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The Flyers Defense

Posted 3:30 PM ET | Comments 8
Training camp started with the Flyers having a solid top 4 in place: Timonen, Coburn, Jones, and Parent. Yet things changed quickly when both Parent and Jones where lost to injuries for several months. This forced the team to elevate Luca Sbisa from a prospect to the second pairing on defense. Obviously this isn't good. Timonen and Coburn are top pairing material and Sbisa and Vaananen have looked better than expected, but the third pairing is in disarray. Kukkonen, Eminger, and now Alberts must now patrol the teams third pairng. Not suprisingly this pairing has led to several costly defensive mistakes. Since these three don't add anything to the offense they have to be sparkling defenders, something they have never proven to be in their respective careers. Kukkonen had been a healthy scratch towards the end of the year for the Flyers last year. Ditto for Eminger when he was with the Caps. And if Alberts was deemed expendable this early in the season obviously Boston didn't see him as having much value. What is this team going to do when either Vaananen and/or Sbisa hit a slump? And certainly Sbisa will stay with this team past the 9 game limit because there is no way the team will be able to let Kukkonen, Alberts and Eminger play everyday. So what is the team to do until Parent and Jones make it back?

Well there is no way Homer can just sit back and wait for Parent and Jones. That would mean the Flyers would be down in the standings and the team would also have to wait for the injured d-men to regain their form. Going more than a couple weeks with this group could cost the Flyers at least a few spots in the standings come season's end let alone a playoff spot. So this means Homer has to make some moves and acquire at least one second pairing or better d-man to help Coburn and Timonen out. This means the FLyers will definitely have to give up some forward depth, which isn't so terrible because Andres Nodl and Claude Giroux are biding their time with the Phantoms waiting for their chance with the big club.

In a dream situation Homer would call Florida which has some defensive depth and a make an offer for Bouwmeester who wants out of Florida. Sadly that is unlikely as Florida will want a killing for Jay. Homer could also call Carolina who has some extra NHL quality d-men. Hopefully Homer will get a younger defenseman who can be resigned to add to the nice group the team has set for the future. The only certainty is that the Flyers will undoubtedly have to over pay for which ever d-man the team acquires because every GM knows that the Flyers are desperate right now.
Filed Under:   Flyers  
October 20, 2008 11:22 AM ET | Delete
I could't agree with you more here. Nice blog. Lets throw some names out there that are worth discussing and from rumors are "available": Corvo (CAR), White (TOR), Kaberle (TOR
October 20, 2008 11:26 AM ET | Delete
sorry cut me off... J-bow (FLD). I would like to see Lupul as the bait but his cap hit is only 2.3 this year. Also I think NSH, VAN, CHI might be looking for a forward.
October 20, 2008 11:53 AM ET | Delete
I agree with the fact that the Flyers are so weak on D. But I don't know that the problem is simply a lack of talent. Part of it is the fact that all of these new guys are playing a new system. Some are getting it faster than others. Ossi is picking it up and Sbisa is a kid learning his first pro system(and doing damn fine). Eminger is slower to pick it up and Alberts just got here. Kukks is the only one I can't find an excuse for. Not that i would'nt fully embrace a J-Bo Trade, but honestly talent isn't the big problem and anyone who comes in is going to have problems early on getting with the system.
October 20, 2008 12:14 PM ET | Delete
Its fair to say the new guys are behind with the system for sure. But do we have the time to allow them to adapt and to find out if they do have the talent (alberts, sbisa and eminger are unknowns for the most part). I would rather see a proven guy come in and learning the system then hope that our existing guys have the skill and come around in the system. I would say talent MIGHT be the big problem and we don't have time to find out. Kukks needs to go!
October 20, 2008 1:05 PM ET | Delete
A bigger problem than the defensemen has been the forwards lack of backchecking and helping out on D. You could have Nik Lidstrom, Chris Pronger and Dion Phaneuf as your top 3, but if the forwards don't back check, your defense will not be good.
October 20, 2008 2:49 PM ET | Delete
I think the back checking problem results from taking Richards and sticking him on a line with Briere. Now that has been fixed and the three centers are in the same place they were last year when they were too much for some teams to handle. But as for defense the team has lost some talented(in their own right) players. Smith and Hatcher filled specific niches that Alberts, Kukkonen, and Eminger don't. Parent was supposed to pick up some of Smith and Hatchers resposibilities but he went down. This team can't force Braydon Coburn to be both the big bruising shut down guy and an offensive weapon. Basically the team has lost talent on defense from last year to this one. We don't need a puck mover just a player who can be counted on to shut people down when he sticks to his role.
October 21, 2008 1:19 AM ET | Delete
A little to early to say there desperate I think they will turn it around nitty is playing great it is only a matter of time before they start winning. Then they will get on a role.
October 21, 2008 9:59 AM ET | Delete
keeping sbisa will prove to be a mistake. as the season wears on, he will hit the wall mentally and physically and this may stunt his development; just a case of too much, too soon. the team also has holes up front. they lack size and grit and need a faceoff specialist. moving lupul looks like a solution, but he's a 25-30 goal scorer and neither nodl or the pint-sized giroux are close to replacing what he brings. we need more patience to break in the new dmen and maybe we could move someone closer to xmas after we've had time to give a more thorough eval.
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