I'm just looking to get some input from the rest of the folks here. As the offseason has officially started for the Flyers (Emery deal), I wanted to throw out some suggestions and some criticism.
First off, I've read a lot of posts around the web at various sites and it seems that many feel the Flyers would be better suited bringing in more talented players (which ideally is a great idea, don't get me wrong but in a cap economy can you afford to cut the cap space) without addressing the real problem, WE NEED VETERANS. Watching the playoffs should have been the greatest indication of were the Flyers were truly lacking. Last year we countered teams with grizzly vets who understood the beating of the playoffs in Jason Smith and Derian Hatcher, the most under-appreciated player in the history of the Bullies in Sami Kappenan (a do-it-all sort of indispensable glue guy) and Mr. Faceoff himself Jimmy Dowd (who also was a wonderful cheater in the corners but, more on that later). This year we had no such depth, our third and fourth lines were devoid of this kind of character, whereas a team such as the Penguins lined up Billy Guerin (has certainly lost a step but not his hands) Rusty Fedetenko, Miroslav Satan and Petr Sykora, among others. The lack of depth veterans killed the Flyers because around the playoffs these guys give the jump and the knowledge to the frontline playmakers, little of that was there.
As far as moves I'd like to see for the orange and black, it's obvious that two are likely not to happen. J-Bo is not coming here, not only are his contract demands going to try to break the bank, I truly believe he has his heart set at going home to Edmonton. Second, no matter how hard we try (and reportedly we are) Danny Briere is not going anywhere. He'll be our huge contract to deal with for the foreseeable future, his heart and age are a disadvantage to any team we look to trade him to. Now could a possible move of a Joffery Lupul or even a Jeff Carter (he's been up before and his stock may never get higher) happen, highly unlikely but anything is possible. While Carter looks to have established himself as a premier goal scorer (next year will really cement his status), Lupul is the GM's dream, a player who oozes potential and if made in their system would make that GM look like a genius. His value is probably going to only net a 2 or 3rd pairing d-man, so one really has to scouring the market and see if there exists a true upgrade to a 25 year old 25+ goal scorer.
I never really put much into the draft from a fans perspective as the players are usually never available immediately, so I'll just look at the breakdown of the team. The goaltending situation is still a mystery, even with the Emery signing there has been murmurs about a trade for an established goalie (though none of the sites mentioned who). I'm not sold completely that he is the answer but for now he looks to be all we have.
The defense is an interesting unit, as everyone certainly knows the ability of Kimmo but with guys due to mature even more, we may not be in need of a J-Bo type d-man. Braydon Coburn progressed nicely with his play in the d-zone but his lac k of offensive production left much to be desired, look for much more while he transitions into the true top pairing defenseman we need next to Kimmo. Matt Carle took his lumps early and often but started to cut down a great deal on his mental mistakes in the defensive zone, specifically his passes on the boards and by the end of the season and through our playoff disappointment was arguably our best defenseman. Randy Jones gets the raw end of the deal around here, with a hip injury most of his mobility was taken away, and while that is not to say he is the next coming of Nicky Lidstrom, his can be a competent 4th or 5th d-man (the '08 playoffs). Parent took his lumps often as he returned after his injury and never seemed to get it started. He made a ton of mental mistakes later in the season (a reason for a good, solid veteran d-man) Luca Sbisa will probably compete for a position that Alberts vacates but the move I'd love to see would be the orange and black going interdivsion and stealing away Scuderi from the Pens. I was crushed last year not to have us at least attempt to sign Orpik (the best d-man in the Cup and a top in the league) but Scuderi would seem to be able to give a more reasonable cap hit (although agents are nuts). Overall, the defense is in a growing position with many younger guys trying to gel together and as my theme has been get a vet or two and let them help the kids out.
The offense had a great year last year but it showed it's youth in the second season. Lost puck battles? Check. Took dumb penalties? Check. Lost way too many faceoffs? Check. All the more reason good veterans need to populate the 3rd and 4th lines of the team. Guys like Jimmy Dowd, who could clutch and grab so bad in many a jurisdiction it's considered assault. Mikal Sammuelson, Johhny Madden (Richards on the top line and Madden on the fourth, could you imagine) Mike York, guys who can do the grind and help the team prosper. I'll throw my one favorite of all the to be free agents, Juri Hudler, to me a Kapenan clone and very possible a free agent to be (if Hossa signs he's almost automatically squeezed out). Now, I'm not saying only these guys, far from it, I'd just like to see a guys who can boost the system with talent and experience, not Dan Carcillo and Riley Cote to populate the fourth line. Any comments and critiques are welcome.