Archive for June, 2009

Flyers Acquire Chris Pronger

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2009 by flyersfan44

chris-prongerThe Flyers made a big trade at Friday’s Entry Draft, acquiring 6’6, 221-pound defenseman Chris Pronger from Anaheim for right wing Joffrey Lupul, defenseman Luca Sbisa, and two first round draft picks in thie year’s and next year’s drafts. Minor-league forward Ryan Dingle also came to the Flyers in the deal.  With this move, the Flyers get the huge, banging defenseman that they needed to clear the front of the net, a problem that was glaring in the first-round loss to Pittsburgh.  The Flyers were rumored to be interested in acquiring Pronger at the March trade deadline but couldn’t do it because of salary cap issues. 

This is obviously a move made with an eye toward winning the Cup now and sacrifices some of the Flyers’ future.  Pronger is a former Hart and Norris Trophy winner and has won the Stanley Cup. He has great leadership capability, can move the puck, and is a huge physical presence.  He played every game last season and averaged 25 minutes of ice time. It will be great to have a defenseman of his size and skill on our backline.  However, I am not happy with what we gave up. Besides the two first rounders, Luca Sbisa played well as a rookie last season before being sent back to Juniors late in the season.  He is going to be an excellent defenseman and including him in this deal may turn out to be a big mistake.  Lupul was a decent player, but his contract paid him more than what his average production was worth. The two late first round picks don’t bother me – they’re a crap shoot in many ways.  To me, Sbisa is they key in tilting this deal in Anaheim’s favor.  It’ll only be worth it if the Flyers win the Cup in the next year or two.  GM Paul Holmgren has shown a tendency in his last couple of deals to give up too much. The Ducks knew the Flyers really wanted Pronger; maybe Homer needs to be more coy in his discussions. 

Also consider that Pronger is no youngster at 35 years of age and has only one year remaining on his contract. The Flyers will need to re-sign him after this coming season, so this could turn out to be only a one-year thing. And once again, the Flyers acquire a player they covet but only after he’s near the end of his career. Remember Peter Forsberg? Dale Hawerchuk? Adam Oates? Paul Coffey?  It will be nice to have Pronger, but time will tell if this deal was worth it.

Finally, this trade will likely put an end to Jay Bouwmeester talk.  JayBo’s agent said on Friday that he would test free agency on July 1 even if a team acquired his rights before then.  That made it useless to trade for him. 

 

 

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Latest Heatley, Bouwmeester Trade Rumors

Posted in Uncategorized on June 25, 2009 by flyersfan44

Latest has the Kings still tops in the running for Dany Heatley – their first round pick and Frolov to Ottawa is the most recent scenario.  It’s looking more and more that it’s now between the Flyers and Canucks for defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.  Both teams’ first round pick plus a player(s) are being offered.  Question is which team will offer more in terms of roster players. Flyers were offering Lupul but that looks like it’s dead.  Will they offer Van Riemsdyk plus the first round pick? That would probably do it, but Panthers will play one offer off the other for as long as they can.

NHL Winter Classic 2010: Bruins vs. Flyers at Fenway Park

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2009 by flyersfan44

09FLY
Tim Panaccio of Comcast SportsNet and The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that the 2010 Winter Classic outdoor game on New Year’s Day will feature the Flyers and Bruins at Fenway Park.  According to Tim, the NHL was ready to go with Bruins vs. Capitals until NBC indicated that it wanted the Flyers due to their superior television ratings.  Supposedly this will be announced on July 15.  There may also be a secondary game featuring Canadian teams, possibly Calgary and Toronto. 

Trade Rumors: The four team deal that was supposedly close looks like it has fallen through, although part of it may still happen.  Other latest rumors have the Flyers interested in Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf, possibly for Scott Hartnell among others (players, picks).

More Flyers Trade Rumors

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 20, 2009 by flyersfan44

Supposedly, the Flyers are close to pulling off a huge deal involving a major player(s) that would clear much cap space.  It could happen as early as tomorrow.  Speculation will be that it involves Danny Briere, who is being shopped but from what I’ve heard, don’t rule out that it could involve Joffrey Lupul, Scott Hartnell, Randy Jones, or even – brace yourselves – Jeff Carter.

