Friday, November 12, 2010

Simply Put: Don't Resign Carter

After Jeff Carter's second career hat-trick Thursday night there are going to be people who say how great he is and how the Flyers need to resign him to a long-term contract as soon as possible.

Not true.

Right now, the Flyers have five centers on the team. Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, Danny Briere, Blair Betts and Jeff Carter. Each player has a defined role. Danny Briere goes with Ville Leino (who the Flyers need to resign as well) and Scott Hartnell. Claude Giroux and Mike Richards can center any of the top three lines and be productive and Blair Betts plays his role on the fourth line and the penalty kill.

There's no place for Jeff Carter to center on this team. Carter can't go on the fourth line to replace Blair Betts because, well let's face it, Carter can't play on the fourth line. Carter can't replace Richards (signed through 2018/19), Giroux (just signed a three year contract extension) or Briere (signed through 2014/15).

Well, Carter could play out of position on the wing I suppose. Aside from the fact that his stats are much lower when he plays the wing, the Flyers could fit him in.

But how could they fit him in salary cap-speaking? The Flyers already have $52,313,096 committed to 17 players in 2011-12 after the Claude Giroux signing. With the salary cap at $59.4 million, that leaves the Flyers with slightly over $7 million to spend on players to fill out the roster. That doesn't leave much room to sign Leino, Carter and other players to fill out the team. Is Carter worth it?

Over the past three seasons, Carter has gone from 46 goals and 84 points in 2008, to 33 goals in 2009 and 61 points, to before his hat-trick yesterday, which would throw off his predictions, was on pace for 27 goals and 59 points in 2010. His statistics have slowly gone down and his errant shots that completely miss the goal have gone way up.

Carter is taking shots simply for the sake of taking shots. He'll skate in on the wing and shoot the puck before he gets to the circle. He doesn't look for the pass or to make a play, he just looks to hit top-shelf and more often than not, misses it. And when Carter does find the back of the net most of the time it's a direct result of a great play or a hard-work play from another player, and not from Carter.

Signing Claude Giroux to an extension was the best signing the Flyers have made in a while but if the Flyers resign Jeff Carter to a long term deal, it may rival the Jody Shelley acquisition. Carter makes $5.5 million per year already, and there's no telling how much Philadelphia may overpay for him now.

I'm not saying the Flyers should trade Jeff Carter yet, especially since the Flyers are 7-0-1 in their last eight games. You can't mess with that kind of play. The Flyers may want to wait until the end of the season and get some compensatory draft picks for the Flyers center. But if somehow the Flyers find themselves in the midst of an extended losing streak sometime before the trade deadline, I say send Carter out of town.

Hopefully for the Flyers sake, that doesn't happen and they roll on into the playoffs on the back of Carter. But I just don't see Jeff Carter carrying anybody right now, even after his three goals yesterday.

The Flyers resigned Jeff Carter to an 11-year, $58 million deal. Crap.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Saving Mr. Initials

They couldn't send him down could they?

Well it's official, the Flyers sent down Eric Wellwood today instead of Andreas Nodl or the 2007 second overall pick, James van Riemsdyk.

Before anyone gets into the JVR situation, I should mention that Wellwood will be back with the Flyers. It may not be tomorrow, next week or next month, but believe me, the Flyers saw enough out of him to realize he has the potential to be a pretty good NHL hockey player. Wellwood will return.

But with the "demotion" of Wellwood, that means Mr. van Riemsdyk is still with the big club, but as of now, is still a health scratch with the team. JVR's 0 goals and 4 assists put him in 14th place on the team in points behind such snipers as Blair Betts and Darroll Powe. Aside from Jody Shelley, van Riemsdyk is the only offenseman on the team with at least four games played who doesn't have a goal.

Why wouldn't Peter Laviolette scratch him? The only other player on the Flyers who has given less to this team is Jody Shelley. But at least Shelley's playing a grinding role on the fourth line with Dan Carcillo and Blair Betts. The only thing JVR has done all season is turn the puck over and show that either he or the weight scale lied about him working out this summer.

A few games ago Laviolette scratched Nikolay Zherdev because of his lack of production and negative attitude towards playing time. And when Zherdev returned to the lineup he looked rejuvenated and his play has gotten progressively better since he came back. Zherdev has two goals, 11 shots and is a +2 in four games since his two game absence. It's not earth-shattering, but it's better than his two goals, 0 assists and a -1 in nine games before the wake-up call.

So maybe the time off will help out the Flyers' youngster. It certainly helped Zherdev. And especially since the Flyers are going on their annual "team bonding" trip, the time off could help van Riemsdyk relax a bit and come back with a goal in mind (and on the ice).

But it's not just the time off that's going to make JVR better. He needs to realize what his role is on the ice. He needs to stop trying to do too much. It seems as if he's trying to create, develop and finish a play every shift he has. He needs to play his part on the ice. Take a pass, make a pass, take a hit, deliver a hit and just get off the ice. He needs to be doing more of this and less of this.

