Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren has been a busy man over the last week and a half. The face of the Flyers has changed and two of the teams top forwards will now find new homes in Columbus and Los Angeles. As it was two hard phone calls for a GM to make, in the 'New NHL' you have to realize it is a business and personal emotions need to be checked at the front door. Carter and Richards were both signed long term for a combined 11 Million dollars a season. Here is a look at some new faces and how they will impact the Flyers in 2011/12.
Inking Bryzgalov has obviously been in the works for a while. The only obstacle in the signing was how could the Flyers ever afford to sign him to a 9 year deal paying him aprox. 5.6 Million / season when up against the "Cap Wall." Alot of weight is now on his shoulder this season and for many years to come. Can he be the #1 goalie that the Flyers have been waiting for since Hex? My prediction is yes he is worth it and I think the Flyers are amongst the top 5 defensive teams in the league and if healthy can help Bryzy deal with the pressures and high hopes ahead of him.
- Shuttys - 7 (Flyers had none last season)
Brayden Schenn was drafted by the LA Kings fifth overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.This pick up alone helped start me getting over the loss of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Brayden Schenn had 18 points in 7 games with team Canada at the World Juniors and in my mind is the best player not currently in the NHL. His brother Luke played D here in Kelowna for the Rockets and Brayden had a successful 3 years on the Brandon Wheat Kings and final year playing for the Saskatoon Blades. Schenn will never replace Richards physically but i am predicting more points out of him once he adjusts to the NHL.Having said that I don't think it will take him long to start racking up points!
Simmonds is a 22 year old right winger and has made an impact as a league known tough guy. The thing I like most about Simmonds is his physical play and the fact he is not afraid to drop the gloves to stick up for himself or his team mates. I project 48 points and 80 + PIM's. He a solid 3rd or 4th liner with room to climb the minute ladder if he can use his size, speed and his hands. He is a big body to plant in front of the net and also effective on the PK unit. Growing up in Scarborough, Ontario has helped to form him into being the aggressive winger that he is today. I think he will become a fan favourite as his game is very similar to that of Hartsy.
Jakub Voráček was taken 1st overall in the CHL entry draft back in 2006. He reached over 100 points in 2007/8 with the Halifax Mooseheads. He was then drafted 7th overall by Columbus in the 2007 Draft just behind Pat Kane and JVR his possible new line mate? He is an exciting player to watch and is not quite as physical as Simmonds can still hold his own and may surprise some with his offensive ability. I would compare him to a younger Zherdev with more potential. The Flyers were looking to make the team younger, bigger, faster and stronger. I think we did a good job all around heading into the 2011 NHL Entry Draft!
Paul Holmgren and his accomplices should be charged with THEFT! Couturier by definition means "a person involved in the clothing fashion industry who makes original garments to order for private clients." In this case he is an utter STEAL for the Flyers. He was ranked in the top 4 on every scouting chart. He will help to add more size and depth at that Center position. He had back to back 96 point seasons with Drummondville in the 'Q' despite playing 9 fewer games in 2010/11. The most notable stat was he finished +155 in his 3 seasons there. At 6 foot 4 and 195 lbs his game is compared to both Eric and Jordan Staal, having the size, reach, finess and also known as a two way player. He may or may not be NHL ready quite yet and could use to gain 20-25 lbs?
In conclusion I think that Paul Holmgren and the Flyers have made some excellent business decisions recently and have really gone with a new younger look but still locking up the majority of veteran blue liners. The question is who will be on the roster in October and what moves does homer still have up his sleve. The remaining Free Agents are;
Best of Luck to Ex. Captain Mike Richards and 40 goal scorer Jeff Carter after 6 great years on the team! They both played with hart and they will be missed here but make there new teams better..
There are quite a few leaders left in the Flyers locker room but the question now is..... Will Chris Pronger wear the 'C' next season? Hands down, if you ask me, but I must say it could arguably be Briere or Timonen as well but Chris has been there and done that and is the key leader on this Hockey Team!
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