The Philadelphia Flyers have had a very interesting start to their off-season this year, and it’s raised a lot of eyebrows on whether it has actually made the team better or worse.
First, they deal star center Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Jakub Voracek, a first round pick (Sean Couturier), and a third round pick (Nick Cousins). This deal was thought to be made due to the salary of newly acquired goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. The Flyers acquired the rights to Bryzgalov and knew they would have to deal to some cash out if they wanted to sign Bryzgalov to the contract he was asking for. Obviously, many thought this was a cash move only.
How wrong we were, as it proved to be one of two deals that Flyers GM Paul Holmgren made that day. The second one was just a big, if not bigger than the first deal.
Next, the Flyers traded away all-star center, and captain, Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forwards Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, and a 2nd round pick in 2012. This deal really shocked the hockey world.
Eugene Markman, who writes for our Flyers site, Broad Street Buzz, had his opinion on the deals.
“I completely hate the trades. If I could not change a single thing from last years team and keep them exactly the same, I would.“
Strong words from Eugene, who is obviously upset with the moves. I asked him about having Briere and Giroux as their top two centers and if they could carry the load for the Flyers this year, and he had this to say.
“They don’t have any other choice, and there’s nobody else that can possibly step up.“
So with Eugene fairly upset with the deals, made by Philly to start the off-season, I figured I’d get his opinion on a few other things as well, like the signing of former Penguins superstar, Jaromir Jagr.
“At first, I wasn’t too sure. But I was okay with it since it wasn’t a ton of money and was only for a year.“
Personally, I can’t wait for the first Pens/Flyers game at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Boy is Jagr going to have the boo’s reign down on him. Not to mention, Max Talbot will also be in orange and black as well. So I asked Eugene, what do you think the atmosphere will be like between the Pens/Flyers in the first game? Do you think any extra fireworks will occur due to Jagr and Talbot being in Philadelphia.
His thought process fit quite well along with mine in this situation;
“It is always a hostile atmosphere, so it won’t change much. Jagr will definitely get booed in Pittsburgh every time he touches the puck. Max Talbot too, maybe? I’m not sure.“
Well Eugene, I think Talbot will hear the boo’s as well.
So after getting these answers from Mr. Markman, I had one more question to ask him, with Couturier, Schenn, Simmonds, Bryzgalov, Voracek, and Jagr all joining, do you feel this club is stronger this year than the last two seasons?
He fires back, “Right now, I think the team is much weaker. Players need time to come together. Last year we developed a problem with motivation. The team started so good that they got complacent. I loved the club of last year, and I don’t think we’re even close to how good that group was. If this team will go far, it will be a completely different style of play. Less skill, more toughness.“
Now obviously the Flyers have dealt away Kris Versteeg to the Florida Panthers, but I don’t see that having a ton of affect on Philly’s roster as Versteeg was injured and wasn’t a big contributor much since he was acquired last season.
Now they’ve also dealt Darroll Powe to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a draft pick. Powe is a good penalty killer and I see them potentially missing a guy like him this up coming season, if they can’t sign another penalty killing role player like Powe.
I personally believe that the Flyers have become a lot weaker up front, but their defense and now all-star caliber goaltending will keep them right up in the pack in the east and could help push them further in the post season, and maybe to that ever so elusive, Stanley Cup.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter, @RandallRitchey for some hockey chatter and TMMOTS updates.
Tags: Brayden Schenn Columbus Blue Jackets Darroll Powe Florida Panthers Ilya Bryzgalov Jakub Voracek Jaromir Jagr Jeff Carter Kris Versteeg Los Angeles Kings Maxim Talbot Mike Richards Minnesota Wild Nick Cousins Paul Holmgren Philadelphia Flyers Sean Couturier Wayne Simmonds