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Flyers do nothing at deadline, sort of

Posted by Chris Shafer On March - 3 - 2010

It took a week or so for the Flyers to get used to a new kind of coaching under Laviolette, but the team seems to have sparked due his energetic system.

It’s easy to go and blame contract clauses and shortage of usable assets for the Flyers’ lack of movement on trade deadline day. While everyone wanted a shiny new toy to throw into the locker room, no team really got anything special in one of the slowest Trade Deadline Holidays in recent memory.

Not much happened among the competitors today and yesterday other than Pittsburgh getting a serviceable winger and Washington getting a decent defenseman for some minor assets.

The biggest change in the Eastern Conference is likely the Devils getting Kovalchuk, which happened even before the Olympics. We all know how the Flyers handled that situation.

It takes a special kind of person to see that changes need to be made to a roster to have the best shot at winning in the postseason, but sometimes it takes a calmer hand to realize that giving up too much may not be in the best interest of the team. It takes a real man to claim he’s willing to stand pat.

Holmgren stood pat, and all we can do now is wait for the rest of the season to play out.

After a dominating third period against the Tampa Bay Lightning last night, you kind of had the feeling that there wasn’t much that needed to be changed on this team.

Obviously with Emery done for the season, you would like a starting goalie with a little more pedigree, but last night was Leighton’s fifth straight game giving up only two goals. The defense seems comfortable with him. He isn’t great, he has some flaws, and he certainly has the ability to make quite a few people nervous, but it is what it is. I’m not saying you should feel completely comfortable with Leighton, but our offense and defense are world class.

I’m not saying that we’re the favorites, but really, those teams that you may think have the best shot at the Cup have their own problems to deal with as well.

You want to know what Laviolette’s system and a world class team has turned Leighton into? Here you go:

Goals Against Average

  • Tuukka Rask (BOS) – 2.15 GAA
  • Ryan Miller (BUF) – 2.16 GAA
  • Mike Leighton (PHI) – 2.18 GAA / Miikka Kiprusoff (CGY) – 2.18 GAA
  • Antti Niemi (CHI) – 2.26 GAA
  • Jimmy Howard (DET) – 2.28 GAA

Save Percentage

  • Thomas Vokoun (FLA) – 0.931 SV%
  • Mike Leighton (PHI) – 0.930 SV% / Ryan Miller (BUF) – 0.930 SV%
  • Jimmy Howard (DET) – 0.927 SV% / Evgeny Nabokov (SJS) – 0.927 SV%
  • Tuukka Rask (BOS) – 0.926 SV%
  • Miikka Kiprusoff (CGY) – 0.925 SV%

Leighton has 13-3-1 record in 19 games played and is not only tied for second with Ryan “USA’s Hero” Miller in save percentage at 0.930 but is also tied for third in GAA at 2.18. In 77 games played over his career before his return to Philadelphia this season, Leighton has 18 total wins with a 3.63 GAA and a 0.878 SV%.

I’d say that Laviolette’s system and our elite team is a major part of that, and though I’m not completely confident in Leighton, there is a lot to work with when your team can turn a guy like him to a legitimate goaltender.

You also have to look at what other teams wanted in return for a goalie. Montreal asked for Carter for Jaroslav Halak. It’s also likely they asked for one of Giroux or vanRiemsdyk for Carey Price. For Thomas Vokoun, Florida wanted Carter as well.

That wasn’t about to happen.

Our deadline moves were simple. Ryan Parent is now healthy and will help out a lot. Lukas Krajicek was claimed off waivers to add even more depth. Because of that, our defense is arguably the best in the entire NHL. We did all of this without sacrificing any forward strength. Hell, we even gained a former Calder Trophy favorite for rookie of the year from Detroit for almost nothing in Ville Leino. If one of our forwards goes out, we have a competent replacement waiting in the wings.

In the end, the hiring of Peter Laviolette may be the best trade deadline move we could have done.

We also signed a couple of prospects to add to our pool of forwards. I will update them later tonight.

For now, the Flyers look to play the Florida Panthers tonight at 7:30.

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