4 Offseason Moves That Are Currently Haunting the Philadelphia Flyers
This past offseason the Philadelphia Flyers, like many NHL teams, were faced with difficult decisions regarding the direction of their club. Now some of those decisions are coming back to haunt the Flyers.
After only 14 games, Philadelphia has lost its identity and is scrambling to find it. Injuries have been a large contributor to the sluggish start, but roster depth may be the main issue—specifically in a 48 game season.
GM Paul Holmgren may be calling around the league for offers, but in an extremely thin trade market the Flyers may find it difficult to execute a move.
Here are four offseason moves that are currently haunting the struggling Flyers.
Trading JVR to Toronto for Luke Schenn
This trade is the very definition of the term "catch 22."
The Flyers needed depth at defense and luckily they were stacked with talented, expendable forwards.
Last season, rumors swirled regarding Luke Schenn coming to Philly. Then during the offseason an official trade was confirmed—James Van Reimsdyk for Luke Schenn straight up.
Philadelphia now had a legit, young defenseman to replace Chris Pronger, despite mixed reviews of the transaction from the critics. The trade looked great on paper.
After 14 games into the new season, the Flyers lost forward Scott Hartnell to injury and rank 22nd in goals per game. It also does not help that captain Claude Giroux is in an offensive slump with more penalty minutes than points.
Meanwhile, JVR has been a scoring machine with eight goals on the season and leading Toronto to fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Now Schenn has contributed for the Flyers—leading the league in hits—being paired with Kimmo Timonen on the club's first line, but it's the team's offense that has been struggling.
The Flyers are happy to have Schenn on defense, but JVR's offensive dominance is sorely missed.
Losing Jagr to Dallas
Now that Jaromir Jagr's no longer a Flyer, it's apparent how important he was to the team.
The soon-to-be 41-year-old veteran is proving he still has some fuel in the tank, as he is currently averaging more than 18 minutes of ice time per game and still producing offensively. The Flyers decided to let him walk in the offseason, as Jagr signed with the Dallas Stars for a one-year deal worth $4.55 million (via ESPN).
At the time, Flyers' GM Paul Holmgren was making bids for Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, ignoring the aging veteran and eventually losing him.
Jagr's one-year stint was extremely valuable to the Flyers, especially for the youngsters. Claude Giroux benefited from his leadership, experience and passion for the sport, making G a much better hockey player.
The Flyers' captain could use that experience right now.
Jagr was also equally as impressive on the power play, as he has been for so many seasons. His awareness on the ice and impeccable passing skills made him a serious threat during the one-man advantage. The Flyers currently rank 18th on the power play due to inconsistent efforts on special teams.
The lack of goal scoring, play making and special team's execution—all of which are Jagr's attributes—are missing from Philadelphia's play.
Losing Matt Carle to Tampa Bay
Another player the Flyers lost this past offseason was defenseman Matt Carle.
Needless to say, this was a huge blow for the team.
Less than 12 hours after being outbid by the Wild, the Tampa Bay Lightning would lure Carle to sign with them. Philadelphia was left empty-handed.
Carle may not have been a fan favorite, but he was the right fit for coach Laviolette and the Flyers' system. Similar to Kimmo Timonen, who the Flyers wasted no time shelling out money and signing an extension this season—learning from their mistake with Carle.
Yet the Flyers should never have been in the position to make such a lucrative offer to Timonen, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
And the Flyers are desperate.
Losing out on Shea Weber
After failing to sign Ryan Suter and Matt Carle, the Flyers made a run at one of the best defenseman in the league—Shea Weber.
According to ESPN, Philadelphia signed Weber to an offer sheet with a deal for approximately $110 million over 14 seasons. It appeared the club's prayers were answered.
The three-time All-Star was highly regarded as one of, if not, the most versatile defenders in the league and would be an immediate upgrade for the Flyers.
Then it happened—again.
A week later the Nashville Predators matched the Flyers' offer sheet and re-signed their star and face of the franchise, stating they had every intention of matching any offer to keep Weber in Nashville.
Three huge swings and misses this offseason in attempting to add a highly-skilled defenseman to the roster. Now with injuries to Andrej Meszaros, the Flyers have shuffled defenders all season—trying to cope with a depleted unit.
Weber has played in 13 games for the Predators, while only managing one point of offense. Yet the Flyers would have benefited plenty from his 26-plus minutes of ice time per game and incredible ability to shutdown the opposition.