Alright fellow Philly fans. It's time for me to make some rash statements about our favorite hockey club. It's time to make a final prediction for the season and do some speculating regarding roster moves for the summer.
First of all, the Flyers have signed another random 3rd string goalie to make a ridiculous attempt at fulfilling sports' toughest position in order for the Flyers to even make it into the playoffs. Sebastien Caron does have NHL experience, yes, but he's never played more than half of a season and he has never had a winning season. So, let's hope he catches whatever winning luck Leighton had before we inevitably lost him to injury.
We all know that the Flyers have no true #1 goaltender. We have all been saying this for years. A few may have gotten us pretty far in the playoffs, but none has had what it takes to push this team over the edge.
It has been rumored that the Flyer's organization plans to "shake up" the roster this summer in a effort to finally bring a true starting goalie to Philadelphia. I appreciate this idea as much as the next guy, but it's not going to be easy. There is no guarantee that Carey Price or Cory Schneider would be the saving grace for Philly's goaltending woes. Of course, there never is any guarantee, so perhaps that idea is irrelevant.
As far as the rest of the roster goes, here are my thoughts as far as who the organization should definitely keep and who can just get out of town:
Mike Richards - though his consistency as a captain can still be considered questionable at times, he is and definitely will be a true leader for this team once he's reaches his prime, which will happen pretty soon. He can already lead on the ice, he just needs to fine tune his leadership in the locker room.
Kimmo Timonen - possibly the most consistent defensemen on the team, Timonen has leadership skills, offensive talent, and is tougher than most of the other current Flyer's defensemen, depsite his lack of size. He plays to his contract.
Chris Pronger - He is difficult to categorize as a player because he does so much. Though he is arguably the toughest player on the team, he is not and should not be the team's enforcer as this will allow him to continue playing as he gets older. He does lack speed at times, but his ice vision and positioning almost always makes up for it.
Matt Carle - Has finally come into his own on this team with the pairing of Chris Pronger, who he has and will continue to improve his defensive game from. Many flyer fans hated Matt Carle until this season, when he began showing his true potential as a result of the extracted confidence he received by being paired with Pronger. His contract is worth it over the next two years.
Ian Laperriere - One of the truly consistent players on this team who succeeds based on his great passion on the ice, rather than his skill. Also one of the best defensive forwards and steps up as an enforcer during the perfect situations
Blair Betts - The Flyers best faceoff man and penalty killer. Has speed and great defensive game. The most underpaid player on this team.
Darroll Powe - Has great speed and good defensive game. Can be a goal scorer when he's paired up with the right player. Good forechecking. Comes cheap, but will need to be re-signed.
Ville Leino - One of the best pickups as of late, Leino's offensive game will continue to improve as long as Lavy continues to play him. Also comes cheap.
Prefer them to stay, but...
James Van Riemsdyck - This kid has talent and it's blatently obvious. However, so far this season he has not been consistent enough to warrant him un-tradeable. I'm all for keeping him, as he does not cost very much with his contract and he's put up 15 goals and 34 points his rookie season which is not too shabby, but his trade value cannot be ignored.
Claude Giroux - His 44 points isn't terrible by any means, but it's a little bit of a letdown from what we all expected from his this season. He will get better, but his trade value also cannot be ignored.
Simon Gagne - He's getting old. He can still score, but for how much longer?
Jeff Carter - There's no doubt that Carter can dominate the ice when he wants to and he is usually an offensive machine. But that isnt all the time. His inconsistency means he is definitely tradeable.
Pack your bags:
Daniel Briere - I thought his production would vastly improve this season after all the hype from his summer workout. I was wrong. He's over paid, a defensive liability, and too small to compete as a winger in the corners. Too many turnovers.
Scott Hartnell - Has not been able to match his production of last season. That may have been his peak. Also overpaid.
Riley Cote - Not tough enough or skilled enough for the NHL.
Daniel Carcillo - I like him. I really do. He has gotten smarter since being on the Flyer's roster, but he is still a liability. He has skill and he has grit. But he makes stupid mistakes and is really just a headache.
Braydon Coburn - Just disappointing. Most likely won't be re-signed. Either needs to toughen up, or really start dominating more on the ice. If he started using his body more, I would say keep him. However, it's almost like he has gotten worse since we acquired him.
The remaining Flyers are pretty much either too cheap to make a difference when it comes to calculating the salary cap, or they are fine where they are, but could be traded if needed.
Personally, I don't want to give up the young guys like Giroux or Van riemsdyck, but if it means making the necessary moves to create a stanley cup team, then that's what needs to happen. I also understand that many of the players we might want to leave have no trade clauses, but we can still see about getting them out of here. Something's gotta give and I'm pretty sure it will this summer.
What say you?
Response to Comments:
Thanks guys for commenting on these topics. I appreciate your constructive thoughts.
- I definitely disagree that Jeff Carter is untouchable. Carter's offensive play has not been consistent this season by any means. I agree he is the one true sniper on the roster, but he has problems with really showing up game in and game out. There are nights when he uses his body effectively to the point where he can single handedly change the outcome of a game. And then other nights he is no where to be found. He's obviously talented, but he needs to put more work into showing up every night. That contributes to expendability as a player. As for JVR, I love him as a player and think he is THE future power forward of this team, once he learns to become that, but since he is so young, its not far fetched to see him traded.
-As I said, Mike Richards' leadership on the ice is without question. He already has that down. However, his issues with the media (some of them arguably justified) have really become a distraction for this team. This, in addition to his problems with really jump starting his team when they need it means that I agree he is still learning to be a true well rounded captain. But that will come in time.
-Braydon Coburn has the potential to become a great defenseman for this team, but he has dropped off with his play over the last 3 seasons. He has lost a little bit of confidence with the puck and is making poorer decisions every game. The good news is that he seems to be starting to use his body more, which is really what Philly needs on the blue line: the big guys to use their body effectively to counter the forechecking.
-I will just have to disagree with you regarding Kimmo Timonen. He is the most consistent defensemen we have had in such a long time and can put up points. He really has the entire package and I more than willing to pay that much to keep him on this roster. I believe that was one of Holmgren's best moves by far as GM, though I know many will say that's not saying much.
-I see Ville Leino as the type of guy that just needs more playing time before we can really see what he can do. I agree that he is already a bit old but he can still contribute in many ways especially considering we've got him for 800K for another year.