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iban3z last won the day on October 5 2013

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About iban3z

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  1. As Flyers Prospect camp ended last week, we continue to look at the Flyers prospects in Part II of our series. First, Nolan Patrick took to the ice on Monday. Well, that’s not the exciting news. The real exciting news is that the Flyers signed him to his three-year entry-level deal. He’ll earn $925,000 per season, but his contract does have bonuses. Those bonuses will count against the salary cap once he hits them. He’ll continue to skate throughout the summer, once his facial infection is healed and will work towards making the team in training campSeveral other prospects also aim to make the team out of training camp and one of those is Travis Sanheim.Travis SanheimThis was Sanheim’s fourth development camp since being drafted by the Flyers. These past four years of playing in Juniors and last season on the Phantoms show that Sanheim has progressed and could be finally ready to join the Flyers’ blue line. "It's definitely a teaching camp," Sanheim said last week. "Even the development coaches have talked to me, making sure I slow stuff down and show the younger guys how to do it properly, not necessarily doing everything at full speed."If the student has become the teacher at development camp, does that show the sign that he’s ready?Since being drafted, Sanheim spent two years in Juniors. In his first year, he has the most points in the WHL for a defenseman posting 15 goals and 50 assists. He was also a +27. The following season for the Calgary Hitmen he scored another 15 goals and 53 assists, finishing with a +15. Last year he played his first full year in the AHL tallying 37 points. His coaches have spoken on his positioning, his poise and his ability to make the right plays at the right time. Again, in GM Ron Hextall’s world, everything has to be earned. If Sanheim wants to suit up for the Flyers in October he knows he’ll have to fight for it. "It's going to come down to camp," he said."This year, obviously there's going to be some spots available, and we're going to be fighting for the job."I’ve seen Sanheim play. He is a competitor. I still think he could put on a few more pounds of muscle given his height and current body weight, but as long as he’s fighting hard, I think he’ll be on the roster come opening night.Morgan FrostOkay, let’s quickly forget Frost’s twitter comment about the Flyers in 2013. I mean he was a 14 year old hockey fan and frankly I think it’s great!This was one thing I did not expect the Flyers to do at the draft was trade for another first round pick. Frost was selected 27th overall back in June. Frost is a winger and that is something that the Flyers have lacked at the prospect level. For the past several years, the Flyers have been stacked at Center and Defense. It’s come to haunt them recently as they have failed to find that solid winger that would complement their center’s abilities. Alas, here we are.Now we’re a year or two away from seeing Frost play on the wing with either Giroux or Patrick but there is still a reason to be excited. Frost, has played in the OHL the past couple of years. In his first year he only scored 7 goals, but blossomed the following year scoring 20 while adding 42 assists. Despite being ranked for a mid second to third round selection, the Flyers scouts saw something in Frost that made him jump the board and for the Flyers to trade up for him. Frost has a good hockey sense. He plays two-way hockey and can create turnovers. Frost is also special at creating second and third chances which will frustrate the opposition. His acceleration has also improved from his rookie year in the OHL which has probably helped in his point production. As he’ll probably spend the next year in Juniors, he’ll continue to develop not only his speed but his positioning. Once he is ready to make the jump, he’ll be that missing piece on the Flyers wing that we armchair GMs have been screaming for the last couple of seasons.I don’t want to rule out a shot of Frost making the team next season because I think it’s a good possibility. I think Hextall trading up just to select him in the first round when he was projected to fall late in the second can attest to that theory. We’ll have to see how his season in Juniors will go. Felix SandstromIn my previous blog we talked about goalie Carter Hart. As great of a prospect that Hart is, the Flyers have struck gold because Felix Sandstrom is a fantastic prospect as well. Despite being 20 years old and being able to play in the AHL next season, Sandstrom has decided to spend one more year in Sweden. “I’m in a good position at home in Sweden,” Sandstrom said. “I get to play a lot. Really like my goalie coach there, too. I’m in a good position at home. No reason to rush. I think I need one more year to develop more and be even more ready to come over here.”You can’t fault a player for wanting more time to develop, especially in a place where they call home and feel more comfortable. It worked for Peter Forsberg. I think you can sense that in the future Hextall is going to be looking at a Hart/Sandstrom tandem. If their potential were to translate perfectly to the NHL, this could be the best tandem in the NHL and something that other teams would fear. Last year, Sandstrom compiled a 14-7 record, 2.25 goals-against average and .908 save percentage with two shutouts. He had a 2.83 GAA and .901 save percentage in 13 post season games but his team lost in the finals. In 2016 he won the WJC best Goalie award. He has two gold medals at the J18 level and a silver medal at the SHL level. He also had a good development camp, showing how he can be flashing in the crease. Sandstrom is right though, he does have a lot to improve and develop on but he does have a high ceiling. Although I personally rank Hart over Sandstrom, you can never tell how their play and potential will transition at the NHL level, but I think both of them in net will be a glorious site to see once it does happen.Stay tuned for Part III on the Flyers prospects later this week.Follow me on Twitter @iban3zhead
  2. Many in the hockey world are quite familiar with Jeremy Roenick. Before he was an outspoken analyst on NBCsports, “JR” played 20 seasons in the Nation Hockey League, racking up 513 goals and 1,216 points. No matter what team he played for, he played with not only his heart, but with his upbeat personality as well. Since retiring in 2009, Roenick has spent time making controversial statements about hockey teams and their players. JR’s rhetoric’s have been questioned by many because of one simple reason. He’s never led his team to a Stanley Cup. But last week, JR once again made some statements towards Flyers Captain, Claude Giroux. However, instead of taking his comments with a grain of salt, I think there is a deeper meaning behind what he said. JR went on Philly Sports talk radio on Friday and had plenty of things to say about the Flyers captain Claude Giroux. “He’s a stud,” said Roenick. “The reason why Claude Giroux doesn’t get success is [because] he lets everything get into his mind and he looks for other things to blame it on,” I think JR is correct in that statement. Giroux, while one of the best top 5 players in the NHL in points since 2011, hasn’t been that same guy that once said, “I want that first shift” back in the 2012 playoffs against their arch rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Back then, Giroux showed what type of leader he was. He wasn’t even the captain then, but in opening 29 seconds, he went out, drilled Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby, then he scored a goal. Flyers fans will never forget that moment, but often reminisce and wonder, “Who was that Claude Giroux?” Since becoming a Captain, it took Giroux a couple of seasons to get to comfortable wearing the “C.” Former Flyers Captain Mike Richards, while playing in LA, saw the tough transition Giroux was going through and even reached out to him. “Take it easy, don’t put too much pressure on yourself” Richards told Giroux. It was then, Giroux eased up and started playing like the player he should be. However, a few seasons later he still seems to be struggling on the ice. JR continued, “Claude Giroux can play this game and he can play it at a high, hard level. He’s just got to get back into the inside of the game, start attacking the game and not worrying about what the media or the fans are saying about Claude Giroux, period. He is a world-class