The Philadelphia Flyers are certainly not out of the playoffs yet, but we should begin to look ahead to the 2011-2012 season.
Regardless of how the Flyers end up doing this season, some changes will have to be made on both sides of the puck and in goal.
At many times during the course of this season, Philly was very inconsistent. The Flyers ended the season going 7-7-6 in their final 20 games. The absence of Chris Pronger and Jeff Carter do not help, but the Flyers have enough talent to compensate for them.
Especially if the Flyers get knocked out early by Boston, serious changes have to be made because this current team that the Flyers have should be a Cup contender. They have the core pieces in place.
These five guys do not fit the puzzle and will be left off the team next season.
Flyers fans love Daniel Carcillo's rough and rugged style of play. However, a lot of times, his toughness can get the better of him as Carcillo takes way too many bad penalties.
He has had a quiet postseason thus far and has not drawn too much attention to him. Carcillo is a third or fourth liner and I do not think he is worth all the trouble and frustration.
Carcillo is a restricted free agent this offseason, meaning that the Flyers can match any offer that another team makes.
Carcillo seems to like playing in a town like Philadelphia, but does Philly want his services in return?
Jody Shelley is in just his first season of a three year, $3.3 million contract. It has not been a very productive one and certainly not one that lives up to his contract.
Shelley recorded only four points this season after playing in just 58 games. I understand that Shelley is not a goal scorer or a playmaker, but your paying this guy for what? The Flyers already have enforcers and tough guys to pick a fight every once in awhile.
You do not need both Carcillo and Shelley on the same line. Another key player who is more dangerous offensively would be a better use of the funds.
Nikolai Zherdev was a gamble and Paul Holmgren knew that coming into this season. Holmgren took a chance on the troubled right winger and signed him to a $2 million contract.
Everything did not pan out as planned and Zherdev has been a moderate disappointment this season. He only scored 16 goals and even worse, only had six assists.
Zherdev never quite fit into the system well as he disappeared at times on the ice. He has a stop and go motor that leaves fans frustrated.
It would surprise me if he is back next season at the same rate.
Andrej Meszaros was acquired last offseason to sure up the Flyers blue line. Meszaros seemed to fit well and gel with his line mates as he had one of the better statistical seasons of his career.
The bad thing about Meszaros is his contract. He is signed until the 2013 and is owed over $10 million over the next two seasons.
Meszaros had some good and great games this year, but I do not think that he was consistent enough to warrant that type of money. I like him as a player, but I think that you could get value for that kind of money.
That being said, it might be a bit hard to trade him with cap concerns.
The Brian Boucher era in Philadelphia may be over once again. If the Flyers need to improve one area this offseason, it is goaltending.
Boucher had a great year, but it still does not cut it. The Flyers need a true No. 1 that can stay in net from day one til the final horn in the playoffs.
Sergei Bobrovsky is the future No. 1 goalie, but I do not know if he is ready yet.
The Flyers have their window of opportunity to win a Stanley Cup NOW and they are not going to do it with an average goalie in net.
A veteran has to be signed and Boucher will be the odd man out.