Even though it's still early, and there's still quite a few moves that need to be made-or should I say will be made-here's a quick look at a few guys that I see as being on the spot in Philly, and a few who might be gone....
On The Spot
5. Joffrey Lupul.
Lupul is basically an offensive player. He doesn't play defense, isn't a great skater and doesn't use his size that great at times. But he has a lethal wrist shot and a natural offensive instinct that should result in plenty of goals. The key for Lupul is not to get overwhelmed, as he seemed to do last year in Edmonton.
4. Kimmo Timonen
Timonen will be counted on to be what he was in Nashville, but in a much more high pressure situation. Not a knock against the passionate fans of the Predators, but Philadelphia fans are a different breed. Timonen should be OK, though, but he's got a man's job ahead of him.
3. Daniel Briere
I happen to think that Briere is a perfect fit for the Flyers, but the contract-which is smaller than those signed by Scott Gomez and Chris Drury(both of whom had fewer points)-is something he'll have to live up to regardless. Considering he gets to gun with a linemate like Simon Gagne, that task should be quite a bit easier.
2. Martin Biron
Biron was inconsistent in his previous chance as a starter, but to be fair, he was probably not ready, following a legend named Dominik Hasek and behind a team that was re-tooling from Stanley Cup finalist to scrappy young contender. Biron then got passed by Ryan Miller who developed into a near elite goalie. If Biron comes in and plays like he did after arriving in the city of Brotherly Love at the deadline and keeps the team in front of him loose and confident, he'll be fine and a big upgrade on the mess the Flyers had in net last year.
1. Jeff Carter
Carter is the guy I see as being on the biggest hot seat-as far as players go. He's shown remarkable talent, but also a stunning inability to put it all together for more than stretches at a time. Carter has good size, an excellent, heavy shot, can be a deft playmaker and even win faceoffs, but when he's not going well, it looks as if he's doing algebra on the ice. He's gotta get his game straight in his head and play off instincts, not thought. He's heading into a RFA year and if he doesn't have a good year between Scott Hartnell and Lupul, he could be an interesting situation in a year.
1. Denis Gauthier
"The Goat" is a big hitter, but unfortunately, he's oft-injured, takes dumb penalties and has a reputation as a dirty player. He has two years left at $2.1mm per, and it's been pretty widely reported that the Flyers have been shopping him everywhere. He's almost certainly gone by the time the season starts, if not via trade, then by getting waived and sent to the AHL.
2. RJ Umberger
Umberger is a talented player, but he has no spot on the team. His best attribute is his versatility, but on this team that's not a good thing. They need guys that fill specific roles. Umberger isn't an enforcer and he's not a great fit as a fourth line centerman, which are the two biggest needs the Flyers have up front. Umberger is a somewhat valuable trade chip because he has a knack for scoring goals, is a good PK guy and hard worker. He's in the last year of his deal with a $1.15mm cap hit.
Stevens did a solid job after getting dealt a bad hand last year-a bad roster, no training camp, another coach's system, myriad injuries....you name it. Some of the other issues were just the results of being a rookie NHL head coach. Regardless, Stevens will be the fall guy in the event of a slow start. With the highly regarded Jack "Buck" McIlhargey and former Flyers head coach Terry Murray on the staff, the "replacement" is already on hand. That said, Stevens has a good hockey mind and an excellent staff in place with McIlhargey, Murray and Joey Mullen on hand, with the biggest questions, IMO, being goalie coaches Reggie Lemelin and Neil Little.
Lemelin has been the Flyers goalie coach for years and has done little to stem the tide of mediocrity. Granted he's had precious little to work with, but several guys have shown promise then been unable to adjust. Some of that falls under coaching. Little is a neophyte in his first year of coaching, but showed some excellent insight as a commentator on Flyers' broadcasts.