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Archive for the ‘Flyers’ Category

Actors And Magicians Out In Philly Today

Posted by Chris Shafer On March - 14 - 2009

Today the Rangers flopped their way all over the ice. Richards whiffed on a check connecting with a shoulder only to get called for an elbow to the face. Avery also got into the action with a “boarding” late in the game. For all of the acting that went on, it was the magicians in the end that claimed victory; those magicians being rookie Claude Giroux and goaltender Martin Biron who continues to play incredibly down the stretch.

Giroux (see image) was known for his imaginative play with the puck back in Canadian Juniors when he carried his team to a QMJHL championship. After a long wait he is finally transferring his illusionist talents to the Flyers. Since his call up at the end of December he has been shocking fans with his impressive play with the puck, but even his own teammates get caught, lost in the optical illusion at times. It’s almost humorous to see Simon Gagne misread an incredible pass by a rookie because he’s not expecting it to even come his way. For people that don’t know Claude Giroux’s history please read up. I promise my own personal favorite Flyer will soon become one of your own favorites as he grows into a top notch NHL playmaker.

The other magician of the night was Marty Biron who continues to play on fire. His last 3 games now have been his best of the season, and his GAA continues to drop after a terrible start. So are we hoping Marty can carry us through the rough end of the season and into the playoffs? Of course we are. I’m not sure how everyone else feels, but Holmgren entered into contract discussions with both Biron and Knuble months ago. That’s likely a sign that Marty will be a Flyer for years to come, but let’s not count our chickens now. Right now we have no netminders signed for next season though Biron is making a strong case for himself. Instead let’s just watch him play how we’d hoped he’d be all season; making relatively anything sent his way disappear. He gets 39 saves tonight against the Rangers in a 4-2 victory.

On top of the great Saturday afternoon the Flyers’ Asham had himself a great night; 2 goals getting an assist from Giroux and new Flyer Carcillo each on both. Coach Stevens was classy enough to put Asham out on the ice with Richards and Carter at the end of the game trying to get the gritty bottom liner his first career hattrick on an empty netter with Lundqvist’s net looking like a Sean Avery cardboard cut out, just begging to get a puck in the mouth. It wasn’t to be, but with a nationally televised afternoon game against the Rangers tomorrow up in New York the Flyers are very satisfied with a 4-2 win. Niittymaki will play tomorrow, and hopefully Briere, who only saw 12:00 minutes of ice time tonight, will have more of an impact.

(image credits to Jules of hfboards.com)

FLYERS KEEP ROLLING: TROUNCE RANGERS 4-2

Posted by David Foley On March - 14 - 2009

The Flyers picked up a big 4-2 win today in a matinee against the Rangers (although at this point in the season which win isn’t big?)

We’re really starting to see this Flyers team come together, particularly the Asham, Giroux, Carcillo line. The three combined for two goals in the third (both by Asham…Giroux and Carcillo assisted on both) to help seal the win. Honestly though, is there anyone on the NHL that would want to match-up with these guys? Asham and Carcillo are both excellent fighters who can chip in the occasional goal, and Giroux is developing before our eyes into an elite playmaker.

Marty Biron was brilliant yet again in goal and outplayed Henrik Lundquist. Over his last 7 games (6 starts) Biron is 4-2 with a 1.65 GAA and a .953 save percentage. It goes without saying that Marty has taken over the #1 job once again (if he ever really lost it in the first place) although Niittymaki will get the start in New York tomorrow. The turning point seemed to be that 5-1 loss to Calgary, where Niitty gave up four goals in the first period and was replaced by Biron, who then stopped 21 of 22 shots.

Tomorrow these two teams will pick up where they left off in another afternoon start (12:30 pm ET) at Madison Square Garden.

Upshall Update

Checking in on Scottie Upshall in Phoenix…the former Flyer has three goals in his first five games with the Coyotes (two of which came on the powerplay.) Upshall scored just seven goals in 55 games for the Flyers this season, but he is getting his chance to shine in the desert averaging nearly five more minutes per game than he was getting in Philly. Good to see Scottie doing well, and we wish him all the best.

