The Philadelphia Flyers Look To Bring a New Edge Into There Game

lyndon juden-kelly@@paradigmshif3rContributor IJune 15, 2009

OTTAWA, CANADA - FEBRUARY 19:  Anton Volchenkov #24 and goaltender Ray Emery #1 of the Ottawa Senators defend the net against Daniel Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers during their NHL game on February 19, 2008 at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Senators defeated the Flyers 3-2 in shootout overtime. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

As the seconds ticked away on the second of consecutive playoff series defeats at the hands of Sydney Crosby and his Pittsburgh Penguins, major holes in the Flyers lineup were exposed. The need for help was evident, especially on the back end where the Flyers got overwhelmed by the speed of the 2008-09 Stanley Cup champions. 

However, at this point in the offseason, there is reason for optimism. It's not even July 1 and Flyers GM Paul Holmgren has already solidified the situation in between the pipes by signing Ray Emery.

Emery's antics in the past are well-documented. I live in Ottawa, so I have heard all about his "alarm clock" antics and habitual fighting with teammates (and that's not even to mention his poor driving ability).

But I'll tell you—this guy can stop the puck. 

During the 2006-07 campaign, while Philly was experiencing their worst season in franchise history, Ottawa, backstopped by Emery, marched all the way to the Cup Final only to be thumped by the Ducks in five. But unlike the Flyers, he's actually been there in the last ten years.

And then there's Emery's passion and pride for the game. He screwed up, and he'll be the first to admit it, but now he has been given a second chance.

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Down the stretch, Philly lacked that competitiveness and accountability on a nightly basis. For most of the season, the Atlantic Division was up for grabs, but Philly let the opportunity slide away as it came crunch time—they even lost home ice.

Hopefully Emery adds something positive to the competitive spirit of the Philadelphia Flyers proud franchise in that respect 

Of course, The Flyers are still looking for a second NHL goaltender.

That answer could very well come from inside the Flyers' system depending on just how well Emery does. The more confident the club is in his ability, the more likely they will back him up from within the organization.

On the other hand, the team may shop around if Emery has problems with consistency—both in performance and/or behaviour.

The goal-tending situation may get a lot of attention due to its importance, and rightfully so.  But I am a firm believer that defence wins championships, and the Flyers key acquisition over the summer might come on the blue line.

Given the fact that Philly saved cap space on a starting goaltender, they should find themselves financially poised enough to be in the market for guys like Jay Bouwmeester and Mike Komisarek.

In the Danny Heatley-to-Philadelphia talks, there are two modes of thought.

The first and most likely is that Heatley isn't coming to Philly and there are no serious talks at this point in time. The second and more creative is the possibility of making cap space for heatley's $30 million in the next four years while providing some service to Ottawa in the process.

I look at it this way: GM Paul Holmgren signed free agent Danny Briere to a long-term contract on Martin Biron's suggestion.

But now that the team is moving in a new direction with Emery, why doesn't Paul ship Briere and Biron to Ottawa for Heatley? That way, Emery has more than just Jeff Carter as a friend on the team. Biron is part of the Flyers organization until July 1, so they could trade his rights to Ottawa.

Briere will earn just over $7 million a year for the next four to a grand total of $29 million, and Biron is likely gone July 1.  Ottawa isn't out of the realm of possibilities for destinations on Biron's list as a free agent anyway.

While a trade like this may sound crazy, Heatley may have asked to be traded, but he didn't waive his no trade clause. So he likely won't end up on Long Island for John Tavares, or in Tampa Bay for Lecavalier.

Acquiring a goalie and a proven scorer for a frustrated Heatley might be killing two birds with one stone from Ottawa GM Brian Murray's perspective too.

The future looks very promising for Philadelphia at this point, however the moves that GM Paul Holmgren makes in this off-season will inevitably act as the catalyst for success or will be the makings of an early tee time come season's end.