Archive for July, 2009

Flyers Interested in Petr Sykora?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 31, 2009 by flyersfan44

It’s pretty clear that the Flyers are thin on the wing at this point; they need to add another forward who has some scoring ability. Pittsburgh has not yet re-signed Petr Sykora, who had 25 goals in 76 games last season. The latest talk has the Flyers interested in signing him, but they would need to dump some salary first. This leads to rumors that Randy Jones and either Dan Carcillo or Riley Cote may be traded to Los Angeles. Fueling this speculation was the Flyers’ recent signing of former Columbus defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen. This may allow for them to trade Jones and his big contract, although Tollefsen has often been injured and played only 25 games last season. For that matter so has Sykora, who missed most of the playoffs last season with injuries. The Flyers may have to take a chance on him because they do need some additional scoring up front.

Flyers Sign Finnish Forward Mika Pyorala

Posted in Uncategorized on July 14, 2009 by flyersfan44
Mika Pyorala shoots on USA goalie Robert Esche in the 2009 IIHF World Championships.

Mika Pyorala shoots on USA goalie Robert Esche in the 2009 IIHF World Championships.

It is being reported that the Flyers have signed Finnish forward Mika Pyorala. I don’t know much about him other than he’s 28 years of age, 5’11” 169 lbs and has played on Finland’s national team. His stats can be found here:

I’m sure there will be more information in the coming days.

Flyers Jersey News?

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

When the Flyers introduced their retro orange third jerseys last November, I mentioned to Chairman Ed Snider in casual conversation that the fans love the orange jersey so much and that it is so much the “real” Flyers look that the team should make it their primary home jersey. His response was “we’ll use it alot”. Now there’s nothing official, but word is that the Flyers will in fact use the orange jersey as the home jersey this coming season with the black one becoming the secondary jersey. Also, some conversation has the team going to the same retro design for their road white jerseys, possibly for first-time use in the outdoor game at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day. Stay tuned.

Pronger Signed to Seven-Year Deal; Hartnell To Be Traded?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 8, 2009 by flyersfan44

The Flyers announced that they have signed newly acquired defenseman Chris Pronger to a seven year contract extension, to begin when his current contract expires after the coming season. It was a little surprising that a 35-year old received a seven year deal, but Pronger indicated that he wants to play for a good number more seasons. The deal is front-loaded – $7 million in the first two years winding down to around $500,000 the last two seasons. It’s good that the Flyers won’t lose Pronger after just one season, but hopefully he’ll stay healthy. Otherwise, the Flyers may have gotten themselves into a situation similar to what they experienced with an aging and injured Derian Hatcher on the roster.

Trade rumors persist regarding winger Scott Hartnell. The Los Angeles Kings are very interested in him and they would like to acquire another winger. Hartnell would have to waive his no-trade clause; he may do so to go to L.A. as he would be near his bud, Joffrey Lupul, who was traded to Anaheim. Lupul and Hartnell lived in the same condo in the Old City section of Philadelphia. If you think about it, although Hartnell is extremely popular in Philly and had a career season in terms of scoring, trading him could fit into the remaking of the team that we are seeing with the acquisition of serious-minded, defensive players who take losing very seriously: Pronger, Ian Laperrierre, and Ray Emery. Hartnell is sometimes an undisciplined player who takes bad penalties. Kings’ defenseman Jack Johnson’s name continues to surface in rumors as well. The Flyers would love to have him. Imagine a top four of Pronger, Timonen, Coburn, and Johnson. Also, consider that Hartnell’s style of play is in the mold of Kings’ Assistant GM and former Flyer goalie Ron Hextall. But I think the Flyers would need a winger as part of the deal; they couldn’t afford to give up Hartnell without getting some scoring in return as thin as they are on the wing.

Finally, The Flyers may be looking at signing Devils’ Brendan Shanahan to a one-year contract. They need another winger, he would fit into the new defensive re-make, and he could be had inexpensively. He wouldn’t be scoring much, however.

Anyone Have a Right Wing, Cheap?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 3, 2009 by flyersfan44

Looking at the Flyers roster as it stands now, it is really apparent that they really need to sign a right wing.  Overloaded with centers, there’s no one outside of Gagne and Hartnell who can finish.  The Flyers have a bunch of tough, scrappy wingers with little scoring capability.  There’s always a possibility of shifting a center to wing but that doesn’t always work out. (Briere on the wing, for example, was not a great success when it was tried in the past).  If van Riemsdyk doesn’t make the team (and let’s face it he’s a long shot even though he’ll get a long look) and they dump Cote as I have been advocating since last year, the forward situation looks like this:

Asham, Briere, Carcillo, Carter, Gagne, Giroux, Hartnell, Laperriere, Nodl, Powe, Richards, Ross

I see less balance there than we have become accustomed to.  With free agency winding down, the Flyers better make a move quickly to sign someone with the couple million they have left under the salary cap.  Some suggestions who, as of now, are still available with last season’s numbers (age; games played – goals – assists – points):