player that can make a difference and that’s why he has the ‘C’ on his chest.” The media can be difficult in Philly. The organization firmly blamed them [the media] on successfully distracting goalie Illyia Bryzgalov back in 2012 and former Captain Mike Richards used to have battles with them during interviews as well. However, Giroux has never let the media get the best of him while being interviewed. He’s calm, collective and simply takes the entire blame for the team as a captain should. But I don’t think Claude blames it on other things. If you watch his interviews, he blames his play on himself and really nothing else. But maybe that’s where he’s letting too many things get to his mind. Last year, he did not have a good season. In April, he commented that his offseason surgery the year before, limited his abilities and that he was taking a long time to feel 100 percent. Injuries are part of the game. But what JR is talking about in my opinion is the same thing I mentioned about Giroux and his “want that first shift” mentality. He’s looking at that Claude Giroux, the hungry young player that put his heart on his sleeve. "If I was sitting in front of Claude Giroux right here today, I would say, 'You need to make amends and you need to have a bounce-back season and show everybody why you have been one of the better players over the last five years and last year was just a bad-luck situation,'" JR knows Giroux should be hungry. He should be ready to win come training camp. The Flyers’ rookies are coming up and they are going to look at Giroux as if he was their commander leading them into battle. If Giroux was as upset as I was watching Sidney Crosby raise his third Cup in the last 10 years, I’d be ready to come in and make it a mission that the Flyers not only played a dominate season, but made the playoffs. Fans have been on Giroux, JR is dead on about that. Many fans think he should be scoring 30 goals a season and putting up 100 points, but fans forget a couple of things. One, Giroux is a playmaker 20 goals would be a blessing for him. Two, Giroux isn’t on the level of Crosby or McDavid, 100 points is reaching. Three, Giroux is 29 years old. He is not going to get any faster than he already is. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a good captain or your best player. Just because Wayne Simmonds scores 30 goals every year, doesn’t mean he should be the captain. Giroux has been that leader, he has been the Flyers best player, he’s has been that example. Last year was bad year overall for the team, not just Giroux. October is a new year and Giroux should use JR’s comments constructively. The time is now, he’s the captain, he has the players around him to succeed and it’s up to him to come in, lead and deliver that expectation that was placed on his sweater in 2013. JR’s message to Giroux isn’t one of those out of left field remarks that he normally makes to get a rise out of hockey fans, but its advice from one player to another. It is a reminder that it’s a new year. It’s a spark that perhaps Giroux needs. But most importantly it was something that needed to be said and in October, we’ll find out if the message was received or if was just “seen.”
  3. Flyers rookie/prospect camp opened over the weekend in Voorhees NJ. Hundreds of fans flocked to the Flyers’ Skate Zone to observe the future of the team hit the ice for drills, workouts and some scrimmaging. Although, 2nd overall pick Nolan Patrick could not participate, he was on hand to meet fans, the media and of course observe his future team mates as well. Patrick spoke with the media, "This will be the first time in a while that I will be completely healthy," Patrick said. "My injury was bugging me all season. … I'll be back on the ice next week and I'm excited." After evaluation, Patrick will be skating in some conditioning drills and plans to be fully ready by training camp in September. Despite not being able to see the 2nd pick in action, plenty of hype surrounding the Flyers prospects as several of them are expected to compete for opening night roster spots. Let’s begin with a forward. Oscar Lindblom. Lindblom was selected in the fifth round in 2014. Most fifth round picks don’t make it into the NHL and if they do, it’s usually a role player. However, Lindblom has done nothing but turn heads in the past couple of years starting in Sweden. Ron Hextall has this to say; “Oskar went away, no one knew who the hell he was, just a fifth-round pick over there getting better and better and all of a sudden BANG, he’s the SHL forward of the year.” Lindblom, a 6-foot-2, 192-pound winger, played 52 regular-season games in the SHL last season. Lindblom tallied 47 points (22 goals and 25 assists.) He added 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 20 playoff games. Now, he’s here in Flyers prospect camp looking to be one of the scoring wingers come opening night. If you look at Lindblom’s developmental progress, one has to wonder, how he did he slip to the fifth round? When the 2014 draft hit, Lindblom himself expected to be a top 15 draft pick. When that didn’t happen and he slipped all the way down to the fifth round, that didn’t sit well with him. Over the past two years, you could see that hunger in Lindblom. He played with something to prove. Now two here later, here at camp, he’s doing the same thing. He’s showing that he’s ready. He’s letting everyone know that he’s here to work hard and that he wants to make the team in October and that in September he’s going to be working harder in training camp. He’s already caught the attention of the GM. "Some of these kids make a lot of progress in a couple years and I think Oskar is one of those guys. His skating, you look at certain players, they don't have a great stride and their skating can certainly get better, but there's a bit of ceiling there. With Oskar, it was more of a strength issue and that's what's come on with him. It's been a couple of years, he's gotten a lot stronger and you can just tell when you see him out on the ice there" Hextall told the press. Hextall continued, "Take the hat off to the kid, too, because he put a lot of work in," Hextall said. "When you improve that much, he put a lot of work in." It’s good to see a GM take the time to say that about a prospect in July especially when the Flyers are going to need more offense this season. Even Oscar knows he’s going to have to work hard come September, but the kid is already shown he has dedication. He’s been on the ice 10 minutes prior to everyone else hitting the ice all weekend. But Oscar wasn’t the only highlight of training camp. The Flyers also got to see goalie prospect Carter Hart. Hart, was selected in the2nd round of the 2016 NHL draft. (48th overall.) He was the first goalie and was labeled as the top goalie in the draft. Hart saw plenty of action at a high level this past year, winning a silver medal at the World Junior Championships this past year. He’s also won plenty of accolades since becoming a goalie. He won the WHL Goaltender of the Year award, back-to-back. (2016/2017) He’s have the best Save percentage last year and the past two years has had the best goals against average. (GAA) In 2015 he won the best goaltender of the CHL. Throughout his career in the WHL, Hart has played 149 games with a record of 85-39-12. (Those are 12 ties by the way, not shoot-out losses.) Hart, who is attending his second Rookie Camp, is showing off his skills and athleticism. He is aiming to make the NHL out of camp next season and knows it’s going to take a lot of hard work. “My goal is to make the team next year here. Obviously it doesn’t happen often with 19-year-old goalies, but it’s something that I really want. It’s something that I’m working for. I’m coming here to try to make the team in the fall.” Oh yeah, that’s right, Hart is only 18 years old. His resume thus far is so impressive alone, and I forgot to mention that he was only 18 years of age. How impressed are you now? Hart has one year of eligibility left in the WHL and will most likely play there. He’s too young to play on the Phantoms in the AHL and won’t be playing in the NHL this year. Hart also sees a sport psychologist. Hey, they’ve always said goalies have a different personality than other hockey players. I will continue all week with more on other Flyers Prospects. Training Camp ends Wednesday with the annual Trial on the Isle. Follow me on Twitter @iban3zhead
  4. He'll hit the ice in 4 weeks that is correct. What I meant was that fans won't get the opportunity to see him until Training camp since he can't participate in rookie camp or activities.
