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Homer & Flyers Additions

By: Matthew Pistacchio

07/13/09


Have the Flyers addressed their weaknesses going in to the 2009-2010 season?
The answer is YES. The club has struggled to find stability on the blue line for years. Paul Holmgren deserves praise for his salvaging of the whole team, but particularly the defense.

Since Holmgren has been GM he has brought in Timonen, Carle, Pronger, Coburn and Parent. If we look at the top 6 defensemen going into 2009-2010 season, none of them were drafted by the Flyers (Although, Randy Jones was signed as a free agent in 2003). There is no doubt that the Forsberg trade set the Flyers up for a quick turn around after a disastrous 2006-2007 season. From that trade the Flyers were able to acquire Hartnell, Parent and Timonen, all of whom have had significant impact for the Flyers. Holmgren also brought in Lupul, and traded away Umberger for Sbisa, which landed the Flyers Pronger. Homer sent Eminger and the troubled Downie to Tampa Bay for Carle, who is a solid puck moving defensemen. The trade that Holmgren deserves most credit for was the Coburn deal. Atlanta swapped Coburn for Zhitnik a deal that showed the general manager savvy Holmgren possesses.

The offense going into the 2009-2010 season will have a different look. The Flyers have lost Knuble and Lupul and have added only Laperriere. Obviously Lappy won’t be relied on to replace the 50+ goals that were lost. The loss of Lupul and Knuble will need to be replaced by a more mature Giroux and a healthy Briere. While the Laperriere signing may seem strange at first given his style of play and age, keep in mind the team lost a lot of character when Knuble took the commute to Washington. Laperriere is a defensively responsible forward who hates to lose. Hopefully his character will rub off on other players and make the Flyers a tougher more focused team to play against. We all remember the last game of the season against the Rangers that saw the Flyers lose home ice advantage in the playoffs. Did that look like a focused, playoff ready team to you?

The knock on the Flyers since the day Ron Hextall retired has been the lack of consistent goaltending. Marty Biron spent two full up and down seasons with the Flyers recording 30 and 29 win seasons. While his regular season play was inconsistent, Marty’s playoff play was above and beyond his regular season play. I find it unfair for anybody to blame Biron for this season’s early exit.

The Flyers got a jump start on free agency by luring Ray Emery to Philadelphia to be their number one goalie. Now the question is, can Ray Emery be more consistent than Biron? It remains to be seen. We have seen two sides to Ray Emery. The hungry determined Emery who led the Senators to the Stanley cup finals, and the disgruntled unfocused Emery involved in many off ice incidents. If Emery can focus on hockey he has the ability to be a solid number one goalie in the NHL. His 1.86 GAA and .926 save percentage from the KHL certainly leads me to believe he has the talent, but I'm not worried about his talent, it’s his state of mind that concerns me. Hopefully Razor has perfected his game in Russia, but only time will tell. The addition of Boucher gives the Flyers a solid backup capable of winning games.

To sum up the Flyers summer additions, the future was mortgaged in order to acquire Pronger. However his desire to retire a Flyer is encouraging and I believe that if Pronger delivers the Cup to Philly, the future won’t matter so much.

Give me your opinion.

m.pistacchio@hotmail.com

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