In a recent article entitled "How to Rebuild the Flyers", Hockeybuzz blogger Tim Panaccio give his breakdown on the Flyers offseason outlook.
In the piece he says the following in regards to Flyers young defensman Joni Pitkanen:
"They also desperately lack a No. 1 defenseman. Joni Pitkanen should have been able to assume that role by now. Yet his inability to think on his feet has cast him in limbo. The organization refuses to give up on him."
"Strangely, Pitkanen is coveted in the Western Conference. Holmgren should put together a deal for Pitkanen and move on. Pitkanen doesn't get it."
OK, why on earth should a 23 year old be expected to be ready to be a team's #1 D man when it is widely known that defensemen usually mature and begin to approach their prime years around age 27? If you look around the league, and into league history, very rarely, if at all, is a defenseman asked to be a team's #1 guy as a 23 year old. Yet Panaccio wants to ship him out because he's not ready for the role? This makes little sense. The league is littered with stories about how teams gave up on good young players too soon, the Flyers included. It's thoughts like Tim's that result in GMs making such mistakes.
The fact that Joni put up 43 points in a season that was amongst the worst in Flyers history should be impressive. That fact that he did it at age 23 is VERY impressive.
The Flyers have no defenseman or prospect who is as offensively dynamic as Joni Pitkanen. Getting rid of him now based on his performance during a nightmare season playing on a roster largely comprised of NHL neophytes and AHL caliber players would be a mistake. You don't give up on guys like this, you help them to mature and develop their game through coaching, patience and providing the proper supporting cast.
Given his apparent lack of knowledge and understanding when it comes to developing young players, Panaccio has no business telling Holmgren what he should be doing with Joni Pitkanen.