For The Flyers: Priority No. 1 Isn't The Goalie, It's Knuble

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IMarch 30, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - FEBRUARY 27:  Mike Knuble #22 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Montreal Canadiens on February 27, 2009 at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Habs defeated the Flyers 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

There's no question the Flyers will be in the hunt for a bona fide No. 1 goaltender this July, Tim Thomas anyone?

They need a surefire No. 1 goalie and that'll likely be the top priority.

However, it should not be.

In my eyes, the top priority is to resign the ageless Mike Knuble.

So you ask, you'd rather have Knuble than a No. 1 goalie?

My response would be: Without a doubt.

He isn't the flashiest of players, he's not an all-star, he's not a big name player and he's not young. So why would I think that such a player is more important to a team's success than a goalie, am I just plain out crazy?

Maybe I am, but Knuble is an important piece to the puzzle for Philadelphia, a piece I would hate see removed.

All the 35-year-old has done is score 20 goals or more in six straight seasons and produce huge powerplay goals.

In four years with the Flyers, Knuble has scored 48 powerplay goals.

Those 48 goals are 42 percent of his total goals in the orange and the black.

Knuble is the typical power forward, one of the best in the league. He is the old-time power forward, the John LeClair kind or the Eric Lindros brand.

Very rarely do you see him lose a puck battle or see him get outworked in the crease battling for a loose puck. He's one of the best rebound scorers in the league because he knows what to do.

The Flyers do have a similar player in the means of Scott Hartnell, but even Hartnell can't compare to the skills that Knuble has at his game. Hartnell may be a better talent but Knuble does the dirty work and doesn't often get praised for it.

He plays in all situations, an important feature of an all-world player, and does it well.  He's a decent penalty-killer and is the No. 2 reason why the Flyers have a very good powerplay.

Would I love to add a goalie like Nikolai Khabibulin or a Timmy Thomas? Sure, but to the expense of Knuble, I'll pass. I can deal with Marty Biron for another year, especially since he stands on his head when it matters most.

Knuble turns 36 on July 4 and what a present it would be to him and the fans of the Flyers to present him with a shiny new contract.