The Lesson Not Learned: Flyers Balk on Defense

Ben LivingstonCorrespondent IJuly 11, 2008

Most Flyers fans choose to completely forget the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals. Apparently, Paul Holmgren has as well.

The talk of the town leading up to the free-agency period was which of the top puck-moving, speedy defensemen the Flyers were going to acquire. Brian Campbell and Mike Green were even rumored to be possibilities. Fast forward to today, and you'll notice that pretty much all of the players who could have filled this role have been signed, and the Flyers aren't only over the cap room, but over the cap. They've opted to add depth to their forwards core (despite the fact that they're already overloaded with talent up front) by signing Arron Asham, Glen Metropolit, and Sean Curry. They've also added yet another young, unproven defenseman in Ossi Vaananen, who will join Danny Syvret, Tim Ramholt, and Steve Eminger in the pack of Braydon Coburn wanna-be's the Flyers have added this season. Paul Holmgren is sticking to his guns this off-season, relying on a pack of young, unproven players to produce a star. It worked very well with Braydon Coburn.

But Paul, do you remember those terrible Conference Finals, when you lost your top two defenseman for multiple games due to freak injuries?

Granted, things like that don't happen too often, but what will happen if the Flyers lose Coburn or Timonen (or heaven forbid both) for an extended period of time, then what are they left with? The defensive core, as it stands, is already shaky enough, but an injury could really cause problems. They've used up cap room on players they don't really need

Holmgren, at least from the more rational of the Flyers fans, will receive the benefit of the doubt due to his saint-like work last off-season. Still, it remains to be seen whether Holmgren is really a true genius, and a front-office legend in the making.