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VENGEANCE {has to wait for} NOW!

This year the Flyers went through a lot. They started came out hot and went on a 6-1 tear, and from there on the team was very inconsistent. Injuries to Simon Gagne, Mike Richards, Joffrey Lupul, Scottie Upshall, and RJ Umberger cost this team some scoring punch, and coupled with the teams inconsistent defense, resulted in up and down season full of small winning streaks and lengthy losing ones. But the teams heart and grit showed through, and they battled themselves to a 94 point season. Players from Nashville, Buffalo, and Edmonton bonded with the existing Flyers through the adversity of this NHL season forming a very cohesive unit that with the right moves, will be primed for a cup run next season. But after some much needed playoff experience for the Flyers young core, winning two series which many "experts" picked them to be handled in, they lose in a disappointing fashion to the Pittsburgh Penguins, thus ending a very promising season in the eyes of Flyers fans everywhere.

Last year the Flyers had quite a bit of money to spend, and could offer out some big contracts as they did to Danny Briere and Kimmo Timonen, but this year the team is in a tweaning situation and Paul Holmgren has some very important work ahead of him. Jeff Carter will be signed, theres no getting around that. Any offer sent Jeffs way will be matched and he will be in the Orange and Black until his playoff beard is Grey. RJ Umberger is vital player on this team that i would personally not like to lose, but if he will not sign at a reasonable price I would throw him out there as trade bait. Randy Jones, who has been a attacked frequently by us fans for some boneheaded plays, but returned to early season form and played outstanding in these playoffs, and should be rewarded for doing so. I expect Jones to be signed for a few years at around 2 million. Riley Coyote has proved this year that he is a bonified NHL enforcer and has earned himself a little raise, he will probably get a 1 year deal at 600 thousand, but if there are other options out there Cote could go elsewhere. Patrick Thoresen was an outstanding mid season waiver pickup, and his grit on the boards was great for us towards the end of the season but with all the forward depth on this team he is likely to not have a spot on this team next year, but could be signed to the Phantoms so he would be available for a mid season call up in case of an injury.

As for the Unrestricted Free Agents Jason Smith, Vaclav Prospal, Jaroslov Modry and Jim Dowd, well, most of them will probably not be returning. Jason Smith is kind of an intriguing situation, he was pretty effective in the beginning of the year for the Flyers, and it seemed for a while there that Timonen and Smith could be a solid pair, but Smith fell off and had a so-so year. Part of Smith's problems could be due to injuries, leaving many of us to wonder, Are those injuries fixable this off season? If not, and their just going to reoccur then i would let Smith, his experience, turnovers, lack of mobility and his beard walk. Jaroslov Modry will not be back, he was a veteran pickup midway through the season to try to improve on the Jim Vandermeer situation we had, and since Ryan Parent, a rookie, took his spot in game 5 of the Easter Conference Finals, in an elimination game, its pretty evident he will not be returning. Vaclav Prospal though he provided much needed chemistry with Danny Briere down the stretch and in the Washington series, fell off the latter rounds, and will be commanding way too much money for the Flyers to bring him back. Jim Dowd played great after he was put on waivers and could return for a fourth line role for around 500 thousand, but if the price goes up, or a better option arises, don't expect to see Jimmy "handlebars" Dowd back.

As far as retirements go, I think unfortunately Derian Hatcher, the ultimate warrior, the epitome of playoff hockey will have to hang up his skates due to ongoing injuries with his knees. Sammy Kapanen brings a veteran presence on the ice, and great defensive skills which are very valuable in some penalty killing situations but he just doesn't seem to have anything to offer anymore on offense, and i can also see him retiring after a buyout.

So with all the Flyers personal free agents, and retirements dealt with, its time to look at players that are currently not on the team. Heres how our roster is comprised right now:

Gagne Briere Hartnell
Umberger Richards Lupul
Upshall Carter Knuble
______ Downie ______
Giroux, Tolpeko

Timonen Coburn
Parent ______
Kukkonen Jones


My Off Season Goals(Following the signing of RFAs)::
1.) Get a top 4 defense men: Timonen and Coburn were great, but we were lacking another guy that could go out there and give us all peace of mind. Since the league is more about depth(Pittsburgh) now rather than that one dynamic line(Ottowa), another top defense men is vital for this team to take the next step. We need a guy with good speed, and the ability to carry the puck up the ice and make the outlet pass. Too many times last year we sat in agony watching our defense men struggle to get the puck to our forwards.

