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Defensive Depth (Update)

By: Matthew Pistacchio

07/29/09

It appears as though Paul Holmgren is continuing to search for depth on the back end. According to reports, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, formerly of the Columbus Blue Jackets, received a physical Saturday at the Flyers practice facility. The 6-foot-2, 211-pound defenseman had and injury plagued season last year participating in only 19 contests. Tollefsen passed his physical but Holmgren is in no rush to add the heavy hitting defenseman .While no signing seems imminent, it is interesting that Holmgren would like to see some competition at training camp come September.

There is little doubt that the top four defensemen will be Pronger, Timonen, Coburn and Carle. Coburn and Carle were paired for most of last year and complimented each other well. Coburn has offensive upside but is more defensively responsible than Carle. Carle’s defensive game needs perfecting but his ability to move the puck up the ice is impressive, not to mention his shot blocking skills. Timonen’s game speaks for itself. He is a tireless work horse on both sides of the puck and gives 110% every night. Timonen may find himself paired with Pronger, who is a hard nose, heavy hitting, and solid all around defenseman. While the top four defensemen should be as listed, the bottom pairing is where Holmgren is looking for depth.
As it stands the number five and six defensemen are Jones and Parent. Parent has definitely shown he can compete at the NHL level. He has had some inconsistencies moving the puck up the ice but possesses firm defensive skill. Jones on the other hand showed inconsistencies on all areas of the ice, after returning from injury last season. Jones had successful hip surgery early this summer and the Flyers are looking for him to return to his 2007-2008 form that saw him chip in 31 points.

Although Jones and Parent are certainly capable of holding on to a roster spot this year, Holmgren seems content on stirring the pot a little bit by adding one more body to the defensive core. Whether it is Tollefsen or another UFA defenseman, I believe Holmgren will only sign a defenseman to a two way contract or a professional training camp tryout.

UPDATE: Flyers sign Tollefsen to a one year 600k contract. Not a one way contract as I thought it might be. Likely means that Jones is on the block.

Give me your opinion

m.pistacchio@hotmail.com

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