We took a couple of losses during this offseason. To start, Richie, Carter, and Versteeg got traded. We won 2/3 for sure and the other one is a maybe. We'll see who won the Versteeg trade when he plays in Florida and it also depends on who we draft with the picks sent to us in the deal (a 2nd rounder in 2012 or 2013 and a 3rd rounder in 2012). The Richie trade netted us Los Angeles' 2nd round pick this year, along with Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn. Schenn is considered by many as the best prospect not in the NHL. Simmonds will bring to the table what the Flyers needed all year. A gritty, 3rd line winger who isn't afraid to mix it up along the boards and also contribute offensively. Carter, who went to Columbus, netted us last year's 8th overall pick, last year's 68th overall pick, and Jakub Voracek. The two picks turned out to be Sean Couturier (8th) and Nick Cousins (68th). While Cousins is considered a "wait and see" type of prospect, Couturier has an outside shot to crackthe Flyers opening night roster. However, many experts agree that Sean needs to fill out his frame and work on his skating stride. Jakub Voracek will mostly replace Leino on Danny Briere's line. We all saw what Briere did for Leino. Let's see if he can work the same magic with Jakub.
Also, Zherdev and Leino walked to free agency. Leino went on to receive a ludicrous 6 year, 27 million dollar deal with the Buffalo Sabres. Let's all remember that the man is a 27 year-old player with only one 50-point season. All signs are pointing to Zherdev not resigning in the NHL, let alone here. Let's be honest here, would you want to come back to a team run by a coach who only played you in 56 games when you had one of the highest points-per-60 on the team?
We did win a few battles this offseason. The players and picks acquired in the trades were all a plus. Also, we won the Jaromir Jagr "sweepstakes". We stole right out from under Pittsburgh's nose! The news was announced late July 1st, and he shocked the hockey world. He decided to not come back and play for his longtime teammate and friend, Mario Lemieux. He decided to not come back and write a bookend on his legacy with the Penguins. Instead, he decided to come play for the Flyers. A sin punishable by death in western Pennsylvania. Paul Holmgren didn't stop there. He went and acquired Maxime Talbot from the Free Agent pool. The same Maxime Talbot who won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009. He's going to fit nicely into a 3rd/4th line role here as that seems to be our most glaring weakness. However, neither of those deals was the big one. The deal that got the most publicity from the media was us signing goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9-year, 51 million dollar deal. Wefinally got our number one goalie! The Flyers' most glaring weakness for nearly three decades! Nothing else really needs to be said about him. He practically carried the Phoenix Coyotes to the Playoffs the last two years. Imagine what he can do with a defense consisting of five top-4 guys. Speaking of our defense, we also signed defenseman Andreas Lilja. He'll be a serviceable #6, and even if he falters, we have Erik Gustafsson waiting in the wings.
So let's analyze this: Richie: 23g 43a 66p
Carts: 36g 30a 66p
Leino: 19g 34a 53p
Zherdev: 16g 6a 22p
Versteeg (Post Trade): 7g 4a 11p
Sean O'Donnell: 1g 17a 18p
Combined: 102g 134a 236p
Flyers: 256g (39.8%) 427a (31.3%) 683p (34.5%)
Simmonds: 14g 16a 30p
Voracek: 14g 32a 46p
Jagr (equivalency): 26g 41a 67p
Schenn (equivalency): 12g 18a 30p
Talbot: 8g 13a 21p
Lilja: 1g 6a 7p
Combined: 75g 126a 201p
Flyers: 256g(29.2%) 427a (29.5%) 683p (29.4%)
Differences: G(-10.6%) A(-1.8%) P(-5.1%)
Boosh and Bob Combined Save %: .915
Bryz and Bob Combined Save %: .918
Flyers SA: 2429
Flyers GA: 206
Flyers New GA (w/ same shots): 199
(All stats based off of last year's numbers)
The Flyers' offense has taken a major hit. While Jame vanRiemsdyk may be poised for a breakout year, he will not make up for the ten percent of goals lost. This team is going to need to gel fast if they want to have a chance for Cup contention. Bryzgalov can only stop so many pucks, and the Flyers' have also taken a hit on defense with one of the best two-way forwards in the game out of the equation (looking at you, Richie).
So, where do we sit? I'd say 6-8 seed playoff contender to absolutely bombing this season. However, there is a bright future ahead...