Posted tagged ‘Matt Carle’

Flyers Season Starts Tonight

October 2, 2009
New Flyers Goalie - Ray Emery -  Yong Kim / Staff Photographer (Daily News/Inquirer)

New Flyers Goalie - Ray Emery - Yong Kim / Staff Photographer (Daily News/Inquirer)

There is nothing better than the start of hockey season.  The Flyers face off tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes to start their season.  As discussed many times, the Flyers made a flurry of trades and moves designed to bolster their team.  In fact, some major hockey publications are selecting the Flyers as the eventual Stanley Cup champions.  I wouldn’t go that far, yet.  We haven’t seen them play, nor have we seen these Flyers develop an always win mentality.  I hope it pans out, but I think there are many variables.

The goalie situation in Philadelphia has not been stable since Ron Hextall manned the pipes.  This year, the Flyers start the year with Ray Emery and Brian Boucher as their primary goaltenders.  Both of their contracts are salary cap friendly and they both have a lot to prove.  Emery has had a tumultuous past with his former teammates and with the police.  He needs to have a great and behaved year to get his career and life back on track.  Flyers GM Paul Holmgren took a large chance handing the starting job over to Ray Emery.  If it works out – Holmgren is a genius.  If it doesn’t, we can all kiss this season goodbye.  One thing Emery has going for him is the defense.

I don’t think that you can find very many teams in the NHL with a better top four defensemen than the Flyers have.  With the addition of Chris Pronger to Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle and Ryan Parent, the Flyers defense should provide protection in front of the net, skills on the power play and provide some offensive puck movement.  The offense is going to greatly benefit from this backline unit.

With the core of the Flyers, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell coming off career seasons, the sky is the limit.  A healthy Danny Briere added to youngsters James van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux and Darrell Powe.  Simon Gagne, should he remain healthy, will get his standard allotment of points.  Interestingly, the Flyers added proven penalty killers and checkers, Blair Betts and Ian LaPierrere.  These two guys should take a significant burden off of Mike Richards as the lead penalty killer.  Richards then should be able focus on his excellent two way 5 on 5 play and leading the top power-play unit.  Even better, the Flyers are only going to have to dress one of Riley Cote, Aaron Asham or Dan Carcillo.  This will allow the Flyers to have more skilled players on the ice.  

Finally, the Flyers learned their salary lessons from a year-ago.  By putting Randy Jones on waivers and sending him to the Phantoms, they freed up his cap space allowing them to keep the young players on the roster and leave room for an emergency call-up or if they want to make a trade.  Also, it would prevent them from having to pull the Scottie Upshall trade of 2009-2010.

PhilaTude’s take on the Flyers season – they will win games, but I am still concerned about the intensity around this team and their ability to stay out of the penalty box.  If they can reduce the penalties and show a desire to play tough for wins, watch out, because this team has talent.

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Flyers Acquire Chris Pronger

June 29, 2009
Hopefully, Chris Pronger will hoist the Cup in a Flyers sweater.  (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Hopefully, Chris Pronger will hoist the Cup in a Flyers sweater. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The Flyers acquiring Chris Pronger and a minor-leaguer for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa and some draft picks is tremendous.  It gives the Flyers an excellent core of defensemen and provides some salary cap flexibility at the end of this season. 

Ok, I know many people are bitter about giving up Sbisa and the late first round draft picks, but you have to give up something to get something.  Regardless, if the Flyers didn’t get Pronger, Sbisa wouldn’t have been on the roster this year.  Besides, the Flyers still have to resign Parent and Coburn to long-term deals around the same time Sbisa’s contract would expire.  Personally, I’d rather have Coburn and Parent over Sbisa.  Parent and Coburn are made for the NHL, Sbisa will be a fine defensemen, but no better than Randy Jones.

Joffrey Lupul was a disappointment last season and I am still not sure why Holmgren gave Lupul that ridiculous contract extension.  He’s the Ducks’ problem now (or again). 

The Flyers defense will have Timonen play with Parent, Coburn and Pronger and Jones and Carle.  It is great that Carle and Jones will be the 5th and 6th defensemen, because that’s where they belong.  If they can re-sign Andrew Alberts for the league minimum, he will be an excellent 7th defenseman.

Chris Pronger brings a much needed edge to the Flyers defense.  He can kill penalties and keep opposing players from crashing the net.  Ray Emery should be ecstatic to have Pronger in front of his net.  A few downsides to the deal are that Pronger will be a free agent after this season, he is 34 and his presence will just make the referees salivate at calling more penalties on the Flyers.  I think Holmgren will be able to re-sign Pronger, because he will love playing here and I expect Holmgren to make more moves to have the necessary cap space.  At age 34, many defensemen have been effective.  Niklas Lidstrom from the Red Wings is still playing tremendous hockey in his 30’s.  Chris Chelios and Paul Coffey also had great seasons while in their 30’s.  I’m not worrying about Pronger’s age.  And, the issue of the Flyers getting tougher – they know how to play against their opponents and the referees.

I am jacked up for this season.  The Flyers still need to get a face-off winning veteran center, re-sign Knuble and sign a back-up goalie.  No matter what else happens this off-season, the Flyers got one of the best and toughest defensemen in the league.  And by the way – Jay Bouwmeester – overrated.

Other draft news:  The Flyers added two goaltenders and a few skaters.  I don’t really think any of them will have an impact on the Flyers organization in the short-term.  If one of these players develops, they would be considered “draft steals.”

Flyers and the Goalie

May 29, 2009
Marty Biron

Marty Biron

We’ve mentioned a few times, here at PhilaTude, that the Flyers goalie situation never seems to be settled.  Most members of the media, as well as the Flyers front office consistently agree.  In fact, heading into next season, the Flyers don’t have a NHL caliber goalie under contract, nor do they have any semblance of a stable of young goalies in the system to be groomed to play in the NHL.

For a great analysis of the Flyers goaltending history and issues, read Tim Panaccio’s 3-part series at CSNphilly.com.

My take is the following:

1)       It’s time to focus on the future of the position.  Either acquire via trade or free agency a young net minder that can be developed or draft an excellent goaltending prospect.  Both of these options are easier said than done, however, they need to try.

2)       Resign Marty Biron for two more years.  Let him hold down the spot until we can develop a young goalie.

3)       Focus on defense first.  A strong blue line of defenders always makes the goalie better.  In fact, I would be satisfied if only Timonen and Parent returned from last year’s team.  Alberts, Jones, Carle and Coburn can all go.  Trading Carle could net some serious cap space and moving Coburn should net a significant goalie prospect.

4)       Since going with Biron is the best option – make it clear he is the guy to him, the team and especially the public and media.

Of course, no one has to listen to PhilaTude, but we think it would be smart.