Photo courtesy of ESPN.com

Welcome To The Jungle-Marty’s Jungle

Posted by Chris Shafer On March - 10 - 2009

bironA season after Marty’s poor 1-2-1 record against his former team, the Buffalo Sabres, he has advanced to 3-0-0 on the year against his old comrades. The Flyers still have one game against Buffalo coming up next Thursday, and it’s getting even harder to imagine Biron not showing up between the pipes at the start of the 1st period for that game. In fact where would this team be without Marty at all? It’s true that Antero Niittymaki was hot at one point this season and even earned himself the starters roll for a brief period. The city of Philadelphia at that point, a group of fans devoid of a star goalie performance for nearly two decades, turned on their netminder and even exclaimed the wish to go after more established goalies at the trade deadline. The city demands nothing but spectacular play from the men between the pipes, but since a major mishap against Pittsburgh on February 21st where he came out of the net in a dangerous move costing the Flyers a point in the standings Biron has played relatively well. Call it tough love. I know I have given him my share.

Despite his poor goals against average (which is skewed because of bad performances early in the season) he has done his best to keep the Flyers on the winning track. He and Niittymaki have in fact backstopped the team to a 4th place spot in the East. That’s obviously not that bad especially when people consider where the Flyers could be.

On top of that Marty’s last two games, Fan Appreciation Night Saturday against the Trashers, and of course tonight against his former team, have likely been his best two games of the year. His glove side has been quick, no weak goals have gotten past him, and he has only let in 3 total giving the Flyers offense the chance to take over for 9 goals of their own. With that the Flyers improve to 2-1 on their 5 game home stand with the Capitals coming to town Thursday and the Rangers coming on Saturday. It has still yet to be announced who will be playing in these upcoming huge games for the Flyers, but many think Biron has finally found his game once again. It would be convenient of course with the playoffs right around the corner, and with a closing schedule this tough the Flyers need to play lights out hockey against some of the top NHL competition.

I will give everyone a little image to take through the rest of the week though. Does anyone else remember way back last season in February where the Flyers hit one of the biggest snags in franchise history? After two wins to open the month back in 2008 the Flyers went on a terrible streak of 0-8-2. Their next game (the 2nd to last of the month) just happened to be against the Buffalo Sabres. Yes, I am of course talking about the legendary game last season up in Buffalo where Danny Briere, also a former Sabre, won the game on a shootout goal. On the heels of that game the Flyers closed out the season with an impressive 12-4-4 record. Biron was the man who not only kept them in that game, but also excelled in the shoot out where he had been terrible since joining the Flyers. Then he went on to lead Philadelphia back into the playoff race, into 6th seed, and then all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals where injuries to Timonen and Coburn, the Flyers two best defenders, signaled the death knell of the Flyers Stanley Cup dreams against their bitter rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

How quick we forget who stood tall between the pipes for us a calendar year ago.

Don’t count Biron out yet. His contract is up after this season, but we will just have to cross that bridge when we come to it. The spring has been good to Marty during his time with the Flyers, and now they need him more than ever as they enter the toughest stretch of their season and a Stanley Cup Playoffs where they hope to define their generation of Philadelphia hockey.

So here’s to the Great Gaston! He’s in his comfort zone right now so let’s stick with the hot hand. Marty may not be that knight on the white horse you were expecting after the trade deadline of course. Many were hoping for Jay Bouwmeester, not two former Sabres in Danny Briere and Marty Biron. One thing is for sure though; just like the Flyers, Biron is not going out without a fight. The spring is his jungle so trespassers beware; Philadelphia ice just became that much more dangerous. Wouldn’t home ice advantage be awesome right about now? Make it happen Flyers!

WELCOME BACK TO PHILLY, PATTY…

Posted by David Foley On March - 10 - 2009

It has been five long years, old friend.

Surely Flyers fans remember Patrick Lalime, the one-time Senators goaltender who backed Ottawa to playoff series wins over the Flyers in ’01-’02 and ’02-’03. Not such fond memories, but the Flyers will have a small chance at redemption tonight as they face Lalime’s Sabres at the Wach (remember Lalime is filling in for the injured Ryan Miller.)