Be smart on the ice Riemer, get to the net, grind it out, plant yourself in front of the goalie and good things will happen. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was Rick Nash.

And James van Riemsdyk won't be either.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wiz Wit Jason, Joe & Porter -- November 7th

Click on the title link above to listen to the November 7th broadcast of Wiz Wit Jason, Joe & Porter.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Think with your Wood, not with your Nodl

It has been reported that Flyers winger Andreas Nodl is back skating with the team coming off of his injury and Eric Wellwood has been sent back down to the Phantoms.

Has Peter Laviolette not been watching these players in the past few weeks?

Eric Wellwood has been showing a ton of intensity on the ice and he brings very high energy level every shift. He's quick and has the ability to throw his body around. And looking at the way he skates and plays the game, it looks like he has the ability to put the puck in the net.

Nodl on the other hand has the nickname Andreas "NoGoal" for a reason. He's a bigger player than Wellwood (he's 6'1", 196 compared to Wellwood who's 5'11", 180), but plays like he's 5'5", 125. He doesn't use what size he has to his advantage. Nodl is not a scorer. Plain and simple. In his two goals this year, one of them is an empty netter and the other came off a nice 2-on-1 feed from James van Riemsdyk.

The Flyers know what Andreas Nodl has. They know what he can bring, they know what his limitations are and how much skill he has.

Eric Wellwood on the other hand has unrealized potential and a has the ability to play on both the penalty kill AND the power play.He plays much bigger than he actually is and unlike Nodl, he has a lot of talent.

Maybe Laviolette sent Wellwood down because he wanted him to get more experience in the AHL. And if that's the case, I think Wellwood is going to be back with the Flyers sooner rather than later.

Hopefully to replace a healthy Andreas Nodl this time.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shelley Proving to be an ASSet

When the Flyers announced the signing of Jody Shelley back in July, it was basically a forgone conclusion that Shelley was to be the new tough guy on the Flyers. The new Donald Brashear. A Riley Cote who actually wins fights.

Well at $1.1 million for three years, Shelley better be beating the opposition senseless and taking out the other team's most important players or at least keep them off the ice when he's on it.

But that's not exactly what has happened so far this season. Ever heard of Deryk Engelland? Unless you're a serious Penguins fan I doubt it and even if you have, I doubt you consider him a legitimate fighter. Well take a look at what he did to our dear Jody Shelley last Friday in Pittsburgh.

According to the preeminent NHL fighter's dreamland,, 97.2% of people said that Engelland, won the fight. And after watching that beat down, it's impossible to disagree.

Once again, Jody Shelly is making $1.1 million per year to "bring his talents to South Philly." He's making more than Sean O'Donnell ($1 million), Brian Boucher ($925,000), Oskars Bartulis ($600,000), Sergei Bobrovsky ($900,000), Blair Betts ($700,000), Darroll Powe ($725,000), Andreas Nodl ($735,000), and here's where it gets interesting...James van Riemsdyk ($875,000), Dan Carcillo ($1.075 million), Ville Leino ($825,000) and Claude Giroux ($765,000).

Jody Shelley is making more bank than the Flyers' leading scorer (Giroux) and second leading scorer (Leino), cashing more checks than a quarter of the Flyers' blue line and seeing more bills than both the Flyers' netminders.

The NHL's leading bruisers with at least four fights on the season are Zenon Konopka ($600,000), Tim Jackman ($550,000), Mike Brown ($575,000), Brandon Purst ($800,000), Deryk Engelland ($500,000) and Ryan Clowe ($3.5 million).

Aside from Clowe who actually scores on occasion and averages 16:42 ice time per game, none of these so-called enforcers have a cap hit of more than $800,000/year. Most teams realize a fighter shouldn't be making more than a million per.

Shelley averages 5:01 time on ice per game. That means if you assume that Shelley plays every game from now until the rest of the season, and put his salary at a per game level, Shelley makes around $2,683 every minute he's on the ice getting his face pummeled. Compare that to Matt Carle who, if you did the same calculation with his 20:02 TOI, makes $2,096 per minute on ice. Shelley makes more per minute for his services on the ice than does a guy on the Flyers' top defensive line.

“I think our fans are going to take to Jody Shelley just the way they took to Dan Carcillo,” Paul Holmgren said after the Flyers signed him in July.

"We feel we got a guy who can play a role for our team we haven’t had in quite some time and play a third or fourth line, he’s a bigger body, and I’m talking about Jody Shelley, so I’m very happy with what we did today."

Dan Carcillo has the ability to score, Shelley does not. Dan Carcillo has the ability to win fights, Shelley just got his face wrecked by Deryk Engelland.

Take it as you will, but the signing of Jody Shelley is the worst signing in recent Flyers history. Especially when he keeps better players off the team with his enormous cap hit.

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