Now that the Flyers season is over, I will take a look at what I think the Flyers should do.
Throughout the 2008-09 season, the Flyers lack consistency. They lacked the physical presence in front of the net. They lack leadership in the room. They lacked a reliable faceoff guy. They lacked consistency in goal.
Lets tackle the leadership portion of the team. A hot topic after the Flyers were knocked out of the playoffs has been whether Mike Richards is a good captain or not.
Richards is and should be the captain, there's not a question in my mind that says otherwise. Not only is he a great leader, he's the best player by far on the Philadelphia Flyers.
Several media personalities have been questioning his leadership following the Flyers' exit from the playoffs. Richards isn't a very talkative player to the media and for that reason, I think factors into those personalities opinions.
He turned 24 during the season and it was his first year as the captain so he is a work in progress, however he was touted as a captain and he was named it before the season.
Richards plays both sides of the puck, kills penalties, scores goals, creates plays, plays physical and is one tough cookie. For most of the season with tears in both shoulders.
How many captains do you know that would play with tears in each shoulder for most of the season? I can name at least one guy that would not and he plays in the same state as the Flyers.
Not only did he play with shoulder tears, he played his hardest every game. He didn't shy away of a big hit even though it would hurt him just as much as the guy taking the hit. Anyone remember his hit on Tom Poti?
Would it help to have a veteran in the locker room that would kick butt? Yes and that's where the Flyers missed defenseman Derien Hatcher the most.
I think Paul Holmgren miscalculated how important players like Hatcher and Jason Smith were to the team. Hatcher missed the season because of his knee—he did play on no knees in the playoffs last year—and Jason Smith signed with the Ottawa Senators.
Those two guys were physical defenseman would would stand you up or sit you down depending on which way you want to look at it and they were the boss in the room.
Hatcher and Smith took nothing from the team. If they played bad, they let them know it. If they were playing good and thinking it was too easy, they let them know it.
That's something Richards isn't known for, at least, the public doesn't know of it. Who really knows what goes on behind closed doors?
Richards will only grow as the captain and he's the captain because he deserves it.
Here is what I think the Flyers should do this offseason (no particular order):
Protecting the fort: Mike Komisarek anyone? Komisarek is an unrestricted free agent once Jul. 1 rolls around. He describes exactly what the Flyers need, a physical defenseman who can protect the net.
Komisarek would be a great addition to the Flyers at the right price. Steve Montador would be another guy that I would like to see come to the Flyers. He would be cheaper and would have a smaller role, but he would be a nice addition.
Middle man: The Flyers were horrible in the circle this year, and you could make an argument that's one of the biggest reasons that they were eliminated. There is one guy on the market that would be a perfect fit for the Flyers for several reasons.
John Madden. Not only would he be the go-to faceoff guy, he would also be one of the penalty killers that would make this team's penalty killing even better. He would be a guy that I would target.
But he's not the only guy on the market. Bobby Holik, Mike Sillinger (assuming he could stay healthy), Manny Malhotra and Michael Zigomanis among others.
Trade for Jean-Sebastien Giguere: Martin Biron isn't the answer in my opinion. There is no one on the market that is better than Biron, so if the Flyers can't acquire a goalie via trade, then I would welcome another deal with Biron.
First things first, I would calling Anaheim the second they are eliminated from the playoffs and start talking. With Jonas Hiller emerging as the No. 1 goalie in Anaheim, Giguere would be available.
He has a no-trade clause but who wouldn't waive it after you were benched. Giguere didn't have the best of seasons, but I think he's still more than capable of being a No. 1 goalie.
He had a 3.10 GAA and won one more than he lost, but he is still better than Biron. There aren't many options via trade so finding that goalie will be hard. What are the options? Kari Lehtonen or Giguere?
Chemistry: Trading Scottie Upshall did a lot more than Holmgren expected both on the ice and in the locker room. Upshall was a well liked guy in the room and the Flyers missed his energy that he brought each night to the ice.
I would look for someone that could lighten up the room a little bit and bring that energy. Hey, Upshall's a restricted free agent.
GET JAY BOUWMEESTER: It will be hard to do because of the salary cap, but the Flyers need to get 6'4", 214-pound Jay Bouwmeester. The Flyers love him and I expect to hear there name when it comes to Bouwmeester.
But when reality kicks in, Bouwmeester will more than likely be in Edmonton next year or any other location other than Philly.
See what Gagne and Briere can get you: I'm not saying that I would trade Simon Gagne or Danny Briere, however I would explore the market. If the Canadiens cam calling for one of the two with Jaroslav Halak and the rights to Komisarek, I would seriously consider it.
These two guys are proven commodities in the league, and with the offensive depth of the Flyers, one of them could be had at the right price in my opinion.
Of course, they would have to accept the trade.
Resign Knuble, and quick: He's 37 but it doesn't matter. Mike Knuble is an important part of the Flyers. He is the biggest key of the powerplay up front and he does the dirty work in front of the net. Sign him for a year or two and then let James van Riemsdyk grow as a pro.
Draft a goalie high: Its that simple, no need to explain.
That's what I think they should do this offseason. I don't expect them to bring in the guys I mention per-say, but they should. Of course, the cap comes into play, but hey, let them do the math.