Well... this isn't what was expected. With the loss of Mike Knuble, the Flyers added veteran RW Ian Laperriere for 3 years and $3.5 million, a $1.17 million average. Laperriere is a 17 year vet with over 1,000 games played. He adds depth to the Flyers lineup, as well as veteran leadership and an effective penalty killer. Some quick stats:
|08/09 Regular Season||74||5||12||19||0||163||13:50||2:51||103||69||22||49|
The 6'1" 200 pound winger received a 3-year deal despite being 35 years old. Without seeing Laperriere play, I will base my opinions on the stats. He is a defensive specialist, playing nearly three minutes of short-handed time a game. His 163 penalty minutes are inflated, however, due to 17 majors, 3 misconducts, and 1 game misconduct. He drew 19 minor penalties, one less than Arron Asham and the same as Mike Richards. I am curious what the misconducts are, but in general, he's a disciplined player who drops the gloves. Penalty wise, he had almost identical numbers to Arron Asham, who most people don't see as an undisciplined, lazy player. In terms of hits, he had one less than Scott Hartnell. In terms of blocked shots, he had more than any Flyer forward except Mike Richards. He had exactly as many giveaways as Claude Giroux, and four less than Mike Knuble. He had more takeaways than any Flyer forward except Richards and Jeff Carter, and his turnover differential was almost opposite Joffrey Lupul's (-23). Those are a lot of stats, but mainly he appears to fight like Asham and do the little things as well as anybody we have. He throws his weight around, sacrifices his body constantly, and protects the puck really well.
Most importantly is his penalty killing time. Both Richards and Carter averaged over three minutes of PK time per game. I don't think anyone is under the impression that they can do that and carry the load offensively. Having Laperriere might/could/should take Carter off the PK entirely. Imagine all that can do for our team. Carter averaged 3:03 per game on the PK. Obviously having Carter on the ice for 21 minutes is good for the Flyers, but everyone agrees the team spent too much time killing penalties, and having their best offensive players doing it just compounded the problem. Hopefully, this can allow Richie and Carter to focus more of their energy on scoring.
I will hold out judgment on Laperriere, mainly because I don't think he is Dan Carcillo, Riley Cote, Scott Daniels, or any of those other guys. I think he can be a very important piece on this team. Maybe the Flyers are done after this, but hopefully not. This doesn't solve their face-off problem, which needs to be addressed. The problem with that is the cap space. Manny Malholtra is still available at press time. (Ha!)
After the jump, videos