  5. Happy Fourth of July everyone! As Canada’s neighbors from the south celebrate our independence over the next few days, plenty of the NHL’s elite are celebrating new contracts and new places that they will call home. In the last 24 hours alone, the Dallas Stars have signed Alexander Rudulox to a 5 year contract, Joe Thorton re-upped to the Sharks for one more year and former Shark Patrick Marleau was able to ink a 3 year deal in Toronto. There are plenty of fan bases celebrating the offseason so far and I think right now the top winner could be the Dallas Stars. Dallas, just before the actual off season began, traded for Ben Bishop and immediately signed him to a six -year contract. During Free Agency, the Stars also added Martin Hanzal. With Benn, Spezza, Rudulov, Hanzal on the front lines and the return of Ken Hitchcock behind the bench this Stars team could be a powerhouse in the West. But despite Free Agency around the league many teams are excited to due to the draft results. One team in particular is the Flyers. Of course every Flyers fan became excited over the draft once it was discovered that the Flyers won the 2nd overall pick. I nearly jumped off the couch myself. Over the weeks from the Lottery to the draft, it was argued on who the clear cut number overall would be, Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier? For the longest time, Patrick was labeled the number one by many scouts however in the last week leading up to the draft Hischier, was labeled the number one choice. It was probable that Patrick’s injuries and offseason surgery led to his fall in the pre-draft rankings and as the rankings predicted, Patrick was selected 2nd overall by the Flyers. Injury aside, the Flyers have landed their future number one center in Patrick. Despite not playing 100 percent, Patrick still collected 46 points last season, 20 goals and 26 assists in only 33 games with Brandon Wheat Kings. (WHL) in previous season, Patrick had 41 goals and 102 points in 72 games. TSN Analyst Craig Button said that Patrick is a “very smart player. His hallmark is his passing, and he’s got a good shot. And because of his size, he’s got the ability to hold off the guy, draw another guy to him, and he has great vision on getting the puck (to someone) and open up a play.” Size is something the Flyers lack in a center from an offensive standpoint. Patrick is bigger in both height and weight than Giroux, Konecny, and Filpula. Center Sean Couturier, while taller and heavier, still has not lived up to his expectations as an offensive center, however since Couturier was moved to the 3rd line at last year’s trade deadline, he’s played much better and is better suited for a 3rd line role. Now two questions now come into play for training camp. Does Patrick make the opening night roster and does Patrick play center? General Manager Ron Hextall has never been one to rush a player in to the NHL, however many believe Patrick’s days in Juniors are over and will be in the line-up come October. It will be interesting to see who will play wing now that the Flyers have a plenthora of centers. (Giroux, Filpula, Patrick, Couturier, Lethera, Vecchione, Laughton, and Weal) I believe we’ll see Giroux, Patrick, Couturier and Lethera being your centers while the rest are moved to wing and Laughton and Vecchione battle for 4th line spot on the wing. Of course all of this is speculation. Patrick who won’t participate in Flyers Rookie camp, won’t be able to hit the ice until September and will have to earn his spot. It’s hard to predict where a drafted rookie who’s never played an NHL game will fall come October, although I believe that the trading of Brayden Schenn all but confirmed that Patrick will be playing in NHL. But once Patrick heals from his offseason surgery and starts rehabbing, I’m sure he’ll be hungry to show that he belongs on the Flyers next season. The Flyers are coming into the beginning of what they’ve been building for since Hextall took over as GM. There will be plenty of spots open for the young rookies to play and Hextall has already stated that he’s done for the summer with FA signings and trades. That is something that should be refreshing to hear for Flyers fans, who’ve seen many of their young prospects traded in favor of aging veterans who the front office thought could “win now.” Thankfully that philosophy is a thing of the past. I for one cannot wait to catch Patrick in Training Camp and see what this kid is made of. It’s been a long time since Flyers fans have had something to be excited about and now with the Flyers having a “Murders’ row of young players” (NBCSN Analyst Pierre McGuire), we’ll finally get to see a glimpse of our future hit the ice come the Fall. Later this week, I’ll re-cap the rest of the Flyers draft and projected line-ups for this upcoming season. I will be posting Flyers and NHL updates all summer on Twitter. Follow me @iban3zhead
  6. It was a long wait, but Draft day arrived. One of the most anticipated draft in years arrived Friday night, but just for the first round. And what a first round it was. We watched future Star, Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel go number one and number 2 respectively. As Dylan Strome was select at #3 which came as a surprise to many, the pieces fell in the correct place for the Flyers. Earlier this week GM Ron Hextall stated he was targeting Defenseman Ivan Provorov who was ranked at the Top Defenseman in the draft. There were even reports that the Flyers were trying to obtain the Number 3 pick in order to draft him. But as luck would have it, Arizona, Toronto, Carolina and New Jersey let him pass and when the Flyers were up Provorov was selected. Let’s take a look at our new future prospect. Provorov is a 6”0 210lbs left shot Defenseman. He has been talked about by several scouts and hockey reporters and had very high rankings. Ranked #9 by Hockeyprospect.com Ranked #7 by ISS Hockey Ranked #6 by Future Considerations Ranked #5 by McKeen's Hockey Ranked #7 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters) Ranked #8 by TSN/McKenzie His season with the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), Provorov posted 15 goals, 46 assists for 61 points in 60 games with a plus 36 in the +/- rating. This pick stacks up the Flyers blueline for the future. For a team that lacked defense a few years ago will look great in the years to come, most likely starting in the 2016/2017 season where we’ll see Travis Sanhiem, Shayne Gostisbehere, Sam Morin and Provorov for certain. It’s going to be great to see all of these guys for the Flyers. Provorov brings size, speed, offensive ability and a good defensive game. He’s capable of clearing the porch and taking the puck up ice. He’s considered a smaller Victor Headman as TSN analysts put it. We’ll find out more in the coming weeks what Hextall’s exact plan for Provorov is and we’ll get a good look at him at the Flyers Rookie Camp in July. The Flyers had two picks in the first round and their next selection was at 29, a pick they acquired from Tampa Bay as part of the Braydon Coburn trade. Instead of waiting, Hextall saw that Forward Travis Konecny from the Ottawa 67's was still available. Konecny was not on the Leaf’s radar at 24 so they traded the pick to the Flyers for the 29th pick and the 61st pick overall. It’s a win for both teams as the Leafs believe the guy they want would still be available and they got an additional pick. The Flyers then selected Konecny. Konecny has a small frame at 5”10 175lbs, but he has speed, quickness, great mobility and good offensive awareness. He had 29 goals and 39 assists last season in the OHL and had 70pts in the previous season. He’s expected to play wing for the Flyers. Now that the Flyers have traded the 61st overall pick, the Flyers have the 70th pick and are expected to look at a goalie. Hextall also is planning to make a few moves prior before free agency so it’s a very exciting time to be a Flyers fan as the rebuild is in full swing! Tomorrow, we’ll see who else will be part of the Flyers’ future. Follow me on twitter @iban3zhead
  7. Thank you! Well, Voynov is a much better defensman than Macdonald hands down. I would love to see that trade. LA moving a black mark off their roster is going to cost them, but they're going to have to deal with it. His cap hit is also less than AMD and one less year. That would be nice, I'd welcome Voynov. Although I heavily disagree with what he did, I'm a man of second chances and he would be a welcome addition to the blue line. I didn't realize Toffoli was a RFA. I had this list and the only RFA from the Kings was Jones. However, if a player like Toffoli would cost compensation and you had a shot at signing him would you do it? Next year's draft class isn't suppose to be as deep as this draft, plus if the Flyers plan on returning to the playoffs, they won't have a top 10 draft pick. I'd take a run at him.