The last time Lalime played in Philly was when he was with Ottawa back on March 5, 2004.

Pace Cut, Could Holt be Next?

Former Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Pace was cut by the Rams today. The 33-year old would fill a need for the Eagles, but it really isn’t the Birds’ style to go after players who are clearly past their prime.

Another Ram who could be released soon is receiver Torry Holt. He too would fill a need for a top wideout for the Eagles, so we’ll make sure to keep close tabs on each situation over the next few days.

Call To Arms: Playoff Edition

Posted by Chris Shafer On March - 9 - 2009

timonenWelcome to the stretch run Flyers faithful. The greatest time of the year is coming close, but we must remember that even though there is a sprint to the finish coming soon it has been a marathon. The NHL season is the longest of all professional sports and it shows on the players and fans. It wears us all down, but that is when we have to battle back harder.

For Philadelphia the season has seemed even longer with injuries to many players including Danny Briere who seems to never be healthy. That is no reason to fret though. He will be back. There is still time to get ready before the playoffs; there is still the opportunity to get into a full steam ahead rhythm for this high powered offense. As New Jersey, Boston, and Washington have all begun to hit walls the Flyers are hoping to rocket forward.

Remember that 2006-2007 season? I know I shouldn’t bring it up but remember that it was just as painful for me as it was for the rest of Philadelphia. I was there. I witnessed the letdown that has plagued our city for 25 years (100 seasons / 4 teams) of professional sports. That was until one day this past fall. We all know what happened. Now the future is brighter than ever.

In the 2007-2008 season we rebounded. No one expected us to come from the bottom, and our rise back to the ranks of the elite was behind a giant banner proclaiming that the Flyers were indeed “Back With A Vengeance!” Now we stand nearing the end of a brilliant 2008-2009 campaign in front of that banner. Everyone expects us to be there at the end. We are supposed to make a splash. We are no longer the Cinderella, but we can live with that. Gagne is healthy, Briere will be back to his old self soon (these things require patience), Carter has jump-started his game, Timonen quietly continues about his team MVP performance, and Mike Richards continues to do everything that he is known for. Hartnell continues to dominate the flow of games, Giroux has become a spark on the third line a year removed from his miraculous QMJHL playoff run, Knuble still sets up in his office deflecting anything thrown at the net, and Joffrey Lupul, one of the true Philadelphia Miracle Men, hasn’t been traded but in fact scored 2 goals on fan appreciation night against the Predators to not only lead the Flyers to victory but also become the 6th forward on the team this season to reach 20+ goals. On top of that the little things are staying in tact. Parent’s been shutting down forwards since his call up from the AHL, but nobody hears about him because his presence is felt through silence. Coburn and Carle have started playing better together than they have all season. Even Marty’s glove hand, which has been off and on, seems to have found its niche Saturday against the Nashville Predators.

There are no new big faces on this team. Dan Carcillo had his first fight and point during the win Saturday. He looked good on the ice, and that’s a piece the Flyers will need going forward without Scottie Upshall. The Flyers though don’t need big faces. There are no players on this team who will compete for the Hart or Norris. Individual accolades are not something the Flyers thrive on. History has never said that the Flyers had the best player in the NHL or the one who scores the most goals, but what the Flyers bring to the table is hope. Year in and year out they give the city of Philadelphia hope for a championship. In fact out of the 39 seasons that the orange and black have suited up they have only missed the playoffs 8 times. This is the Flyers 40th season (41st year) of existence. While Montreal boasts of 100 years we have quite the history of our own here in Philadelphia. Why can’t it be our year?

The road ahead is tough though. We play the Rangers four times, the Panthers and Sabres twice each. We also have to play the Red Wings, Bruins, Capitals, Penguins, and Devils. It will be a battle for the finish line, but I believe the Flyers can push through it.

Back on May 19th, 2008, right after the Flyers crushing defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals, a writer on SI.com posted about the heartbreak of Philadelphia sports. Entitled 100 Seasons…100 Heartbreaks the article listed a detailed ranking of the worst moments in Philadelphia sports history since the last championship.

