Many Flyers fans who watched all of the free agent and trade craziness in the last few days are scratching their heads wondering why the Flyers have only made a handful of relatively minor moves.
The answer is...Addition thru Subtraction !
Lets examine how this 'Final Four' team has improved in the off-season thus far...
Umberger out ; Giroux in = WIN
RJ is in his prime and had an outstanding playoffs which is why he was obviously asking for too much money. Homer traded him for one of the top 1st round defensive prospects drafted in this deep 2008 draft; Luca Sbisa. This move makes sense because it not only makes room for Giroux, but also clears up much needed cap space. Giroux showed us flashes of brilliance last season, Im really looking forward to seeing what he can do.
Note: RJ is still unsigned, I wonder how much he will get.
Smith + Modry + Fitzpatrik out ; Vaananen + Eminger + Parent in = WIN
Smith played an important part last season, with the team benefitting from his leadership & grit, many of the core young players saw just what it takes to be a REAL hockey player. Modry filled a void at a much needed time with poise & veteral composure, and battled thru a tough personal loss. Kudos to Smith and Modry for their valiant play thru much adversity this season, but the cold hard reality is that the Flyers D just got a whole lot younger and more skilled.
Note: Timonen very well may get the "C" if Richie doesnt.
Dowd + Kappy out ; Metropolit in = N/A
Two more total class act guys, Sami Kapanen and Jim Dowd are no longer a part of this squad. Kappy, a long time vet with the Flyers has left us with many positive memories, but alas it was obviously his time to retire. As much as I realllly liked what Jimmy Dowd and Sami Kapanen brought to this team; Metro is a class act and is a vast improvement in almost every aspect except leadership. Metro will play an important role, he can play many positions on any line much like RJ. He is a great 2-way player like Kappy, with sharp offensive skills and solid defensive play like Dowd. Hopefully the new captain will be able to pick up the leadership slack with Dowd and Kappy gone.
Prospal out ; Gags returns = WIN
There is no doubt that Vinny helped propel us into and thru the playoffs and I think it would have been great to have kept him. At 3.5mill his salary looks to be very reasonable. But thats just not how it happened. Gags' injury was the main reason we got Vinny in the first place, so with Gags returning, that means Vinny is out. IMO, a healthy Gagne returning to the lineup is 10x more valuable to this team.
Note: Parent leapfrogged Picard into the starting lineup. Some people may point out that Picard played well in 07 season, and would be one of our best D prospects right now, arguing that we paid too much for Vinny. I say NO! Picard gave us Prospal on the 1st line, a draft pick plus 3 huge rounds of great playoffs! Plus, if Picard was a sure thing, why would TB have jumped at signing Niskala so fast?