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Manywhere, NJ • United States • 2013 Years Old • Male
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.
Filed Under:   trade   panaccio   pitkanen   Joni   defenseman   flyers  
April 16, 2007 6:21 PM ET | Delete
Let me just add that I am not saying Joni has had a fabulous season. Indeed, he did regress as did many of the younger players on the team. Without the likes of Desjardins and Kim Jonsson, a ton of pressure was put on Joni to carry the defense from an offensive perspective. While he still produced at a decent level, his defense suffered and it seems like the pressure led him to be indecisive at times. These are thigns that can be addressed. It seems to me that many, including Tim, are making the mistake of giving up on Pitkanen based on his performance during this horrible, chaotic season where coaches were changed, the GM was changed and many players were changed. These aren't exactly ideal conditions to expect progress from a 23 year old. To expect him to have exceled when thrust into the #1 D role this season is unrealistic, to want to trade him because he didn't borders on the ridiculous.
April 16, 2007 6:43 PM ET | Delete
exlund, i have to disagree with you. being a #1 defenseman is more than just scoring. its about being a leader, about setting an example for the rest of the blueliners. its about being counted on to come up big when you're needed the most, its about sticking up for your teammates. Joni is none of these things. obviously, there aren't too many players that have *all* of these traits, but having a couple of them is a prerequisite. Joni is still a young defenseman and learning and growing; and I don't necessarily agree with moving him...but if you can get value for a former 4th overall draft pick, you have to consider making the move. it may wind up, like many defensemen, that Joni may *never* flourish for this organization.
April 16, 2007 7:24 PM ET | Delete
bradley, you missed the point...it is Tim Panaccio that is apparently expecting Joni to be a #1 Defenseman at this point. My argument is that he IS NOT READY to be a 1, very few if any 23 year olds are, so it is not realistic or fair for people to have this expectation for him. So, I wasn't trying to say "hey he scored 43 points so he's a 1 D man!" No, to the contrary I am saying something more like "hey the kid is 23, he shouldn't be expected to be a 1 D man, but while were waiting for his other aspects to develop, at least he's putting up 43 pts!"
April 16, 2007 11:16 PM ET | Delete
exlund, in any event, the way Pitkanen has been treated by the fans and media - he'll probably never fully develop as a player in Philadelphia.
April 16, 2007 11:29 PM ET | Delete
If a player doesn't develop because of what the fans and media say, then they shouldn't be playing the game to begin with. You play the game because of your own passion and love for the game. If anything, the media and fans should fuel Joni to succeed so he can stick it to everyone. Nothing against you brad, but I'm tired of people saying it's the fans or media's fault somebody doesn't succeed here. They are PROFESSIONAL athletes who should be mature enough to not give a crap what other people think. Now, Joni is kind of an introverted guy, I get that; but, you can't say we are the reason why he hasn't developed as quickly as we all thought he would.
April 17, 2007 4:23 AM ET | Delete
well, in bradley's defense, I'll say that fans and the media can add pressure, which can have a negative impact especially on younger, impressionable players. That said, I don't think this is affecting Joni more than he can handle. It's a challenge, yes, but it may even spur him to work on things harder. He works harder and cares more than people give him credit for and he loves the game. I think Kukkonen has helped him to feel more comfortable. We'll see how things pan out...if we can snag Kimmo Timonen, that would be bound to help significantly in terms of taking pressure off Joni and giving him a great example to follow.
April 17, 2007 8:18 AM ET | Delete
thanks exlund...my comment about the fans and media wasn't intended as the *only* reason Joni has struggled, but a part of the reason. And Schaffer, I do think you underestimate the effect that the negative attention has on players. He is only 23 years old, he is playing far away from home and everything he does out on the ice is being critiqued and analyzed by hockey pundits across the globe. That's a lot of weight on a young man's shoulders...it's amazing to me the number of these kids that can actually burden this weight and thrive.
April 17, 2007 10:15 AM ET | Delete
I can see your guys point with the playing far away from home, I should have taken that into account. But, it's part of the business to be criticized. They know that coming in. North American born players take this burden better than the foreign born players do (Lindros excluded, lol) because they understand the culture of the fans in North America. Dealing with the pressure separates the men from the boys, and we'll find out what Joni is within the next couple of years here.
April 17, 2007 5:46 PM ET | Delete
its the philadelphia media state of mind, there always has to be a player to pick on or disect in order for there to be something to write about.... let Pitkanen go, and watch him flourish elsewhere, then the media would write about what a mistake it was giving up on him.... the Philly media loves to be negative regardless of the situationwonder what Timmy was doing at age 23.... making 2 million? perhaps jealousy is the root of all the media negativity
April 24, 2013 8:14 PM ET | Delete
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