Some have debunked the previously posted rumor of a trade sending Briere to L.A. with the Flyers getting the Kings first round pick in this year’s draft.  The question is why would the Kings want Briere and his huge contract. You could ask that question about any team that would entertain the possibility of trading for Briere.  Consider that the rumored trade would also land Dany Heatley in L.A.  Briere and Heatley have played on the same line in international competition with great results.  Considering that, it might be worth it to the Kings to take a chance on Briere.

Other rumors have Briere going to Toronto with the first round pick for defenseman Thomas Kaberle and the Leafs third rounder.  I like Kaberle, but no way I would do that.  There’s also a three-team rumor with Briere going to Florida, the Flyers getting Kaberle and Toronto’s second rounder and the Leafs getting Florida’s Nathan Horton and the Flyers first rounder.

Trade Rumors: Briere is being Shopped; Ottawa’s Heatley to L.A.?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 17, 2009 by flyersfan44

With a couple of weeks until the NHL Entry Draft on June 26-27, the trade rumors should become more plentiful as the draft gets closer.  The Flyers are obviously trying to shed some salary in the hope of signing or acquiring a free-agent defenseman or two.  They are supposedly very interested in Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester (they almost acquired him at the March trade deadline) and Montreal’s Mike Komisarek has also been mentioned as a possibility.  The Flyers signed goalie Ray Emery instead of re-signing Marty Biron, saving about $3 million.  However, to afford someone like Bouwmeester, they’re going to have to dump more salary. 

The obvious cause of much of the Flyers salary cap woes is the heavy contract of center Danny Briere.  At $6.5 million per season, the Flyers just are not getting the value in return. He was injured for most of the season, did nothing in the playoffs, and his small stature makes you wonder if he can hold up physically over the length of his current contract.  The Flyers had talked to Montreal about Briere, but the latest is that they are no longer interested.  It may be tough to trade him since he has a no-trade clause and the huge contract.

They very latest rumblings are intriguing.  Ottawa’s Dany Heatley has requested a trade.  It looks like there may be a three-team or perhaps four-team trade in the works right now (with the Flyers being the fourth team).  In this scenario, Heatley would be traded to Los Angeles for their first round pick (#5 overall) in this year’s draft. The Flyers would trade Briere to Tampa Bay for Vinny Lecavalier and then immediately trade Lecavalier and perhaps a player off their roster  to Ottawa for the Los Angeles pick.  Tampa would immediately trade Briere to L.A. for defenseman Jack Johnson and perhaps a prospect  and would also receive picks from Ottawa.  (Again, this is contingent on Briere agreeing to go to the Kings).

I think it would be a good move for the Flyers to dump Briere and his huge salary for the #5 pick overall.  This would really give them some space under the cap, they’re already loaded with forwards, and they could use the pick for a very good young player.  In the meantime, they would have money to make a good free agent signing or two.  It should be interesting to see if or how this plays out over the next couple of weeks.

Penguins Win Cup

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 13, 2009 by flyersfan44

The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Red Wings 2-1 in game 7 at Detroit to capture the Stanley Cup.  The Penguins, who often like to open games up with offense, demonstrated that defense wins championships by playing an excellent defensive game.  They also got the bounces their way and survived great pressure by the Wings in the third period.  Detroit rang a shot off the crossbar with two minutes left that would have tied the game, and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made a game and perhaps Cup-winning save with one second left, diving across the crease to cover an open net rebound shot.  The Red Wings’ age perhaps was a factor, as several key players were fighting injuries.  Still, give the Penguins credit for resiliency, coming back after losing the first two games of the series. Only the fourth time in NHL history that a team came back from an 0-2 deficit in the Finals, it’s interesting that three of the four occurred against Detroit (this year, 1966 vs. Montreal, and 1942 vs. Toronto).

Red Wings put one off the crossbar with two minutes left.

Red Wings put one off the crossbar with two minutes left.

Fleury dives to stop Niklas Lidstrom with one second left.

Fleury dives to stop Niklas Lidstrom with one second left.

The Penguins celebrate as time expires.

The Penguins celebrate as time expires.

