Mike Knuble Leaves For Washington; Boucher and Laperriere to Flyers

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IJuly 2, 2009

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 15:  Mike Knuble #22 of the Philadelphia Flyers watches the puck during the game against the New York Rangers on February 15, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Mike Knuble signed a two-year contract with the Washington Capitals worth $2.8 million per season, opting not to resign with the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers wanted him back and he wanted to come back, but the two couldn't reach an agreement. Knuble's camp wanted a mulit-year deal while the Flyers wanted a one-year pact loaded with more-than-achievable incentives.

Neither side budged from their demands, and Knuble hit the free agent market.

The 6'3", 228-pound winger decided to go to the Caps to play with the league's most dangerous player, Alex Ovechkin. Who can blame him there?

According the Tim Panaccio, Knuble could have gone to the Pittsburgh Penguins but decided to go to Washington because didn't want to move his family far.

In Panaccio's article, he says that another CSN Philly associate, John Boruk, said that Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Ottawa were interested as well.

This loss is a tough one for the Flyers, especially the power play. That's another 27 goals off the roster, including 11 power play tallies. With Joffrey Lupul and Knuble away, that's 52 goals off the roster.

It's also obvious that with Knuble gone, the Flyers are going to turn to some kids to fill the offensive void. Look for James van Riemsdyk to get a serious look at rookie camp and training camp, although he's unlikely to make the team.

Look for one of either Jon Kalinski or Andreas Nodl to make the roster. Both showed some things last year for the Flyers in limited time. I really like Kalinski a lot, I hope he makes the team.

Boosh is back in town

Brian Boucher is back in the orange and black, signing a two-year deal worth $1.8 million with the Flyers today.

The 32-year-old goalkeeper was an excellent backup to San Jose Sharks' goalie Evgeni Nabokov and proved that he is more than capable of being a backup.

As a backup last year, Boucher was 12-6-6 with a 2.18 GAA. But he proved that he could be a starter, he posted two shutouts and was a key part to the regular season success for the Sharks.

It will be his third stint with the Flyers; second stint with the big club. He had a sensational rookie season in 1999-2000 in which he posted a 20-8-3 (ties) record with an amazing 1.91 GAA and a .918 SV percentage.

He anchored the team to an Eastern Conference Finals in his rookie season, losing to the New Jersey Devils in seven games.

He has played for Calgary, Chicago, Columbus and Phoenix in addition to San Jose.

Boosh is a fan favorite, and has always been. He has made some of the most remarkable saves that I can remember any Flyers' netminder make. I love seeing him back for sure, plus for $900,000 per season, he's a cheap viable option.

Look for him to compete for the starter's job, although a dark horse. He's going to push Ray Emery for the starting job, and he can help mentor Emery. Remember, Boucher had some emotional problems as a young player and has learned to handle them.

I can't wait to hear "Boooooooooooooooooooooosssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhh!" at the Wachovia Center this year.

Ian Laperrierre signs on for three-years

The Flyers signed free agent right winger Ian Laperrierre to a three-year deal worth $1.16 million per season for a grand total of $3.5 million.

Laperrierre, 35-years-old, will not replace the offense left on the board with Knuble leaving and Joffrey Lupul leaving earlier in the Chris Pronger trade, but he'll bring some much needed things to a Flyers team.

The 6'1", 200-pound winger brings some character and leadership to the team, and hates to lose. He's a sound defensive player, but he can put the puck in the net.

From what I gathered from Avalanche fans, the guy has a lot of heart. He battles in the corner, he can do the dirty work that is missing now that Knuble is in the Nation's Capital—Laperrierre's a fighter.

Just a general observation about the Flyers team last year, they seem content with losing. Laperrierre hates to lose and will not accept it, and that's one of the great things that he and Pronger bring to the team.

They'll let the guys know it when they need to.

He takes a lot of penalty minutes, racking up 163 last year and has 100 or more PIM in 11 of the last 12 seasons.

This is where I come to ask the Avalanche fans, does he take stupid penalties that cost the team the game?


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