  8. With the Stanley Cup Finals just less than a week away, some teams are still looking to sign their UFA and RFA forwards. Early this week, it was reported that the Flyers have finally begun contract talks with pending RFA Michael Del Zotto. The Flyers also need to re-sign Chris Vandevelde and Ryan White who are both set to become UFA. White played pretty well in his first season with the Flyers. In 34 games, White registered 6 goals and 6 assists and only racked up 34 min in penalties. White, I feel is the replacement for Zac Rinaldo. Rinaldo, brings zero offense to the table and its unknown whether he can be disciplined. New Coach David Hasktol, has a history of not putting up with players who are undisciplined and we could have very well seen the end of Rinaldo. White, who missed most of the season to a torn pectoral muscle, didn’t have an entire season to show what he can do and only made $575,000 last Season. This could work out well for the Flyers, given that White could end up getting a similar contract and could help keep the Flyers numbers low. I can see a 750k-900k one year deal happening here. It would be friendly for both sides. Chris Vandevelde could go either way. He had ok 4th line numbers with 9 goals and 6 assists through 72 games. Vandevelde was bounced all around in Berube’s line-up last season. He saw some time on the first line next to Giroux and Voracek, two players far out of his capability. He also had a rotating line-mate on the fourth line which switched from Rinaldo to Lecavalier quite often. It’s hard to generate chemistry when things like that are happening on a game to game basis. He also made $575,000 last season and I can see a one year, 750k deal happening here. He can provide depth, given if he doesn’t make the opening night roster. A lot can happen between now and October. That brings me to some notable free agent forwards that could potentially hit the market on July 1. The Los Angeles Kings are very cap strapped and could wind up losing several players because they simply are handcuffed just like the Flyers. Three UFA forwards could be open for offers on July first, and if they are should the Flyers throw a line out? Let’s take a look at who they are. We’ll begin with a familiar face and that is Justin Williams. Williams, has 3 Stanley Cup rings and a Con Smythe to go along with it, is a former member of the Flyers’ Organization. Since being traded, he’s gone on to do great things. Williams will be 34 when the new season kicks off, however he plays very well for a 34 year old. Williams had 18 goals and 23 assists for 41 points last season and was a plus 8. Williams is known for his two way play and his leadership. Williams also shines in the post season. Since Williams is getting older, he won’t be posting prime numbers like he used to and he has already won 3 championships, so perhaps a discount rather than a raise could be proposed. Last year he made 3mil but his cap hit was at 3.6mil. Williams also lives in New Jersey during the offseason. His family is here, he practices at the Flyers skate zone during the summer and he has a prior relationship with GM Ron Hextall who was his assistant GM in LA during LA’s first Cup. Could the Flyers land Williams with a 2 year 2.5-3mil offer? I know adding older veterans, is against Hextall’s plan but he wouldn’t have to give up any prospects or young players to land him. Just given his leadership alone which the Flyers lacked tremendously I’d at least take a look at this option. The LA Kings are also going to see if they can re-sign forward Tyler Toffoli. Toffoli is only 23 years old. He was part of “That 70’s line” in LA that had great success in the beginning of the season. Toffoli finished off with 23 goals and 26 assists for 49 points. Could he be the forward that the Flyers first line sorely needs? He’s a natural center, but he played on the wing while Jeff Carter centered. It’s going to be interesting because LA isn’t going to want to let a player like him go, but where are they going to get the money? That same question could be asked for the Flyers but I’ll add more into that later on. Toffoli’s cap hit was only 870k last year. He’s obviously due for a raise. Given his potential it’s possible he could ask for money LA can’t afford, but if he isn’t on LA’s books by June 30, I would absolutely take a run at this guy. He’s young, he’s fast and he can put points up on the board, oh and he has a Cup on his resume. Jarret Stoll will more than likely not be re-signed by the Kings. Stoll is a good 4th liner, which the Flyers have a plethora of. Stoll had a previous cap hit at 3mil and he’s going to be 35 at the start of the season. I don’t see him making 3 mill next year, but I also don’t see the Flyers taking a shot at him. The only purpose I brought him up was because he’s part of the Free Agents that could soon depart from LA. The Kings also have a RFA goalie and that would be Martin Jones. Jones, 25, is no joke. He began his NHL career stepping in for an injured, Jonathan Quick and went 8-0-0 in his first 8 starts with 3 shutouts. In his short NHL career, Jones has a .923 save %. Jones who can be a reliable back-up would cost the Flyers a draft pick if they were to sign him to an offer sheet, which I don’t see happened given that Hextall is going to build through the draft. Jones however, caught Hextall’s eye during a tryout session in 2010 and the Kings signed him to a 3 year contract. Jones went undrafted. I wouldn’t mind seeing Jones as the back-up to Steve Mason, but like I said, if the Flyers sign him to an offer sheet and LA doesn’t match, the Flyers will have to give up compensation which I just don’t see them doing. I fully expect LA to re-sign Jones. Okay, so while reading this, you’re probably asking where, are the Flyers going to come up with any of that money to sign these players? Well, the Flyers currently have $69,375,000 tied up in contracts. That does not include any of the Flyers pending free agents. The Flyers will get relief from Chris Pronger’s contract once he is place on LTIR and then Flyers will then have 64.454mil in the cap. The salary cap is expected to rise to 71mil, however you can’t count on that until it actually happens. If it does, the Flyers will have $6,545,000 to play with for Free Agents. Now it is widely believed that Hextall is going to heavily shop Vinny Lecavalier. There are also rumors that Vinny and the Flyers could come to an agreement to terminate Vinny’s contract which is plausible considering Vinny is getting a hefty check from his buyout in Tampa. Both parties have publicly stated that it hasn’t worked for either side so it’s very well possible that this could happen, given the Flyers can’t find a buyer to take on Vinny’s contract. If the Flyers can shed Lecavalier before July 1, they’ll have $11,046,000 in money to play with. The Flyers could then sign Toffoli, Williams and find a back-up goalie in the mean time. They can also sign Del Zotto, White and Vandevelde. Hypothetically, let’s just say for argument’s sake this whole paragraph does happen. What are the numbers? Let’s do the easy ones first. White and Vandevelde at one year deals for a combined cap hit at 1.8mil (a reasonable and real number at 900k each.) 9.246mil remains in available cap space. Del Zotto signs for a 2 year 3mil deal which would leave 6.246mil in cap space. Emery is re-signed for a 1 year 1mil deal leaving 5.246mil available. Toffoli, given his age and potential, would probably command a 3-4 year deal probably in the 4mil range. Pending on how you structure the contract you can get that cap hit to only be about 3mil so you’re left with 2.246. I’m sure you can bring in Williams on 2mil which leaves you with very little money to fluctuate in case of an injury. However if you can bring in Toffoli, I wouldn’t go after Williams, therefore you still have 2.4mil in cap space to play with or leave open in case of an injury. Now all of this is hypothetical. There aren’t any reports of any kind out there saying the Flyers are targeting these players or if LA fully intends to let these players hit Free Agency. I just noticed that LA is heavily strapped, Hextall has ties to these players and one of them is very young and very good. Everything with the numbers was just to explain how it could work although I know it’s easier said than done. With that said, could the Flyers land anyone of these potential free agents? Would you want the Flyers attempting to land any of them? What are your thoughts? Personally, I would love to see Toffoli in a Flyers uniform. But that’s just me. Follow me on Twitter @iban3zhead
