The series with the Devils certainly shocked every Flyers' fan. After a domination of the Penguins, many thought that New Jersey would just be a slight bump in the road. Not true. The Devils shut-down the Flyers completely and stunned everyone in Philly.
So heading into the off-season, certain things will need to be addressed. Lets take a look at what the Flyers' off-season could look like.
The Flyers will need to look at a number-one defenseman for next season. Although the return of Captian Chris Pronger is still possible, it is very unlikely. Assuming he doesn't return, the Flyers will gain an additional 5 million in cap-space because he will likely go on LTIR. This would give the Flyers an estimated 13 million in cap-space, assuming it goes up to the projected 69 million.
The Flyers would have to commit at least 6 million to a Shea Weber or a Ryan Suter. Either one of these two would sure up the Flyers back-end. The aging Kimmo Timonen cannot play what he used to, and Brayden Coburn is not a number one defenseman capable of logging 25+ minutes in the playoffs. Nicklas Grossmann and Andrej Meszaros add some quality depth, and Andreas Lilja and Erik Gustaffson are solid 6 and 7 defensemen respectively. Matt Carle should walk, as the Flyers cannot afford to pay him his asking price (probably 4+ per year) for what he brings.
If they Flyers could snatch Weber or Suter out of Nashville, they would be solid on the back-end. Lets say they were able to grab Weber, the Flyers would have a projected top-seven as Mesz-Weber, Coburn-Grossmann, Gus-Timonen as Lilja as the spare. Not too bad if you ask me.
But grabbing Weber would cost the Flyers not only money, but personnel too. I believe that James van Riemsdyk has become extremely expandable. This is not a bash on JVR, but the emergence of other players has made him less valuable. Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell have grabbed the role of the "muscle" on the top-two lines, while Jakub Voracek, Eric Wellwood and Matt Read have become solid top-nine contributors, along with Max Talbot and Sean Couturier adding in depth scoring. JVR's big cap-hit of 4+ million is also unattractive at thus point. So should the Flyers need to move someone, I believe JVR is the odd man out. But if they could snatch Weber or Suter in free-agency, I would love to have Reemer back.
Ilya Bryzgalov had an up-and-down season to say the least, but played solid in the playoffs. He cannot be blamed for the Devils series. Sergei Bobrovsky has one year-left on his entry level deal, and I believe we should hang on to him for as long as possible. The only way I'd see Bob moved is if we needed to add a piece to a trade or if we ran into cap troubles and elected to go for a cheaper back-up.
Let me know what you think