2.) Get bigger on the fourth line: We have seen what a big, puck controlling fourth line can do. In the Washington series, as well as the Pittsburgh series we saw their fourth lines dominate the puck. I want some big guys brought in that will be able to hold onto that puck for whole shifts, and demand respect from the opposition. Though i love Cote and Kapanen, they simply don't have the intangibles to make that happen. With a fourth line like this, they could play 10 minutes, leaving all of the other lines more fresh, having that extra jump deeper in games.

One guy that will more than likely be on the Flyers this year that was not last year was Right Winger, Blue chip prospect Claude Giroux of the QMJHL. Giroux was named the playoff MVP this year after scoring 51 points in 14 games. The addition of such a player opens up many options. A talented player like Giroux will not be on the fourth line by any means, and with the Flyers being loaded up front, someone will have to go. Carter, as already established, will be here, so that leaves only one unsigned guy in RJ Umberger

Next years Lines::

Gagne Briere Hartnell
Thoresen Richards Lupul
Giroux Carter Knuble
Steckel Downie Upshall

Timonen Coburn
Kukkonen Campbell
Parent Jones


-Steckel could be obtainable from Washington, a big guy like that would be great on the Flyers fourth line. If not, theres always guys like Georges Laraque available.

-Id love to see the Flyers sign Brian Campbell, though i would be content with a trade for Ryan Suter.

-Forget about the "emergency" call-up for Patrick Thoresen, he starts the season with Richards and Lupul.
May 22, 2008 6:26 PM ET | Delete
Kapanen and Hatcher will both be on the team next year
May 22, 2008 7:24 PM ET | Delete
lol@ brian campbell to philly. he'll end up with either ottawa, montreal, or toronto.
May 22, 2008 7:25 PM ET | Delete
philly can't afford brian campbell. he's asking for 6mill. on the market - maybe 7mill.
May 22, 2008 9:42 PM ET | Delete
Horrible breakdown. The Flyers cannot afford to sign Campbell, they do not have the cap room this year or in the years to come to sign him. Thoresen cannot score, putting him with Richards and Lupul is a good way to kill their offensive abilities. The only time Thoresen should be above the 4th line is due to injuries. Cote is fine on the 4th line and acquiring Steckel or wasting cap space on Laraque would be stupid. The only time our 4th line had problems was when they decided to dress the three softies (Thoresen, Dowd and Kapanen) on it during the playoffs. One of them is the most you should have on the 4th line.
May 22, 2008 10:38 PM ET | Delete
I dont think the Flyers will add a top 4 d-man thru free agency. They already have him from the Forsberg trade. The top defense pairs will be Coburn and Jones, Timonen and Parent, and Kuukonen and Gauthier with Hatcher sprinkled in. Now if Suter is available for Umberger, take it and move Lasse or Gauthier.The forward lines will look like this:Gagne - Briere - HartnellUmberger - Richards - GirouxLupul - Carter - Upshall Cote - Downie - KnubleThis gives you 4 lines that can play in all situations.
May 22, 2008 11:31 PM ET | Delete
shit happens millertime, and supposedly the flyers are interested in campbell, so that means they have a plan to clear up room.
May 23, 2008 12:13 AM ET | Delete
Macknow says the Flyer are suppose to go after Campbell hard. IDK, we'll see. I'd rather not. I'd love BGL in Philly.
May 25, 2008 10:11 AM ET | Delete
i would have to disagree on almost all of this. Campbell would be a waste of 6-7 mill. we do not need another number one defenseman but rather a good number 2 JM-Liles (i know he sometimes struggles) and a big frame shutdown guy like kurt sauer. we could more then likely get both of them for a lesser cap hit.. maybe 3 for liles and 2-2.5 for sauer.
May 25, 2008 10:31 AM ET | Delete
Thoresen will not be on the team next season.
May 25, 2008 10:36 AM ET | Delete
Cote will.
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