  9. Part II Today I’m going to go over the current roster and who I think should stay and who should go just based on my observations from the past few seasons. The Flyers have a decent core to build around to become a contender in the future. Obviously we begin with Captain Claude Giroux who finished 13th in the league in pts (25G 48A). He is the center piece for the team. He was able to help his line mate Jakub Voracek breakout into a career year finishing 5th overall in NHL pts with 81. Those two, are our Crosby/Malkin or our Towes/Kane. Neither of them are those players, and I’m not comparing them but each team has a top duo you must rely on and G/Jake are those for the Flyers. But let us take a look at the rest of the team. Wayne Simmonds, led the team with 28 Goals, however missed the final 7 games due to injury. He's done a fantastic job at replacing Hartnell as the guy in front of the net, and has been a PP specialist. He also stands up for his team mates and is never afraid to get his hands dirty. He's easily become my favorite. Sean Couturier who is only 23, also had a career season with 37 pts. He’s more known as a shutdown forward, but the team wanted him to produce more offensively. “Coots” feels he can produce more offensively and publicly called out former Head Coach Craig Berube for playing him strictly as a defensive forward and criticized his offensive play. That left a lot of fans, writers and I’m sure players scratching their heads. Here, Coots has a career year offensively but was still thrown under the bus for not offensively producing. That may have been just one of the many factors that led to Berube’s dismissal. Michael Raffl who played his sophomore season in the NHL is proving that he’s a quality left winger that provides good depth. Raffl is productive on all 3 Flyers’ lines however, the Flyers are going to need a much better winger for the top line if they want improve their offense and be more consistent. Scott Laughton came up early in the season as the result of an injury to Vinny Lecavalier. Laughton showed speed, strength, poise and some offensive ability. He suffered a concussion and wasn’t the same when he came back. However, he played very well in the AHL and should have a spot come training camp. Vinny Lecavalier is a name that everyone loves to hear prior to two years ago. Vinny had a productive first year with the Flyers, but he flattened during his second year in the orange and black. Vinny spent 17 games as a healthy scratch as was used as a 4th line winger much of the season which led to his lack or production as well as his public dislike for Craig Berube. Personally, I really believe Vinny was misused under Berube. Vinny is absolutely a future Hall of Famer. He’s not the same player as he was with the Lightning, but he can still be useful. He’s a former captain and a leader. He never really had speed, so for those to say his speed is gone, is really misleading because he never had much of it to begin with. I think if used correctly Vinny can be an asset to the Flyers. I think he can be productive and produce decent offensive numbers. His contract is less desirable as a result of former GM Paul Holmgren who signed him to a ridiculous contract with a cap hit of 4.2million. The contract really is bad for everyone. It makes it near impossible to trade and it handcuffs the Flyers. The Flyers bought out center Danny Briere who had a very similar cap hit for only one more season before his cap hit went down to 3mil. Buying Briere out was supposed to give some relief for the Flyers, instead they signed Vinny for virtually the same cap hit and for more years. That was one of Homer’s boneheaded moves that current GM Ron Hextall has to now deal with. If the Flyers could move Vinny, I’m all for it. If not, I hope the Dave Hakstol can use him correctly and he can provide some of the offense the Flyers lacked. The Flyers have spent years struggling to find a starting Goalie to actually play more than two seasons in a Flyers uniform. Luckily, that isn’t their issue. Steve Mason, has done nothing but prove that he really is the Goalie that he was projected to be after his rookie season. Despite is record of 18-18-11 this season, Mason finished 8th in the NHL is GAA and 3rd in the NHL in Save %. That’s quite remarkable. It goes to show that the Flyers really lacked offense. Mason’s saves were also quality saves. Mason stood on his head in all 18 of those wins and majority off his games. It’s a shame is record doesn’t show it. But if Mason is finishing in the Top 10 in those categories over starters like Pekke Rinne, Holtby and Rask the Flyers are solid for goaltending and that’s what they need for a deep playoff run. Mark Streit played solid for the Flyers as their number 1 defenseman this year. He also tallied 52 pts. His age is a concern, but there’s no reason to be worried because he seems like one of those defenseman that can still play hard and be solid for your defense. Michael Del Zotto proved he is a valuable defenseman. He finished 2nd among defenseman with 32pts. He’s RFA, however he most likely will be signed. I see him being the Flyers 2nd Dman next season along with Streit. With the exception of Vinny, I consider the rest of those Flyers untradeable and those are the building blocks they need. The Flyers need to rid themselves of several players because of money and or overall lack of productivity. RJ Umberger is the first on my list. Umberger was expected to produce better than he did. He wasn’t expected to replace the void for Scott Hartnell as the move was strictly a cap space move that will pay off sooner rather than later. However Umberger played horribly. It took 67 games for Berube to actually healthy scratch him. It was later revealed that he needed hip surgery, but who knows if he’ll come back next season and be productive. If RJ could be moved, I’d try to move him. Buying him out is not an option as it would cost more money in the long run against the cap for the Flyers. Brayden Schenn: Schenn, put on an impressive run during the end of the season, but he was very inconsistent much of the year. He spent nearly a month on the first line and it actually brought down the production of G and Jake. Schenn is expendable. He had a lot of potential, but hasn’t shown much promise of being labeled the top prospect that was already drafted. He has a friendly bridge contract and if it were possible to move him, I’d do it in a heartbeat. ( I wrote this prior to the Flyers naming a new head coach. If the Flyers can move Schenn for a good return, do it. However I’m interested in seeing what this new coach can do to get Schenn’s potential out of him.) Luke Schenn can tag along with his brother. Schenn was brought in on probably the worst move in Homer’s stint as GM and one of the worst trades in Flyers history. We all know JVR (2nd overall pick behind Patrick Kane) was going to take some time to grow, but the Flyers needed defensive and gave up on him way too soon. JVR has since had a few years of success and has been part of the thriving offense that Toronto does have. (They lack defense.) Schenn has been labeled a parking cone due to his speed. His lack of defensive ability has also led to a lot of frustration with the Flyers fan base. The only thing Luke brings to the table is his size and his ability to hit. Schenn is a 5/6 or even a 7th defenseman. Some teams do need that depth and with the Flyers prospects getting ready to make the big jump, Schenn could be packaged. Nicklas Grossman is also someone who is probably an ideal candidate to be traded. He has a friendly cap hit and is a pretty reliable defenseman. However, with the addition of Gudas and the extension of Nick Shultz, Grossman is also expendable and could land us a 3rd/4th round draft pick. Andrew MacDonald is someone I wish would simply just go away. MacDonald was quickly brought in and extended for an unreal amount of money for someone who’s specialty is shot blocking. Another one of Homer’s head scratching moves that has crippled the Flyers’ front office and leaves them with very little options. His cap hit is 5 Million. MacDonald had 12 pts last year and was minus 5 (+/-). That’s not the salary of this type of defenseman. Through nine NHL seasons, MacDonald is a Minus 19 and has 105 pts. His contract is one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time. His cap hit is more than Jagr’s. Think