Grading the Philadelphia Flyers' Top Offseason Acquisitions
During the offseason, general manager Paul Holmgren made three major additions to help improve the team. He added defenseman Mark Streit in a trade with the New York Islanders, signed former Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier and acquired goalie Ray Emery who spent last year with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Flyers are struggling as a team 15 games into the new season, but how are Holmgren's three new acquisitions looking?
Here we will give a grade to each of these three new Flyers and assess the strengths and weaknesses of their game so far. Their grade will be based on their overall performance this season only, with more recent games counting a bit more than early-season contests.
Feel free to comment on these grades but as always, indicate why you feel the way you do.
Vincent Lecavalier has been the closest thing the Flyers have had to a consistent offensive weapon this season.
Although he has missed four games due to injury, Lecavalier leads the Flyers with five goals and is tied for the club lead with seven points.
The highlight for the former Lightning star was a hat trick he managed on Long Island in a 5-2 win over the Islanders. It was by far the best offensive game the team has played, and Lecavalier was the catalyst.
Forward Claude Giroux, who has spent time on a line with Lecavalier at times this season, told Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com, "He's a guy with a lot of character, and he never gives up."
Lecavalier also showed some leadership by dropping the gloves and squaring off in the ugly brawl against the Capitals last week.
Like most members of the struggling Flyers, Lecavalier's plus/minus rating is ugly. After 11 games, Lecavalier is a minus-seven.
Consistency is also an issue for Lecavalier. Three of his five goals came in one game. That means in the other 10 games, he has scored only twice.
Right now, the Philadelphia offense is terrible, but Lecavalier is the best of the lot.
Mark Streit was added to help the power play and provide more offensive punch from the blue line.
Thus far, the former Islanders' captain has struggled to adjust to the Flyers. In 15 games, Streit has no goals, four assists and a minus-nine rating.
Coach Craig Berube moved Streit to the top power-play unit in late October in an attempt to generate some offense, but that hasn't resulted in much of a change in the club's poor power-play production.
The good news is that three of Streit's four assists have come with the man-advantage. The bad news is that two of his four helpers came in one game (the 5-2 win on Long Island) and that he has just two assists in the last 13 contests.
Streit may not be the cause of the Flyers' offensive struggles this season, but he hasn't been part of the solution, either. He needs to pick up his game if the Flyers attack is to become more consistent productive, and he needs to do it soon.
Mention the name Ray Emery to most casual hockey fans right now and they'll probably mention his recent pummeling of an unwilling Braden Holtby in last week's line brawl against Washington. In the net, however, the results have been mixed.
Emery is clearly the backup to Steve Mason right now. Through Philadelphia's first 15 games, Emery has played in five and started only four. His record is 1-3-0 with a 3.25 GAA and a save percentage of .879. His one win was a shutout in which he made 14 saves in a 1-0 win over the New Jersey Devils.
The good news is that Emery's play has improved recently. He has given up only two goals in his last two starts, although the Flyers' lack of offense means he went just 1-1-0 in those games. Both of them were against the Devils, a team struggling to score nearly as much as the Flyers are right now.
The recent improvement is a plus, and as much as Emery was justifiably criticized for forcing Holtby to fight, he was trying to inspire his failing teammates.
Emery fits in well in the locker room and increasingly appears ready when called upon to start. Don't be surprised to see him get the call more often in the coming weeks.
Grade: B- as a backup goalie