Thursday, July 8, 2010

Turn and Face the Strain

It has been a little over a week since the NHL free agency period officially began, but Flyers fans are left with more questions than answers. I've tried to guess at what Paul Holmgren is thinking with the moves he has made and with the rumors I've been hearing and I simply can't figure it out. Instead of writing a long, extended column on what has already happened, I'll just hit each thought step-by-step.

1) The Jody Shelly signing
The Flyers signed Shelly to a 3-year, 3.3 million dollar deal. He had 9 points (2 goals) in 57 games last season with the Sharks and Rangers. Some are comparing him to Carcillo who had 12 goals and 22 points last season in 76 games and made just under 1 million. If anything, Shelly is half a step above Riley Cote, not Carcillo.
My initial reaction: Terrible.

2) The Andrej Meszaros deal
I've been following Meszaros since 06/07 and his days with the Senators. He averaged around 37 points per season with Ottawa, but his numbers have dropped dramatically since he moved to Tampa Bay. He has 33 points in TWO seasons with the Lightning and is a -18 over that span. That could be a result of being on a poor defensive team down south and the Flyers hope he can regain what he was north of the border, and I think he will.
My initial reaction: For a 2nd round pick, a very nice 5th D-man.

3) The Sean O'Donnell signing
At 1 million per, O'Donnell is a solid veteran who is going to be a nice 6th/7th D-man along with Oskars Bartulis. He had 15 points and was a respectable +14 last year with the Kings. He won a cup with Chris Pronger in Anaheim and should bring some leadership to the Flyers locker room.
My initial reaction: Solid. Makes our already incredible blue line even better.

4) Resigning Michael Leighton
Here's the thing with Mike Leighton. He was great during the regular season filling in for Brian Boucher. He was great in the series against the Canadiens and in every game he played against the Bruins (except the 1st period of game seven). But when the Final came around, he simply did not show up. He lets in too many soft goals. As a backup for this team he's great, but I don't want to see him between the pipes in Pittsburgh on October 7th.
My initial reaction: If he's a backup it's good. If he's going to be the starter--hell no.

More moves are certainly going to be made in the coming weeks. There are number of rumors and I'll make a quick comment on a few without going too far in depth on any.

1) Nik Zherdev - Has a reputation of being a pest in the locker room and not a very good team player. Was good before he went to Russia, he may cost too much and in my opinion, is not worth it.

2) Marty Turco - If they shed some salary I like it. Apparently, Turco's people have been calling the Flyers daily, and not the other way around.

3) Jose Theodore - Please no.

4) Tomas Kaberle - The rumors of Kaberle being moved have been around for years now and I really don't see how he fits in Philadelphia with all the defensemen they already have.

5) Ilya Kovalchuk (1 year deal) - Not a Kovy fan. A better Carter but even poorer defensively. Would cost way too much and doesn't fit under the cap, in the system, or on the team. Say "hi" to Nabokov in Russia for me Ilya.

6) Bill Guerin - If they could move some guys and fit him in, I like the veteran presence but it's a slim chance.

7) Jonathan Quick - This is probably the guy who would come to Philly if Gagne is moved out west. I'd like to see Quick in the orange and black, nice young talent.

If there are any more rumors I remember (or hear of) I'll add them. I'm very excited, but at the same time scared, to see what this team looks like in a couple months. We may or may not have seen the last of Simon Gagne in a Flyers jersey. We'll see what happens.


  1. Joey, Its been hours since the gagne deal was done and still no post? I am disappointed in you. Just to save you research time, gagne for matt walker and a 4th rounder is official. You may remember our little talk last offseason, where I was saying walker is the perfect d-men for the flyers. Still sad to see gagne go though.

    P.S. Shelley is not useless, please tell me you have not gone soft.

  2. There you go, Evan. And I do remember you saying how you liked Walker last year. And Shelly is a waste of space. Wee don't need him AND Carcillo AND Walker.


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