Monday, July 19, 2010


Well it's officially the end of an era in Philadelphia Flyers hockey and Philadelphia sports in general. Simon Gagne has been traded out of Philadelphia to the Tampa Bay Lightning for defenseman Matt Walker and a 4th-round pick. Gagne was the longest tenured Philadelphia sports athlete, followed closely by Eagles kicker David Akers (by one month).

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.


  1. The flyers have one move left and thats to sign darroll powe. Also if the flyers send bartulis and cote to the minors that gives them over another million in cap space. add that to what they currently have it creates opportunities during the trading deadline. 3 million in cap space was all that was needed for the devils to acquire kovalchuk.

    P.S. Im not saying Shelley was a great signing, but the flyers need an enforcer if they are gonna play an aggressive physical style. Lappy cant fight 22 times again.

    I should write your posts for you, I am that gosh darn knowledgable.

  2. Well if the Flyers got Shelly, why did they get Walker? How many fighters do you need on one team? You now have Carcillo, Shelly, Walker, Laperriere (if need be), plus any other forward who doesn't mind dropping the gloves.

    The Flyers also have 8 defensemen under the cap. Are they going to be rolling 4 defensive pairs this coming season? Even if Bartulis is sent down, that's a lot of cap space put into 7 D-men. Chances are someone on the blue line is going to be moved.

    Hartnell - Briere - Leino
    Carter - Richards - Zherdev
    JVR - Giroux - Carcillo
    Laperriere - Betts - Shelly

    Where does Powe fit? I assume that Holmgren/Laviolette will realize how horrible of a signing Shelly was that if they resign Powe, Shelly will be a healthy scratch most nights.

    Also, if Claude Giroux is going to become the player we all think he's going to be, he has to have someone better than Carcillo on the wing. And that's where the possible acquisition of a skilled winger comes into play.

    And if you're happy with Michael Leighton in net for an entire season with all the softies he let up in the Final, good luck. He'd be great as a guy who plays a number of games in a season, but not as the starter. He's a very serviceable backup.

  3. Joey this isnt, this is serious journalism, you better start spellchecking. I believe his name is spelled Shelley.

    Ok, yes its a lot invested in defense, can't argue that, but its not 8 defensemen, its going to be 7. The majority of teams carry 7 defensemen in the nhl. Sean O'donnell, is a 1 million dollar cap hit this season, thats really not a whole lot. Especially when you consider what other teams are paying their 7th d-man. Toronto for instance is paying Jeff Finger a whopping 3.5 million a season.

    The flyers don't have a single defensive prospect ready to contribute regularly at the nhl level. Which may have been the deciding factor in trading for another defensemen in Walker. Despite his lack of offensive skills he is a decent defensemen, he is not an enforcer like Shelley.

    Laviolette's lack of trust in Bartulis showed in his playing time in the playoffs, you can't have guys on your team that the coach doesn't trust. It makes more sense for Bartulis to go to the AHL play 20 minutes a night and continue to progress, rather than sit him in the press box in the nhl.

    My version of lines


    Carcillo and Shelley are natural Left wingers, Lappy played right the majority of last season. Carter is out of position, but hes going to have to play wing this season so hes out of position regardless. Being a right hand shot and playing the right side he might get more favorable shooting angles, ala Mark Recchi.

    Powe is an extra forward. Clearly you haven't watched the flyers recently if you think they will have a healthy scratch regularly. Powe being an extra forward will probably still see in excess of 60 games.

    No I am not happy about Michael Leighton being the number 1. In saying that, I would rather have Leighton at a small cap hit, for two years then commit a large amount of the cap to a goalie like Turco, Theodore, or Nabokov long term. Signing Leighton allowed the flyers to get more depth on their blue line and I would take a 24 year old Meszaros over any of those goalies, any day of the week.

    If this was around the horn you would have just been muted!

  4. First off, I'll apologize for misspelling Shelley's name. Secondly, never compare any team to the Toronto Maple Leafs. They are an abomination and are so far deep in the hole that it's going to be nearly impossible for Brian Burke to dig them out of it. For them to have over $3 million in a 7th defenseman is no one's fault but their own.

    Sending down Bartulis makes sense only if the Flyers don't trade another D-man currently on the roster. Bartulis would be a fine 7th defenseman considering he only makes $600,000.

    As for my line combinations, I didn't put much thought into them and was only doing it to show that there's no place for Powe. He deserves a guaranteed starting position somewhere and if it isn't going to be in Philadelphia, he should go elsewhere.

    And I think that we all can agree that Carter shouldn't be on the wing, but what can we really do right, trade him?

    I do have a good feeling about Meszaros in the O&B, but that being said, I still don't at all trust that Michael Leighton can win a Stanley Cup with seeing his performance in the Final. But not just going by the Finals, watching him in the regular season showed that he used his size to his advantage. He's not very quick going into the butterfly and can (and does) leave the five-hole open way too much.

    Also just as an aside, some believe Mike Testwuide is going to compete for a roster spot this season. Another reason that Powe, although I think he's a great 4th-liner who also does well on the PK, won't be able to be on this team next year.


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