It looks like Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren did in fact have something up his sleeve after all.
Fans of the team, and the NHL as a whole, were shocked when the GM shook up the 2010 Eastern Conference champs by trading away their captain and leading goal scorer.
With the signing of Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot, it looks like business as usual for Holmgren. Jagr, especially, puts the Flyers again at the top of the Eastern Conference. They now have another veteran leader to take over for Carter and Richards in the young Flyers clubhouse.
Here are some other reasons why the Flyers are back to being the favorites in the East.
I thought Jaromir Jagr was content playing in Russia. That shows you how much he believes in this “new” Flyers team. Jagr would not return to the US just for some extra cash. He wants to win a Cup.
Jagr, even at 39 years of age, is still far from being washed up. Over his three seasons in Russia, he averaged almost a point a game. Adding Jagr to the roster immediately makes up for some of the lost scoring from losing Jeff Carter.
I have said many times in recent posts that if the Flyers had a more stable goaltender position, that they would have won at least one Cup by now. Now they finally have a true No. 1 goalie, who happens also to be probably top six or seven in the league.
Ilya Bryzgalov is not only a good goalie in the regular season, but also in the postseason as well. Granted, he and the Coyotes got walloped this year, but his numbers still are pretty good and include a Stanley Cup trophy.
When Mike Richards departed last week, it was a shock to many fans. The Flyers just traded away their captain who was signed for the next 10 years. On the surface, it appeared like they lost their leader. But did they?
There have been grumblings that this was Chris Pronger’s team ever since he came to Philly in 2009. Now it will be official. Richards apparently was not the leader that everyone thought. He was soft-spoken in the locker room and did not handle the role professionally.
The only thing that separated Boston from Philadelphia this year was defense and goaltending. Because Chris Pronger was hurt and Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky flip-flopped in net, Boston had the clear advantage in those areas.
There is no doubt in my mind that Ilya Bryzgalov and a healthy Pronger help the Flyers beat Boston in a seven-game series. I won’t even go into detail of a comparison of the two teams' offenses because that should be hands down in favor of Philly.
The Flyers have a good mix of young and veteran talent on their current roster. Their future was bright before the offseason and now it looks even more promising with their acquisitions so far this summer.
James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux made huge strides at becoming All-Stars last season. I only see them getting better and these two are only 22 and 23 years old respectively.