Ales Kotalik, RW (Edmonton) – 31; 75-20-23-43

Alex Tanguay, LW (Montreal) – 35; 50-16-25-41

Miroslav Satan, RW (Pittsburgh) – 35; 65-17-19-36

Manny Malhotra, C (Columbus) – 29; 77-11-24-35

Maxim Afinogenov, RW (Buffalo) – 30; 48-6-14-20

Knuble Embraces Capitalism; Flyers Sign Boucher and Laperriere

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 1, 2009 by flyersfan44

Right wing Mike Knuble signed a two year deal with Washington for $5.6 million, rejecting a lower offer from the Flyers.  Knuble will be missed for his presence in front of the net on the power play, his consistent goal scoring and his maturity in the dressing room.  Now with Lupul traded and the loss of Knuble, the Flyers are down about 50 goals per season.  After losing Knuble, the Flyers signed veteran right wing Ian Laperriere from Colorado for three years/$3.5 million.  A good defensive forward with a proclivity to fight, Laperriere generally scores only about ten goals per season.  A higher scoring forward would have been nice; now the Flyers have four low-scoring fighters when you include Riley Cote, Aaron Asham, and Dan Carcillo.  This signing will allow at least one of them to be dumped, preferably Cote who scored zero goals last season and who loses about half his fights.  Flyers fans are grumpy about this as they were expecting a higher scoring forward to be signed.  The Flyers are evidently gambling that Briere will return to form and that Claude Giroux will have a really good season to replace the goals they lost.  Laperriere (and Chris Pronger) will help keep the shots against down, which absolutely has to happen, and he hates to lose. That’s a good thing – this team is too nonchalant about losing and now they’ve added three players (Emery, Pronger, and Laperriere) who will get in people’s faces when the effort isn’t there. (Hear that Jeff Carter?). This might actually all work out, but if it doesn’t and there’s early losses, things will get ugly at Broad and Pattison. 

Unhappy with test results on Niitymaki’s hips, the Flyers signed former Flyer goalie Brian Boucher from the San Jose Sharks for a pretty good price (two years/$1.8 million).  This is a decent signing – Boucher is a better goalie than he was when he was here before. He had a solid season in San Jose as Nabokov’s back -up, with a 2.18 GAA and .917 save percentage in 22 games.  New Jersey’s Scott Clemmensen signed with Florida for $1.2 million per season. The Flyers probably could have gotten him for that and he may be a better goalie than Boucher, but the cap-conscious Flyers opted for the less expensive goalie. 

Defensive forward Ian Laperriere will join the Flyers

Defensive forward Ian Laperriere will join the Flyers

Brian Boucher returns to Philadelphia

Brian Boucher returns to Philadelphia

Free Agency Starts Today; Heatley to Edmonton?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 1, 2009 by flyersfan44

The NHL’s free agency period begins today and it will be interesting to see who signs where and for how much.  The Flyers and their rivals will be of special interest to Philadelphia fans and the Flyers have some decisions to make quickly.  First, they would like to re-sign right wing Mike Knuble. Although 37 years of age, he has been a pretty consistent player for the Flyers and has been solid on the power play. With Joffrey Lupul’s trade to Anaheim, it becomes even more crucial that the Flyers ink Knuble.  They also have to consider whether they will re-sign defenseman Andrew Alberts and goalie Antero Niittymaki.  Ideally, they would also sign a centerman who is good at face-offs.  The problem is that they are still right up against the salary cap with only $4.2 million to spend. 

There are several possibilities with the goalie situation.  They could re-sign Niittymaki if they can do it for under $1.5 million – this is all they have marked to spend on the back up goalie.  If Niitymaki wants more than that or if the Flyers decide to go in a different direction, there are three experienced goalies that the Flyers would be interested in – New Jersey’s Scott Clemmensen, Florida’s Craig Anderson, and San Jose’s Brian Boucher (a former Flyer).  Each of the three could probably be had for under $1.5 million.  Clemmensen was great in filling in for Martin Brodeur when he was injured this past season.  Another possibility is that the Flyers could go with rookie Jonas Backlund for less than a million.  That would save money but it may be wise to have a proven NHL-calibre goalie as a back up in case Ray Emery does not pan out as hoped. 

If the Flyers don’t re-sign Knuble or another winger, look for them to try to fill holes with players in their system like Andreas Nodl and James van Riemsdyk.  The Flyers really want JVR to make the team this coming season and will give him a very long look especially if they haven’t signed another forward. 

As for the face-off center, Mike Sillinger of the Islanders and Mike Comrie of Ottawa could be possibilities, but they may not come as cheaply as the Flyers need.  It will be interesting to see how they Flyers try to squeeze their needs under the cap, if they are able to do so. 

The Senators and Oilers have agreed to a trade with Dany Heatley going to Edmonton for forwards Andrew Cogliano and Dustin Penner and defenseman Ladislav Smid.  Heatley must approve this deal because of his no-trade clause.  Supposedly Heatley was due a $4 million payment of front-loaded salary at 12:01 am July 1, but this may be able to be deferred until midnight on July 1.  So, if this deal is going to happen, if would likely be today. I would think the Sens would want to deal him before the payment had to be made.  Other talk has Heatley nixing this deal, so that saga continues.