okay so that's my opinion on the Flyers offense.
Maybe the most controversial issue of the Flyers roster is the goal tending debacle. Ill get right to the point: Bryz should not be bought out. Ill also make it blunt why we should keep him: He is playing with a terrible defense, he "seems" less crazy and media focused, he looks more adept in net, he looks like he cares about the team, and he is playing every single game with no breaks.
Now what I am not saying is we should never buy him out because that contract is terrible. What we should do is give him another year to show that he can produce acceptable numbers under a new, stronger defense. If he doesn't then we should buy him out and find a replacement in the stocked 2014 Free Agency. If he does produce we should still save a buyout so that we can get rid of his contract eventually when we can find a better and possibly cheaper replacement. Right now there are none that are available.
What we do need is a backup. Leighton and Boosh are not cutting it. Neither seems able to play in the NHL. The backup I suggest going after is Ottowa's Ben Bishop. He is a young prospect who has shown his skills since Craig Anderson's injury this season. His numbers have been great and Ottawa would be willing to trade him since they have plenty of goaltenders. However, we will have to trade for him since he is a RFA. The other goalie I would go after would be Boston's Anton Khudobin. This goalie has proven himself to be a top tier backup and maybe a great starter in a few years. He is a UFA so we do not have to offer sheet or trade to get him. Also Boston may not resign him since Malcolm Subban may take the backup role and the Bruins are pressed against the salary cap limits. We need a backup and both of these players are the best options.
Valeri Nichushkin ($0.925m) / Claude Giroux ($3.750m) / Jakub Voracek ($4.250m)
Scott Hartnell ($4.750m) / Brayden Schenn ($3.110m) / Wayne Simmonds ($3.975m)
Simon Gagne ($2.000m) / Sean Couturier ($1.375m) / Maxime Talbot ($1.750m)
Tye McGinn ($0.775m) / Scott Laughton ($1.138m) / Zac Rinaldo ($0.800m)
Luke Schenn ($3.600m) / Keith Yandle ($5.250m)
Ladislav Smid ($3.000m) / Kimmo Timonen ($6.000m)
Andrej Meszaros ($4.000m) / Nicklas Grossmann ($3.500m)
Illya Bryzgalov ($5.666m)
Anton Khubodin ($1.250m)
Buyout: Oskars Bartulis ($0.100m)
Buyout: Danny Briere ($0.000m)
LTIR: Chris Pronger ($0.000m)
Matt Read + Coburn + 2014 2nd Round Pick → Keith Yandle