Monday, July 19, 2010
Walker is a large, tough, gritty defenseman who will bring a good amount of size to the Flyers blue line. He has had health problems though--he has never played more than 66 regular season games in a season. And he's not someone who's going to add a lot of scoring to the team either--his career high in points is 14 (1G, 13A). But to trade a bona fide 30-40 goal scorer (albeit with injury problems as well) for a guy who will probably be a 6th defenseman on this Flyers team and a 4th-round pick, doesn't make much sense. Now I know as well as anybody that this was a pure salary dump, but it's hard to believe that this is all Philly's most tenured athlete was worth.The Flyers got worse with this move, not better.
Maybe if Flyers GM Paul Holmgren hadn't put himself in the position where he needed to dump salary, he could have gotten more for Gagne. Had he moved No. 12 before going over the cap, he may have been able to get Meszaros AND Walker without having to give up that 2nd rounder.
With the move, the Flyers get rid of Gagne's $5.25 million salary, and add Walker's $1.7 million cap hit. And since they were a little over $2 million over the cap, they now have $1.053 million in cap space to work with. That could be money the Flyers use to spend on a goaltender or save for possible wiggle room during the season.
With the addition of Walker, the Flyers now have eight defensemen under contract (Pronger, Timonen, Meszaros, Coburn, Carle, O'Donnell, Bartulis, Walker). It does seem a little unnecessary to have eight defenseman under contract considering that most teams only dress seven. Now, this means that the Flyers may need to send one of the eight down to the minors and hope they clear waivers or try to trade one (or two) for some forward help.
Paul Holmgren has taken another huge gamble going into next season. He is hoping Scott Hartnell and Ville Leino can be the players they were during the postseason. He is hoping that Jeff Carter returns to form and doesn't have long stretches where scoring is like trying to fit the puck through a needle hole. (As of right now), he is hoping Michael Leighton is the goalie of the Montreal series, not the Chicago series. He is hoping Nikolai Zherdev is the scorer he says he is and not the pest in the locker room that others say he is.
Simon Gagne will surely be missed by nearly all Flyers fans. He scored two goals, including the OT game-winner, against the Lightning in game six of the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals to force a game seven. He scored the game-winner against the Bruins in OT of game 4 and in the 3rd period of game seven. He has scored 47 and 41 goals in back-to-back seasons and was a great leader on the ice as well as in the locker room. We will miss you Simon.
I don't believe the Flyers are done making moves this off season, though. I still think (or at least hope) they will get a goalie and some scoring talent either through a trade or free agent signing. The Flyers need help on the wing and trading one of their spare D-men or one of their highly skilled centers to improve it may be an option.