Let me start this blog with one thing... START THE SEASON!!!!
The Flyers as we stand now have made tons of great moves to improve their team. Whether you feel they overpaid for players or whatever the case may be, their team right now is a complete 180 from last season, if they click.
The additions of Briere, Hartnell, and Lupul really add great depth and skill to the offense. Personally I am extremely excited to watch Briere and Gagne play together, many feel Briere won't work out in Philly, but I strongly feel him and Gagne are going to be a force in the NHL for alot of years to come. Hartnell to me seems like a Knuble type player ready to emerge, can't wait to see what he brings. (he better earn his 4.5 million bucks lol) As for Lupul, this kid has so much potential that got halted in Edmonton, I really hope he breaks out this year and begins a great year in Philly. (would love to see him reunited with Selanne but we wont get into that... yet.)
Additions of Timonen and Smith are extremely big pickups in my opinion. These two players bring a great amount of experience and leadership to a franchise with ALOT of young players who looked very lost last season. I am hoping these two are able to pick up big minutes and take some pressure off the rest of the defensive unit, this could be great for Hatcher. They will also improve both our PP and Pk this year as well. Timonen will be the center of a PP unit that has the ability to be one of the best in the game this year. Timonen in my opinion should be wearing the C for several years to come.
The additions of Kukkonen, Coburn, Upshall, Biron, and even Parent are going to prove to be great pickups for our future, Kukkonen, Upshall, Coburn, and Biron have already proven the deals were worth making. Kukkonen and Parent, IMO, are going to be two of the better defensive players in the NHL for several years.
With all these moves that have been made... I feel there are still a few moves that still need to be made to make this one of the best off seasons, ON PAPER, in a long time in the NHL.
#1 Umberger and Gauthier need to be traded. The wheels seem to be in motion on these two moves, according to Ek's rumors. This will clear up a little over 3 million in cap space in which we could definitely use. I would love to see Umberger stay, but he is the odd man out at this point, and becomes an unsignable RFA next season with the amount of RFA on the current roster. Gauthier just needs to go. 2.1 million for the next 2 seasons in a player who will do nothing more than hault the progress of Kukkonen and provide a few highlight reel hits, is just a waste.
#2 Sign/Acquire a physical, face off winning 4th line center to play with Eager and Cote. Eager and Cote are both physical players who just dont stop coming at you. If we can bring in a guy with the same intensity of these two guys, they will be a tremendous change of pace line that provides great energy.
#3 Sign a 6th d-man. The ideal situation, IMO, would be to sign a veteran, physical, puck moving defense man to pair with Kukkonen. Kukkonen is on the verge of becoming an extremely solid d-man and pairing him with a young player like Picard, or a sketchy player like Gauthier, IMO, will hurt his progress. A veteran player he feels comfortable playing with, would be a great pairing. This would also help Picard to become a better player, and help us to re-sign him next season as well.
#2 and/or #3 could get done through #1, even if it takes throwing in a player like Potulny who clearly is having negotiation issues at this point.
If the Flyers can make the Selanne deal happen, make it happen, IMO. If they can sign him for right around 3.5 million, sign him. This would mean we are scratching the cap, but what do we have to lose? Selanne is another veteran presence, who will help to bring guys like Carter and Lupul along and jump start some great careers. He would also help our PP ALOT. This is a stretch but if it can be done, get it done. I love the idea more than bringing PF back, even though he will be cheaper. But anyway.
If those 3 moves can be made, I would be extremely happy. What do you guys think of these moves? You think these would be the icing on the cake? Or are you completely satisfied with what we have?