Emery In, Biron Out as Revolving Door of Goalies Continues

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 11, 2009 by flyersfan44
New Flyers goalie Ray Emery with Jeff Carter

New Flyers goalie Ray Emery with Jeff Carter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Flyers announced yesterday their intention to sign free agent goalie Ray Emery to a one year contract on July 1.  Speculated for several weeks, the move means that Marty Biron’s days as a Flyer have come to an end.  Evidently, Biron was seeking more money in contract talks than the Flyers were willing to pay, and will look to sign elsewhere after July 1.  Emery’s signing for $1.5 million per season is a significant savings for the Flyers, as Biron was making $3 million per season as was reportedly asking for a long-term deal worth around $4 million per season.  The Flyers believe that they are getting a goalie of about the same level as Biron for much less money. 

This is a risk for the Flyers because Emery had difficulties in Ottawa, fighting with teammates and being late to practices as well as off-ice incidents.  As a result, the Senators released him during the 2007-08 season and he played last year in Russia.  Although he took the Senators to the Cup finals in 2006-07, his antics became a distraction and not something the Senators wanted to continue to tolerate.  The Flyers are gambling that Emery has put the nonsense behind him and has matured.  Time will tell.  If he has grown up, the Flyers may have made a good deal. His numbers are about the same as Biron’s and his fiery demeanor (if channeled correctly) could light a fire under this laid back Flyers team.  I am sorry to see Biron go, he played well in the playoffs last year and even this season, and I was hoping he would be given another couple years with this team.  Having met him on numerous occasions, he was always approachable and friendly, even in the locker room after a loss.  Hopefully, he’ll find a good situation wherever he ends up (back in Buffalo?).

As for the Flyers, the revolving door of goalies continues.  It’s definitely not easy to find a franchise goalie capable of taking a team to the Stanley Cup. Bernie Parent did it, Pelle Lindbergh probably would have done it had he not died tragically, and Ron Hextall almost did it.  Not since Hextall have the Flyers had a stellar netminder.  They have not had much success in drafting and grooming goalies. Let’s take a look at their recent goalie draft history up to 2005 so as to allow time for goalie development:

Goalie Drafted

Year

Round

Number Overall

Dominic Roussell

1988

3

63

Tommy Soderstrom

1990

11

214

Neil Little

1991

11

226

Yanick Degrace

1991

5

194

Kirk Daubenspeck

1992

7

151

Tripp Tracey

1993

9

218

Johan Hedberg

1994

9

218

Brian Boucher

1995

1

22

Per-Ragnar Bergkvist

1996

5

124

Jean-Marc Pelletier

1997

2

30

Antero Niitymakki

1998

6

168

Cam Ondrik

1998

7

175

Maxime Ouellet

1999

1

22

Roman Cechmanek

2000

6

171

Roman Malek

2001

5

158

Bernd Bruckler

2001

5

150

Dov Grumet-Morris

2002

5

161

Ville Hostikka

2003

6

193

Rejean Beauchemin

2003

6

191

David Tremblay

2003

5

140

Martin Houle

2004

8

232

Jeremy Duchesne

2005

4

119

Recognize many of those names?  In fact, of the 22 goalies the Flyers drafted between 1988 and 2005, only five have had substantial playing time with the Flyers: Antero Niitymakki, Roman Cechmanek, Brian Boucher, Tommy Soderstrom, and Dominic Roussell. None of them emerged as a stellar goaltender and only three – Niitymakki, Boucher, and Johan Hedberg (now with Atlanta) – are still in the NHL.  Now, goal is a position that is difficult to project whether a player will pan out and the Flyers have rarely drafted at the top during those years so nabbing a Fleury with a top pick was not really possible. However, there is a fair amount of frustration with the Flyers’ ongoing difficulty in goal that maybe some real attention to that position, either via the draft or trades, is called for. 

In the meantime, with the money they’re saving with Geiko, I mean, Emery, the Flyers should be able to sign a top defenseman or two (Bouwmeester?) that will provide solid play in their own zone – clearing pucks, moving the puck out, covering in front – that will cut down on shots allowed and perhaps make having a stellar netminder not quite as necessary.  Look at Detroit.