about that. If the Flyers can find some miracle to remove this contract from the books, Hextall will be perceived as genus. Zac Rinaldo has worn out his welcome with me. I used to just watch him when he was on the ice. He brought a lot of energy and delivered hits. However, his lack of discipline has gotten old. He delivers cheap-shots, that has this fan base calling for his head. He has zero offensive ability and played much of this season on the third line which infuriated me. Ryan White is the replacement for the role of “Enforcer” if such a title still exists. White can actually provide offense, is more disciplined and I personally believe is a much better overall player than Rinaldo. In a perfect world I’d trade MacDonald, Grossman, both the Schenns, Umberger and Rinaldo. Let’s face it, trading all of them at once or even at all would only work in NHL 15. Umberger is likely here to stay until that contract is up. I don’t think there is a GM in the NHL that would take on MacDonald and who could blame them? The Flyers need a LW and bad. That void on that first line is noticeable. Where they can find one is anyone’s guess. There isn’t really a first line LW in Free Agency this year and if the Flyers were to obtain one, they’ll most like have to go via trade. Doing this would probably cost a young player and or draft picks which is something Hextall said he will not do. My guess is that it’s possible that we could see Laughton on the first line as a winger. It’s hard to do line projections when the draft hasn’t happened yet and today’s roster isn’t going to be October’s Roster. Any one of the younger players who are a center could find themselves filling that role. Hell, we may find Lecavalier on that line, although I don’t see it. You never know, if Vinny is here come Oct, I guess the option is possible. He has long reach, can skate around the boards nicely and is a gifted passer. Don’t expect him to be on the breakout with G and Jake if one happens, but as a set up guy, Vinny could be a viable option. But then I’d be going against my own words by saying he was misused as a winger. If the Flyers can’t find a LW for the first line by camp, I would try it to see if it could work. If it doesn’t at least it is only training camp and preseason to find this all out. I’m not going to talk about who the Flyers could trade for because there’s way too much to put into it. We all know a trade for what we need may cost us a core player and draft picks and that’s something that I don’t see happening unless it’s a trade that we couldn’t refuse. Then who to trade for what and compare cap space and trade value, it’s all something that I’m not interested in doing. Instead I’ll worry about getting defense up here and a left winger. That brings me to the draft to which I will go over tomorrow in part III. For all intents and purposes my keeps are: Giroux, Voracek, Simmonds, Raffl, Couturier, Mason, Del Zotto, Streit, Laughton, Shultz. Should go: MacDonald, Luke Schenn, Rinaldo, Grossman, Umberger, Could go either way: Lecavalier, Read, Brayden Schenn, White, Bellemare. (Which is why I didn't bother to speak about Bellemare, White and Read, who I see as part of next season's roster for sure.) Follow me on Twitter @iban3zhead
  10. Looking back at this past Flyers’ season, it’s one we could all easily forget. As we gain hope for the future, this team still has a lot of work ahead of them. However, it’s not as bad as it seems. I’m going to talking about the current roster, possible moves, and the draft in what I have as a 3 part series. However, the Flyers made a splash today announcing their 19th head coach. So we will begin part I of this series with this. I was driving to the beach this morning while listening to the radio when the news came across that the Flyers are announced their new head coach. As I braced myself, I hoped for Todd McClellen, who was my first choice. I also waited to see if fan favorite and one of the most logical choices would be Mike Babcock. While listening closely, I also hoped that it wasn’t Kevin Dineen, John Tortorella or Peter Deboer. Instead the name David Hakstol was reported over the air. “Who?” I thought to myself. The second I was able to stop, I briefly put off my beach trip to conduct a little research on this Hakstol. To begin, the Flyers went off the scale with this. Here we have a guy who’s name wasn’t mentioned at all in any reports. (Thanks Flyers’ media for doing your job, *Sarcasm*) It wasn’t Todd McClellen who seemed that would have been a perfect fit for the Flyers given his credentials with young players and getting them to produce. It wasn’t anyone from within the organization or has any ties to the Flyers in any capacity which was a huge relief. But it was a college coach, a college coach who has never coached a professional game in his life. Before I could even attempt to judge I kept an open mind. Hakstol seems to have quite the record. He’s coached at the University of North Dakota since 2004. He’s leaving behind an impressive record of 289-143-43 with a winning percentage of .654. North Dakota has qualified for the NCAA tournament in each of Hakstol's 11 seasons and reached the Frozen Four seven times. He’s also produced 20 NHL Players which include Jonathan Towes, Matt Green, TJ Oshie and Drew Stafford. Current Flyer Chris VandeVelde also came from Hakstol’s college system. Towes and Green have also gone on to win two Stanley Cups and Towes has won two Olympic Gold Medals as well. This move also proves that GM Ron Hextall wanted someone who can work well and develop young players. With our farm system stacked with potential young talent waiting to make the jump to the NHL, the Flyers also have a few young players with lots of potential waiting to be tapped. I’m talking about Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn. Couturier, had a career season in offensive numbers last season, but the organization wants him to replicate the offensive stud that he was in Juniors. Scott Laughton, who also had very high offensive numbers in Juniors, couldn’t translate that in his first NHL season. Perhaps Hakstol is the guy to tap every ounce of potential from these players. With his impressive record and professional players developed, he also has quite the record in his college career that isn’t kept in the books. It’s something that Flyers’ fans can appreciate. For one, he was suspended for two games for flipping off a referee. We all disagree with refs game in and game out and most of the time coaches will argue while others just sit and stare, but this guy showed his displeasure. Yes it’s a little immature, but it shows that he’s not going to take any BS and that he fully backs his team. That’s something I like in a head coach. He also has a history of making sure his team is disciplined or he will bench them. That doesn’t mean taking penalties, but playing both ends of the ice and showing sportsmanship. The Flyers went outside of the box and got the fresh prospective that the fans have been screaming for, for years. However many Flyers fans took to social media today to display their hatred and disagreement with Hextall’s choice of hiring Hakstol. I get it, he wasn’t the big name that we’ve been hoping for. He wasn’t the popular choice nor does he really have the NHL experience to back it up. He’s brand new. He will coach his first professional Hockey game in October. I for one thought about this all day and have come to the conclusion that this isn’t a bad move. I think it’s a good one. We’ll tell through time whether if it was a great move. All coaches have to start somewhere. He has a proven track record with developing young players, getting them to play to their fullest and he has a very impressive winning record to show for it. I think it’s a bold move by Hextall but the right one. We have a fresh prospective and that’s part of Hextall’s plan. Now we just have to continue to have patience and believe that this team will be a contender in 2-3 years. Tomorrow, I’ll go over the current roster and the needs of the Flyers as the Draft approaches. Follow me on Twitter @iban3zhead
  11. Eh, so I spelled his name wrong.... I misspell sometimes.. My bad.
  12. He puts up pts that are averages 1pt or more per game. He's a top 20 player and if you tried to trade him you are not going to get any player who's ranking higher than him. Not every player is a Crosby, ovechkin, Stamkos, towes... But Giroux is a good player and still hasn't reached his full potential.. Let him be...
