Winners and Losers of the Philadelphia Flyers' Offseason
The Philadelphia Flyers have made only three significant moves this offseason, all of them free-agent signings, but their impacts are severe. Winners and losers are bound to emerge from such impactful acquisitions.
Signing Vincent Lecavalier, Mark Streit and Ray Emery gives Philadelphia three talented veterans at three different positions.
Heading into the heart of summer, it looks like all three signings, as well as some potential moves that were not made, have their own little ripple effects around the roster.
Some players will be boosted by the moves made this offseason, while the newcomers' presence may take away from others' stocks.
Granted, there could still be some trades in the works, but things have been quiet for some time now and it would be pretty shocking if a major deal was made.
Here's a look at the winners and losers from the Philadelphia Flyers' offseason up to this point.
Loser: Danny Briere
Danny Briere became a victim of his own big contract when he was bought out by the Flyers. The 35-year-old was a fixture in the locker room and generally beloved by fans.
He put up some solid numbers during his time in orange and black, especially in the playoffs, and was used sometimes as an alternate captain.
Although he isn't playing in Philadelphia anymore, he is keeping his family in the area, and I'm sure he would have loved to finish his career there.
Winner: Vincent Lecavalier
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It really just seemed like it was finally time for Vincent Lecavalier to depart Tampa Bay, and he lands on a talented team in a great hockey market in Philadelphia.
After playing in Tampa Bay for his entire 14-year career, even though he had some very successful years there, he has to be excited to play in a city with a great hockey tradition and passionate fans.
Loser: Steve Mason
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Steve Mason came to Philadelphia at the end of this past season and became a slight beacon of hope in an otherwise gloomy season.
His 1.90 GAA and .944 save percentage made him the clear favorite to be the starter in Philadelphia next season, especially once Ilya Bryzgalov was bought out.
But then the Flyers inked Ray Emery to a one-year deal almost identical to Mason's, and suddenly it looks like Mason will most likely be part of a relatively even tandem in Philadelphia.
Winner: Kimmo Timonen
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Kimmo Timonen has had to carry Philadelphia's blue line for most of the past two seasons since Chris Pronger went down.
Timonen is the most underrated defenseman in the league, and I would still argue him as a top-10 blueliner now, but at 38 years old, he just can't pull as much weight as he used to.
There has been lots of trade talk surrounding Flyers defensemen, particularly Braydon Coburn, but the Flyers have (so far) kept the unit together while adding Mark Streit.
The addition of Streit, retention of Coburn and emergence of Luke Schenn and Erik Gustafsson will help ease the load on Timonen's shoulders in what will likely be his last NHL season.
Loser: Scott Laughton
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Scott Laughton, the Flyers' first-round pick in the 2012 draft, was likely hoping to crack the opening-day roster and become a mainstay with the big club.
He still has a shot at making the team, but with the signing of fellow center Vincent Lecavalier, that chance has decreased drastically.
Lecavalier's signing means someone is going to move to the wing, which is likely where Laughton would have played, and he would have been capable of bouncing around between center and the wing.
But now, he would likely get stuck mostly on the fourth line, and it would probably be more beneficial for his growth to get big minutes in the OHL for Oshawa than play on the bottom line in the NHL.
Winner: Peter Laviolette
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Well, first and foremost, Peter Laviolette is a winner for keeping his job, which had to be at least a little bit in jeopardy after such a disappointing 2013 campaign for his club.
But now Laviolette has the benefit of Lecavalier and Streit, who both bolster their respective offensive and defensive corps. Specifically, Streit provides leadership and depth to a unit that was severely depleted last year.
Laviolette also comes back with all of his best young forwards from last year while no longer having to deal with the mega distraction that is Ilya Bryzgalov.
Loser: Andrej Meszaros
In all fairness, Andrej Meszaros' inability to stay healthy really harmed him more than anything that could have happened with the team this offseason.
In just a little over a year, Meszaros has had back surgery, tore his Achilles, which caused him to start the season late, and suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out for six weeks during the season.
He came back again but then re-injured the shoulder and ended up needing season-ending surgery. His health is now a major question mark, and on a now-crowded Flyers' blue line, Meszaros could fall into obscurity quickly.