When training camp opens up in September, the Philadelphia Flyers will have a whole new look to their team. So far, nine new players were don the Orange and Black and I am sure there are more to come with how this offseason is going.
All this work is the doing of GM Paul Holmgren. He was the guy with the guts to pull off one of the biggest trades in franchise history. He was the guy who signed a 31-year-old goaltender to a nine-year contract. He was the guy who signed Jaromir Jagr for over $3 million when he has not even played in the NHL for the past three years.
A ton of questions surround what could be a make-or-break year for Holmgren. A Stanley Cup makes him look like a genius. Anything but could cost him his job.
Now this is thinking a bit more down the road, but with Ilya Bryzgalov's new contract, he will still be in a Flyers uniform at age 40. Hopefully that turns out to be a good thing.
The Flyers finally got a No. 1 goaltender that they have been searching for since the turn of the century, but did they overpay when they could have gotten another veteran for much cheaper?
I personally loved the Bryzgalov signing, but will I be saying that three or four years from now?
What Flyers fan didn't love Ville the kid?
It was a shame to see a guy of that caliber walk out on the Flyers. He walked because the Flyers were not willing to pay him the money he deserved (which turned out to be only $4 million).
Yet, Paul Holmgren had no trouble giving Jaromir Jagr $3 million. Jagr is still a good player and will help the team this year, but Leino was a perfect fit for this club.
They had the money to sign him.
Sergei Bobrovsky was supposed to be the goalie of the future for the Flyers. Now, after the Ilya Bryzgalov signing, Bob is in limbo.
Bob showed promise as a rookie and was up for the Rookie of the Year award. Now he will most likely be relegated to a backup role where he will maybe see action in 20 or 30 games a season.
Holmgren has to be careful with how he handles this situation. A backup goaltender is critical to a lot of team's success.
Gone are the heroics of Mike Richards. Gone are the wicked wristers from outside the circle from Jeff Carter.
The Flyers are going to have quite a new look to their roster come opening night. Youngsters like Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk will be asked to step up into leadership roles. New coming prospects like Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds will be called upon to fill the box score.
Richards and Carter both played the style of hockey that Philadelphians love and the style that the Flyers are known for. Is it too much too soon when the Flyers were already on the brink of a Cup?
All the trades and signings from this offseason has been to put the Flyers in a better position for the future.
It seems that Paul Holmgren has spent a lot of time addressing the future needs of the franchise. However, what about the present? Sure the Flyers might have a bright future ahead of them, but what about this current team?
They were Eastern Conference champs in 2010 and were second in the league with 106 points last season.
We better not be looking back on this team four or five years from now and be saying, "coulda, shoulda, woulda."