FanPost

Why Something Has To Give With The Defense...

The Flyers have struggled defensively. It's not a secret. Although we have a solid record with the lead after two (19-1-1) but that's in large part to our explosive offense covering for the defense. What has been the problem? Has Bryz played well? No, but it's not all his fault. Lets take a look...

Here are the even strenghth numbers for the Flyers current "Big-4" and surprise rookie Marc-Andre Bourdon:

Situation Results
Player GP TOI CRelQC OZS% Crel G+A1
Coburn 40 17.35 1 52.8 -0.9 0.44
Carle 41 17.23 2 53.3 6.3 0.59
Meszaros 41 15.85 3 50 -3.4 0.83
Bourdon 22 14.1 2 52.4 -1.2 0.39
Timonen 41 13.4 1 54.5 8.4 0.55

As we can see, everyone is playing at the level that is roughly expected. Coburn's CRel is a bit down because he's getting tons of minutes---in addition to his minutes with his regular partner, Kimmo Timonen. He's been dragged down due to only playing 62 % of his time with Kimmo, while Kimmo spends 79% of his time with Coby. Carle is dominating as usual, even though he's top partner is MAB at about 30%. Bourdon's been with Carle for almost 70% of the time, explaining why he's able to keep that CRel around even. Mez plays mostly with Lilja, then with Carle, but he's also played with Marshall and Gus, explaing his "Big-5" worst CRel. However, Mez's .83 G+A1/60 is easily the best on the squad. If we have 5 defenders playing well, what's the issue? Well, similar to the SCF run of 2010, it's been the back end of the blue-line that's hurt us. The trio of Andres Lilja, Erik Gustafsson, and Kevin Marshall's stats are below:

Situation Results
Player GP TOI CRelQC OZS% Crel G+A1
Gustafsson 5 15.6 3 53.7 -2.1 0
Lilja 29 12.04 3 45.3 -14.4 0.34
Marshall 10 8.65 3 61.9 -11 0

Gus was with Carle for 70% of the time, which has a lot ot do with Gus' CRel being the only one close to even. Both Marsh n Lilja are around 65-70% with Mez which makes me realize a few things. 1. Andrej Mezaros is not good enough to carry a poor caliber NHL defender (a la Lilja, Marsh, etc). 2. Andrej Meszaros can dominate with a steady defensive defender (a la early last season with SOD). 3. If none of these three guys can find a rhythm with Mez on the third pair then we need to get someone else. I don't think Gus is what we need in a third pair role, and I don't think he's good enough to go with Carle in the second pairing---I hope I'm wrong. However, if I'm not wrong we will make a move. The SCF was lost due to our third pair, Homer got Mez to avoid having a horrible 3rd pair for years to come, and he won't let us go into the playoffs with freaking Andres Lilja as our 6th defender, I just can't fathom it. So who are the main options?

Tim Gleason: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1013272-nhl-trade-rumors-tim-gleason-to-philadelphia-flyers-looking-more-likely

Ryan Suter: http://phillysportsdaily.com/flyers/2012/01/11/report-flyers-top-priority-is-nashvilles-suter/

Luke Schenn: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/flyers/Could-Luke-Schenn-be-coming-to-Philly.html and http://www.sportsnet.ca/fanfuel/2012/01/11/schenn_price/

Lets take a look at these three guys and one more player in Bryan Allen that I think can really help the Flyers:

