I have heard much talk about how Philadelphia is taking on a bunch of heavy hitting goons. I think Holmgren is simply protecting his assets. I am not too sure I would consider these guys goons as much as I would say they are upholding an order of protection.
Daniel Carcillo and Riley Cote led the Flyers with 22 fights each last year. Aaron Asham had 17 and now we throw Ian Laperriere in the mix with 17 fighting majors. You can always count on Scott Hartnell and Mike Richards to stand up for their teammates.
On top of this mix they pick up Ole-Kristian Tollefsen who, when present, has scary defensive presence. Let’s not forget Pronger.
Having guys who can step up to protect their team and produce fear in the opponent is not a bad thing. Just ask Maxime Talbot. By dropping gloves with Carcillo on April 25th, he saved the game and the series and we all know how he finished the season.
The Flyers had no problem producing points last year, but they did have trouble stopping the puck. There are several assets on the team which need to be protected. Building a stronger defense is what the doctor ordered.
Holmgren has made very few moves that made sense until the end. We are talking about a man who made aggressive moves to go from worst to the Eastern Conference Finals in one year. Don’t be surprised if you see a few more big changes before dropping the puck in October. Just remember at the end of the day that is what Holmgren gets paid for.