Yesterday, it was announced that the Philadelphia Flyers have signed defencemen Ole-Kristian Tollefsen to a one year contract for the upcoming 08-09 season. Tollefson is your typical stay at home defender who plays very physical and is very responsible in his own zone. I personally considered it imperative that the Flyers add someone like Tollefsen during this offseason.
When asked how he felt about playing in Philadelphia, Ole responded with...
“I feel great. I am really excited to be coming to Philadelphia. I have always been a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers and what they are all about,” said Tollefsen. “They play a gritty style of hockey and that is typical of me. I’m an energy guy. I bring a lot of energy every night, and I am very dependable in my own zone, making the simple plays and sticking up for my teammates.” (flyers.nhl.com)
It has already been said that Tollefsen will be apart of the Flyers defensive scheme for the upcoming season, and not as a member of the Phantoms. Of the little hockey I have seen Tollefsen play, I know that he is a great hitter, and not at all a bad defencemen. A more mobile Derian Hatcher, if you will.
But where does this leave the Flyers defence now for the upcoming season? Counting Tollefsen, the Flyers now have seven guys ready to play. Rumors have been circulating for the past week and a half our so that the Flyers are looking to add to their offence with one of three guys, Miroslav Satan, Petr Sykora, or Todd Bertuzzi.
Personally, I think its a two horse race between Sykora and Bertuzzi. Adding Big Bert would definitely add an element of size upfront lost with Mike Knuble. However, adding Sykora gives another option for playmakers like Briere, Richards, and Giroux should other snipers like Gagne or Carter be injured. Sykora could come cheap after a down season in Pittsburgh, and is absolutely deadly on the powerplay. While Satan in my mind can still pot 25-30 goals, I dont see him as a good fit in Philadelphia.
But something has to give. The Flyers are right up against the cap and need to make a move if they want to sign one of these guys. When I heard of Tollefsens signing, I knew immediatley one of two things was going to happen.
Either Randy Jones will be traded, or Matt Carle will.
Many Flyers fans believe Randy Jones is overpaid for what he brings to the table. However, Matt Carle's contract isnt exactly cheap either. Dumping either one, a long with Dan Carcillo, will surely give the Flyers enough space to sign one of Bertuzzi or Sykora to a cheap, one year deal.
I personally feel if Randy Jones is overpaid, its only by about 500,000-750,000 dollars. He is actually a very good skater and one of our better puck movers. He had a couple injuries last season that prevented him from really putting up any offensive numbers, but Jones is actually not bad in his own zone. However, he cant hit the broad side of a barn-yard. Jones can still be a 40 point defencemen when healthy though.
Matt Carle, on the other hand, is probably overpaid by about a million dollars. Carle is more offensivley talented then Jones, but not as good a defender as him. It is the opinion of many, however, that Matt Carle has yet to really reach his full potential. After a career year in 06-07 with the Sharks, Carle struggled in 07-08 and was traded to Tampa Bay. After being in Tampa Bay for only 12 games, he was sent to Philadelphia. So three teams in a time frame of about seven months is kind of rough. I think keeping Matt Carle would be the better choice in the long run.
So although I hate to say it, Mr. Jones has got to go. I personally like Randy Jones a lot, I think he's very under-rated. But with Timonen and Pronger locked up long term and Coburn looking for a raise next summer, something had to give soon anyway. Besides, should Pronger or Timonen go down, Id rather have Carle left to pick up the offensive slack from the blue-line then Randy, who again, cannot hit the net to save his life.
I have no doubt GM Paul Holmgren can find a way to move Jones. Rumors were flying earlier this week that Jones and Carcillo would be packaged to LA for possibly a draft pick and a defensive prospect. After losing Tom Preissing and Kyle Quincey in the Ryan Smyth deal, LA could use Jones on their blue-line.
I think its incredibley important Paul Holmgren gets a defencemen back in the deal. The Flyers have very little defensive depth behind their (current) top seven after trading Luca Sbisa to Anaheim in the Pronger deal. Danny Syvret could still be signed, but he is a RFA who elected not to go to salary arbitration. I personally would feel much better trading Jones and signing Sykora or Bertuzzi after we find some number 7 and 8 guys should the injury bug hit our blue-line.
In the end, I see possibly two things happening. Either Holmgren will trade Jones, find defensive depth, and sign either Petr Sykora or Todd Bertuzzi, or he will keep Jones and go with Tollefsen as a number 7 d-man, filling the bottom 6 forwards from within the organization.
If I'm Holmgren, I'd consider the latter idea. If were in search of a scorer for our third line who could possibly help out on the powerplay, I'd consider newly signed European scorer Mika Pyrola. Flyers fans, if you have yet to see this fella play, I'd head on over to you-tube. The contract we signed him too is a steal for what he brings to the table. Doesnt have the size that Mike Knuble has, but he will go to the net and do whatever it takes to score a goal. Has lots of skill and a good shot. I already love him.
If Holmgren can pull off adding either Bert or Sykora, our team is definitely in store for a long cup run. Bert fits the Flyers mold perfectly, and you can almost never go wrong adding a guy with the talent level of Petr Sykora.
Thats all for now.
Oh, and am I the only one stoke at being able to chant "Oleeeeeeeeee Ole Ole Oleeeeeeeeee" when Toleffson hits someone, or dare I say, score a goal?
Until next time!