Luke Schenn
Even Strength Power Play Penalty Kill
Year
GP TOI (rk) CRelQC OZS% Crel G1+A TOI G+A1 SFON TOI SAON
2011-12 41 14.25(5) 2 44.4 -11.6 0.31 - - - 1.72(4) 46.1(5)
2010-11 82 18(2) 2 49.3 1.5 0.61 1.0(5) - 32.3(3) 2.58(1) 40.3(2)
Ryan Suter
Even Strength Power Play Penalty Kill
Year
GP TOI (rk) CRelQC OZS% Crel G1+A TOI G+A1 SFON TOI SAON
2011-12 42 19.2(1) 1 45.2 6.2 0.29 3.99(1) 1.74 46.5(2) 2.68(1) 46.6(2)
2010-11 70 18.95(1) 1 44.7 8.9 0.5 3.27(2) 1.57 43.5(2) 1.98(4) 39.4(1)
Bryan Allen
Even Strength Power Play Penalty Kill
Year
GP TOI (rk) CRelQC OZS% Crel G1+A TOI G+A1 SFON TOI SAON
2011-12 44 17(1) 1 41.2 -0.6 0.48 - - - 2.59(1) 58
2010-11 82 16.57(3) 1 46.2 -9.5 0.31 - - - 2.64(1) 52.6
Tim Gleason
Even Strength Power Play Penalty Kill
Year
GP TOI (rk) CRelQC OZS% Crel G1+A TOI G+A1 SFON TOI SAON
2011-12
44 15.52(5) 1 43.2 2.4 0.18 - - - 2.5(1) 51.6
2010-11 72 15.65(4) 2 45.3 -6.9 0.43 - - - 2.16(1) 53.2

Luke has been disappointing this season, but last year he beat second line competition and put up better offensive numbers (.61 G+A1) than anyone on the current Flyers other than Mez. He's a first rounder in 2008 (5th overall) and was justs signed to a 5-year 3.6 million dollar deal. Minimum Price: Gus and a first

Suter is the biggest name of the bunch. He plays with Shea Weber in Nashville and is on the last year of his deal paying him 3.5 million per. Because Nashville is a contender, his in-season price is going to be very high. Maybe it comes down after the season, but we'd be getting him at a premium and we'd have to pay him at least 5.5 million after the season. Minimum Price: Gus, First, and Third.

Allen is a name I've heard thrown around on some blogs around the Internet and what not. He's big and physical at 6'4 and is not afraid to drop the gloves. His cap hit is at 2.9 and he's in the last year of the deal. He has a neutral CRel vs. top competition and a 41% OZStart, which is great. I'm thinking the asking price for him couldn't be that much more than a 2nd round pick, maybe a 3rd and Gus. Pair this guy up with Mez and that's easily a 2nd pair on a lot of NHL teams. They would DOMINATE a 3rd pair.

The most common name that's come up is Tim Gleason. 2.4 CRel vs. Top competition and a 43% OZStart. He wont help the PP but hes another strong PK guy. He's a good fit for either Carle (dropping Bourdon to Mez) or Mez and in the least year of a deal paying 2.75 per, he'd make a great rental. His price shouldn't be too much higer than Allens, a second pick and a player or maybe this year second and next years third should get Gleason here.

Lastly, I want to look at the importance of Chris PRonger. In only 13 games this season, his numbers were just outrageous. Top competition, 49% OZS, +9.4 (first of all defenders) CRel. His ES scoring didn't come yet, but his PPG+A1 was 4.75 (Kimmo was second at 1.57), his SFON/60 was 47.5 (Timo/Mez are around 39). On the PK, he leads in TOI and his SAON/60 was 28.8, good for first on the squad (Mez was 32, Kimmo 40.7). Pronger is going to be greatly missed but I want to leave you with three positive thoughts:

1. If Prongs has to retire, we should be able to circumvent the cap somehow, most likely LTIR to re-aquire his cap-space, meaning we will aquire another (at least 2nd pair) defender before the 12-13 season.

2. If he is truly done for this year and the playoffs, there was no evidence in his actual play that he's getting old. 11 points in 13 games was the best PPG for his career. If he returns, he'll be rested and rejouvinated, and he'll be welcomed back with open arms.

3.

On Thursday, Holmgren announced that Pronger will miss the rest of the season and the playoffs because of a concussion.

Asked hypothetically on Friday what would happen if Pronger was feeling better as the playoffs arrived, Holmgren said, "We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I think right now Chris is not an option. If he gets better somewhere over the next month (or) months, we’ll address that when we get there."

That was a Carchidi article written on 12/16. Lets just say that we trade for Tim Gleason. Then come playoff time Prongs is ready to go. Our defense looks like so:

Pronger/Carle, Timo/Coby, Mez, Gleason. Good for the best defense in the league. Hard to even argue... As for the cap issues it would cause: No cap in the playoffs :-)

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

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