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Bringing Hexy Back • 42 Years Old • Male

Ugly Loss, Good Trade

Posted 12:35 PM ET | Comments 12
Last evening the Flyers dropped a 3-2 decision to the Phoenix Coyotes, after leading 2-0 late in the second.

The Flyers had three costly defensive breakdowns that ended up in the back of their net. That is what happened, but it sells the Coyotes short. This is an excellent young team, full of resiliency and they skate like the wind. The most surprising thing was the amount of hockey smarts that this young team showed.

Anhyhow, the Flyers goat horns go to defensemen Randy Jones and Alexandre Picard, who really looked to be struggling in their own end last evening. I don't want to do a lot of speculation, but I have to wonder what has happened to Lasse Kukkonen.

Kukkonen, for whatever reasons, seems to be in head coach John Stevens doghouse. His play had tailed off of late, but he has hardly been the worst defenseman on the team.

The other news from Philadelphia last evening was a trade. The Flyers sent winger Ben Eager to Chicago for defenseman Jim Vandermeer.

I am somewhat stunned, because 20 minutes prior to the trade I predicted that nothing would happen before the holiday roster freeze in the HockeyBuzz chat room.

However, I am ecstatic on two fronts. First, Ben Eager is gone. The guy has ability, but he is prone to taking ridiculously bad penalties and honestly, isn't much more than an average fighter. He had no points this year, and while averaging 5 minutes of ice time was a -8.

In Vandermeer, the Flyers get a defenseman that can play twenty minutes a night, is good in his own end, tough and even has a pair of goals and nine points, to go along with a +3 rating. Vandermeer is also a former Flyer-he was traded to Chicago in 2004 for Alexei Zhamnov, as the Flyers were gearing up for a playoff run.

The Eager-Vandermeer swap could be a harbinger of other moves.

First, Vandermeer is a UFA this summer, which clears tagging space for the Flyers to re-sign other potential free agents, like Jeff Carter, RJ Umberger and Jason Smith.

Secondly, the Flyers now have a lot of bodies on defense. It's likely that Picard will be sent back to the AHL, Rory Fitzpatrick might be on his way off the roster and creates an interesting situation for Kukkonen and Jones, as one of them will likely be the odd man out and have to fill the role of spare defenseman.

Third, this could also be a stepping stone to another trade. Could Paul Holmgren have a bigger deal up his sleeve? as of right now he's got twelve hours to the holiday trade freeze....but I'd be a bit surprised if he does anything else before the first of the year.

So a night that looked like it was going to end really badly ends up having a bit of a silver lining.
Filed Under:   Jsaq   Flyers   Vandermeer   Eager   Coyotes  
December 19, 2007 1:45 PM ET | Delete
i agree with your analysis of the trade. personally I am beginning to wonder if something bigger is coming. i keep thinking we may see carter kukkonen draft pick in a package deal someplace. most likely looking for a highly touted prospect. but i guess we shall see.
December 19, 2007 3:04 PM ET | Delete
I was a big fan of Big Ben last year but after he got wooped by a guy who has an ARP card, I lost all respect. I wish him well but for at least this year, we're a better team for the trade.Good blog Jsaq!
December 19, 2007 3:34 PM ET | Delete
good insight- thanks. I hope kuk doesnt get traded unless its for a good return I think he is undervalued (especially by stevens right now- I understand he is struggling and so is the team though). Trade carter for a good return please! But if we trade them Im hoping for more then a prospect (lyricsninja)- a 3rd line or even 2nd line center would be nice to replace carter.
December 19, 2007 4:07 PM ET | Delete
you know i dont know if i would hope for more than a prospect. this would be a salary dump for us / not having to deal with signing all the UFAs. plus we have so much talent waiting in the minors its astounding.
December 19, 2007 6:11 PM ET | Delete
what if we packaged jones or kukkonen and someone else to minnesoda for dimitra? he is seriously struggling up there, and could be the playmaker that carter needs to get going. fact of the matter is carter isnt going to pick it up with tolpeko and upshall on his wings. but getting demitra would leave us with:Gagne Briere Hartnell/knubleRUMBLDemitra Carter Upshall/Hartnell/Knuble4th line here.it would also give us more vet presence to mentor some of the younger guys on offense (we dont have much of it on offense)
December 19, 2007 6:12 PM ET | Delete
sorry that didnt come out like i typed it..
December 19, 2007 6:14 PM ET | Delete
and i cant delete my posts.. lol so here are the line combos i was talking about that are hard to understand there: gagne-briere-harts or knuble || RUMBL line || demitra-carter-upshall/harnell/knuble || 4th line here (its anyones guess)
December 19, 2007 6:19 PM ET | Delete
I seriously doubt they get Demitra from Minnesota unless Umberger or Carter goes to the Wild.
December 19, 2007 6:27 PM ET | Delete
maybe jones potulny and a pick?
December 19, 2007 11:52 PM ET | Delete
Doubt that highly. Demitra was acquired because he's a good friend of Gaborik's. He's battled injuries, too.
December 20, 2007 6:58 AM ET | Delete
I don't think something bigger can come until as pointed out in Meltzer's blog other things are addressed. Good analysis though =0)
December 20, 2007 11:53 AM ET | Delete
23 games in Philly, no points. 1 game in Chicago, first assist of the season. I hope Eager thrives there as a protector and front-of-the-net guy for the other young talent, because he was completely lost here this season. When Cote steals your shift most nights, you know it's time to go.
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