  13. Dear Flyers fans, I'm writing this as a topic because I went the fans to hear the truth. Some of you know me as a blogger and I'm going to tell you something that is an absolute true story and I am in no way fabricating this. I'm not someone to try to gain any notoriety or want people to pay attention to me for the wrong reasons. You can can do two things, either read the story and believe that what I'm telling you is the truth or simply ignore it and move on. I can not under any circumstances reveal who told me this, however I can tell you that the information came from someone within the Kings organization who currently used to be a coach of the Flyers. IF you decide to attempt to figure it out, I can't be held responsible. Ok in the beginning of the season after firing Lavy and continuing to play horrible, Lukko went to Snider and brought up the notion of firing Homer. He explained his reasoning, that they needed a change and that he brought Hextall to get his feet wet and to transition him into the GM position if the worst case scenario happened. Snider told Lukko no, because Paul was important to the organization, they are friends and if Paul wants to leave, it's going to be on his own terms. Lukko then went to Comcast-Spectacor and asked them to release a statement saying that he does not support Paul staying with the organization and they refused to release it at the request of Snider. Snider informed Lukko that he can either except that they're not going to fire Paul and move on, or simply quit. As you can see, Lukko left "unexpectedly." as the President of Comcast-Spectacor to "pursue other interests." As his age? After his long tenure? Come on, to me that didn't even make sense. The reason I'm telling you this was because of the statement I couldn't ignore. "If Paul wants to leave, it's going to be on his own terms." Snider is delusional and it's obvious he ALWAYS will keep former Flyers around the organization forever. So be prepared if Snider extends Homer's contract. Like I said, if you chose to believe me that's fine and if you chose not to, that's fine as well. I don't have anymore information, I've written everything I know. I'm not going to argue with anyone or go out of my way to prove you wrong if you doubt my story. The purpose of this was to inform the fan base, nothing more nothing less. -iban3z
  14. It may have taken a blowout loss for the Flyers to get a fire going. At first, I wasn’t so sure how the game was going to go. As I sat in the Wells Fargo Center listening to the scratches for Detroit, I was wondering “Who the hell am I about to watch the Flyers play?” Then the announcement of Meszaros being a healthy scratch again drove me nuts. Downie was the only change. Even as the game started I noticed that Berube had the same defensive lines and I thought again, “Did he not learn from the blowout loss against Boston?” Well, sometimes writers and fans think they make the best coaches and last night proved to be why we’re not. Berube who kept the faith in his troops and his lines, sent out virtually the same players from the Boston game, but you certainly wouldn’t recognize it. During the first five minutes it had seemed like it was the same Flyers with most of the play in their own zone and a few quick defensive turnovers. But that all quickly changed and the Flyers began their best complete game effort of the season scoring a goal on the power play. Hartnell opened up the night with a powerplay goal, a deflection from a Kimmo Timonen shot. He would score his second goal in the 2nd period on a nice pass from Claude Giroux. It appeared the Detroit defense was fooled by the play and covered Jakub Voracek. Instead, Hartnell was the intended recipient and he rifled a wrist shot for his 14th of the season. For a brief moment there was a chance to see a natural hattrick and Hartnell’s first trick since January of 2012. Instead, the natural hattrick idea was killed when Adam Hall scored a nice backhander. Suddenly the Flyers looked like a playoff team again. They were scoring goals, creating chances, their defense was playing solid and for the first time since signing a contract extension, goalie Steve Mason was playing “lights out.” If not for the Flyers offense taking the spotlight, Mason’s play was highlight for sure. He had several quality saves. During the 2nd period, Mason made an incredible save and fell backwards leaving the net wide open. Detroit’s Kyle Quincey took the rebounded puck and shot it at the empty. Mason’s quick reflexes saw him lift his stick and he got a piece of it, deflecting it into the safety netting. Quicney was so sure he has a goal he actually lifted his arms and began to celebrate. The Wells Fargo Center erupted at the not only the play of Mason, but the effort that the Flyers were putting out. The Flyers came out and played a very solid 3rd period adding a goal, playing well defensively and Mason standing on his head to preserve his second shutout of the season. As for Hartnell, he finished with 2 goals and 1 assist for a 3 point night. Hartnell now has 21 points in his last 21 games. Raffl who had been struggling had an assist, Giroux finished with 3 points and the defense played like a real defensive. The only black cloud would be the fact that Timonen blocked a shot and left the game. GM Paul Holmgren stated that Timonen would be re-evaluated Monday and Head Coach Craig Berube stated that he was fine with nothing to worry about. Hmm, sounds a little fishy. Never-the-less the Flyers next will visit the NHL’s best team and that would be the Anaheim Ducks. (I still call them the Mighty Ducks.) That will be the true test of what the Flyers are. The Flyers have only 8 wins against playoff teams this season. (Yikes) The Ducks were my pick in the beginning of the year to win the Cup. (Against the Sens, I don’t think that opponent is happening.) If the Flyers can play a good solid game against the Ducks like they did against the Redwings, then perhaps the Flyers aren’t far off. Even if the Flyers lose, a good solid game against the Ducks would be a positive sign. I still think the Flyers need a #1 defenseman. Speaking of a #1 defenseman, rumors have it that Nashville may be listening to offers for Shea Weber. Weber, who is on a 68 million dollar contract (Thanks to Homer) is as initially thought, a financial disaster for the franchise. The Preds have loaded up on defenseman and have a good future #1 in the making with Seth Jones. Weber could be made available at the draft, of course for a steep price. This idea isn’t too farfetched. Who would you give up for Weber? I don’t think the Flyers are going to make a good deal by the deadline. The Flyers don’t need a rental defenseman, they need something long term. The final few games before the Olympic break are crucial. The Metropolitan Division is jammed packed with points as well as the rest of the crowded Eastern Conference. Hopefully the Flyers can ride this win all the way into California and get the Duck’s 2nd home loss all year. Here is to hoping! Let’s go Flyers! For Flyers and NHL Coverage as well as outburst against celebrities with no holds barred, Follow me on Twitter @iban3zhead
  15. If yesterday’s Flyers game wasn’t a sign that it’s time for a major change then I don’t know what is. In the 23 years that I’ve been able to watch and understand hockey I’ve probably missed anywhere from 10-15 Flyers’ games in that span. Yesterday’s snooze-fest was probably the worst Flyers game I’ve ever witnessed. Take away the 6-1 score even if it were 2-1 it would still be the worst effort. The Flyers came out flat in the first being outshot 5-1 in the first 10 min. The Flyers finally showed some effort for the remaining 10 min but that would be the only time we’d see the Flyers actually put forth any attempt to play hockey. The Flyers spent majority of the game in their own zone. I’ll be honest, when the first whistle blew for a commercial in the 3rd with 13:46 remaining, I left. The Flyers spent over 5min of that first 7 min in their own zone. They were down 4-0 at the time. Who would want to stay and watch that? If the Flyers don’t have any interest in playing why should I have any interest in watching? But I was already annoyed prior to the game even starting and here is why. I was excited to find out that Gus was finally going to be in the line-up. My excitement came crashing down when I was informed that Berube has scratched Meszaros instead of Grossman, Schenn or Coburn. Mez who’s had 11 pts in his past 10 games, one of the few defenseman with a plus in the +/- column was being benched. Then to find out that Steve Downie was being benched in favor of Jay Rosehill I was completely baffled. The Flyers have lost 3 straight, and were 1-3-2 in the last five. In a tight Eastern Conference where only 3pts separate teams 6th through 13th, the Flyers need to add wins like humans need oxygen. Scratching your most recent best defenseman and playing a forward who brings no offensive or defensive game to the line-up baffles me. Not to mention after losing 3 in a row, Berube didn’t change his defensive pairings. Obviously the pairings aren’t working so why keep them together? The defense on this team for the last 3 years, have been average at best. This year you can’t think this team is a cup winning team. This defense couldn’t compete with a good team let alone an elite team. I’ll break down the defense for you: NAME GP G A PTS +/- Mark Streit 53 6 18 24 -4 Kimmo Timonen 53 2 16 18 +4 Andrej Meszaros 32 4 11 15 1 Braydon Coburn 53 4 6 10 -6 Nicklas Grossmann 52 0 10 10 -11 Erik Gustafsson 21 2 5 7 4 Luke Schenn 50 3 3 6 -8 Hal Gill 4 0 0 0 -2 Does this looks like the defense of an elite team? The Flyers best defenseman is 37 years old! Coburn, Streit, Grossman, Schenn are a combined minus 29. I normally don’t count the +/- on forwards, but you have to on defenseman. The Flyers went years with a subpar goalie until they found Steve Mason who could arguably be the main reason the Flyers are even in the playoff hunt at all. Now the Flyers’ main concern is defense. Since the absence of Chris Pronger, their defense hasn’t been the same. I’m not saying that because Pronger did everything, but his locker-room leadership and guidance is obviously missed. There is no direction on the defense. Kimmo is a leader, but he can only do so much. No one is holding themselves accountable and by not scratching Schenn, Grossman and even Coburn, Berube isn’t either. People have argued with me about scratching Coburn. Well, he leads the entire team in turnovers with 33. Coburn tied Luke Schenn for most turnovers last season with 31. Coburn led the defenseman in turnovers with 43 in 11/12 season. What about his production? This year he has 4 Goals 6 assists and is a minus 6. Last year he had 1 goal, 4 assists and was a minus 10. Still think he’s a # 2 defenseman? Now those are two seasons without Chris Pronger. What about the two and quarter seasons he played with Pronger? 11/12 he had 4 goals, 20 assist and was plus 10. In 10/11 he has 2 goals, 14 assist and was a plus 15. The first season the Flyers had Pronger Coburn had 19 pts but finished with a minus 6 however, Pronger was mostly paired with Matt Carle that season, not Coburn. Long story short, Coburn needs another great defenseman to make him look good and if Kimmo isn’t doing that, what does that tell you? I won’t give all the blame to Coburn. Luke Schenn has been disastrous. He has a life time minus of 28 and only 92 pts in 407 NHL games. Apparently that was supposed to be even with the talent of JVR? Schenn is the definition of “a 1st round bust.” (5th overall) He moves as is he has cement in his skates, his coverage is awful and he has no offensive upswing. He can hit, but can’t every hockey player? I think the Flyers only traded for him so he could play with his brother which is a HORRIBLE REASON to trade of a player. If I could, I’d package him in any way I could. Grossman: I liked him because he was a solid 4/5-6th defenseman. I don’t know where his mind has been this year, but it hasn’t been on how to play defense. He has some knee problems, which isn’t good for a 29 year old defenseman but I don’t think that has any effect on his play. Personally, I think this one is on coaching because he hasn’t been scratched or told what to fix. He’s making the same mistakes game in and game out and hasn’t been held accountable. The Flyers need to overhaul the team. If you look at the other teams in the NHL teams like, Ducks, Sharks, Kings, Pens, Bruins, Blackhawks, Tampa and recently the Avalanche, these are the Elite teams of the NHL and they’re going to be good for years to come. The Flyers will never beat any of these teams with their current roster. The Rangers have always been good, Columbus is a team that’s getting better, Washington has the potential to be a great team, and Toronto is on the doorstep of being a good team for many years. If you look at all these teams, they are what the Flyers are not. It’s sad to see because the Flyers were among this group just a few years ago. Trading Carter, (Although I love that trade) Richards, Bob, JVR and losing Pronger to a career ending injury, Jarg to FA who has gas in the tank and is effective, this team has been in a downward spiral. What I wouldn’t have done: Traded Richards, (or made him captain) Traded Bob, Traded JVR or lose Jagr. What the Flyers need to do: Let Kimmo retire, trade Coburn, trade Luke and Braydon Schenn as a package, trade Hartnell, find a true #1 defenseman, bring back Gagne as a 3rd line winger for 1million, resign Mez to a 1yr 2mi or under contract, never play Rosehill again, bring up Lauridsen, Akeson and McGinn. Look for competing next year. Let’s face it, I want the Flyers to win the cup and even if they manage to squeeze into the Playoffs, they’re not going to go far with this roster. Next year’s roster: Voracek-Giroux-Raffl Read-Coots-Simmonds Lecavalier-Laughton-Akeson/McGinn/Gagne (if only) Rinaldo-Hall-Akeson/McGinn Defense-Figure this out based on who played well with one another and their defensive production during training camp/preseason: Streit, Gus,Lauridsen, Morin and trade for or sign a #1 defenseman resign Mez for cheap and short-term if possible. When healthy he can be very valuable. Here are a few names to throw in the hat for upcoming UFA: Joni Pitkanen, Brooks Orpik, Dan Girardi, Matt Niskanen. Possible trade routes for an RFA: Justin Shultz, PK Subban (although I fully expect MTL to resign him), Jamie McBain, Brenden Dillon (decent 5/6th). Possible Trade Routes: Byfuglien, Wisniewski, Yandle, Ehrhoff, Franson. There are several possibilities and the Flyers need to explore them. Hopefully the team will let Homer go out into the sunset and not renew his GM contract. Let a fresh GM take over. (Hextall) If something isn’t done soon, we’re looking at a subpar team with aging players losing trade value and young talent going to waste. Let’s open up a new era now and build an elite team. Let’s go Flyers. Follow me on Twitter @iban3zhead

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