The top 5 listed:

  • Sixers miss shot to take ’01 Finals stranglehold with Game 2 loss (June 8th, 2001)
  • Superbowl XXXIX (February 6th, 2005)
  • Flyers complete epic East finals collapse against archrivals (May 26th, 2000)
  • 1993 World Series Game 6 (October 23rd, 1993)
  • 2002 NFC Championship Game (January 19th, 2003)

That’s right. We have experienced a lot of heartache in the past 25 years. We have lived each moment over and over again in our heads. It is history we have witnessed, but for every heartache we have been there for the good times.

We saw Joffrey Lupul score the game 7 game winning OT goal against the Washington Capitals to take the Flyers, a year removed for their worst season ever, on to Stanley Cup playoff legend. We saw the Eagles this past season knock off the Cowboys in the final game of the year in incredible fashion, get into the playoffs by fluke, take it to the Vikings and the hated Giants, and force us to believe once again that the Philadelphia Eagles can win. We saw the 76ers without a star player make an unimaginable run to make the playoffs. And to top it all off we saw this:

philliesI’d say that the city of Philadelphia has had a pretty good year. So sound the call the arms! Are we content with just one championship or are we going to push for more? The last quarter century has humbled our hearts but never our voices. We know we can’t always win. That’s how it goes. We take the good with the bad in every season of every sport, and in the end we often remember the losses more than the wins. We went through a drought without a championship; 100 seasons. In the end each one of those disappointments led us to where we are now. When we win it just means that much more to us. It’s something that no other city can feel. We are the most heartbroken, the most outspoken, and the most grateful group of sports fans ever assembled in the world. Now one of our teams is about to try for another push at yet another Philadelphia championship. Everyone remembers where they were when the Phillies won the world series. Will you say that you missed out on every puck drop for the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs?

FLYERS LOOK TO REBOUND AGAINST RED-HOT NASHVILLE

Posted by David Foley On March - 7 - 2009

For your Flyers game thread tonight check out my guest post over at The700Level. Let’s hope the Flyers can bring home a big win at the Wach on fan appreciation night!

Real Reason Upshall Was Traded

Posted by Chris Shafer On March - 4 - 2009

I know it hurts, and I know the Flyers have just downgraded going into the playoffs. Still this minor move helps us in the long run. I’m still not in favor of it. Actually in fact I’m trying to find ways to cope with it myself. I will quickly point out how it does in fact help us.

  1. Instead of re-signing Scottie Upshall at the end of the season for roughly $2.00m/year in cap hit we drop his salary.
  2. We pick up another energy guy who though less impressive defensively and offensively would look good on our fourth line down the road though 3rd line next to Briere is a stretch.
  3. We save roughly $0.5m this season meaning we don’t have to keep sending Giroux up and down between the Phantoms and Flyers due to any minor injury that occurs.
  4. Dan Carcillo is an RFA for another season after this one and likely won’t get a huge pay rise. At that point he can be traded or re-signed as a fourth line scrapper with some offensive upside.

On top of this the Flyers have even more options. They save quite a bit by not re-signing Upshall. That makes room for Lupul’s raise next season especially if Knuble is leaving. We could also likely try to resign Knuble. If not we could even try to drag James van Reimsdyk out of college early and sign with the Flyers. Upshall not getting a raise with the Flyers this offseason gives Philadelphia at least a little room to work with this offseason.

In all honesty though, I’d rather have him back.

Why the Flyers Traded for Carcillo

Posted by David Foley On March - 4 - 2009

And a nice compilation…

Flyers Fail Miserably at the Trade Deadline

Posted by David Foley On March - 4 - 2009

I would have understood if the Flyers did nothing at the trade deadline…they are so close to the cap it would have been hard to make anything work. Still they went out and made a move…that makes absolutely zero sense.

The Flyers traded Scottie Upshall and a 2nd round pick to the Coyotes for Daniel Carcillo. Yes, that’s all they got in return, an agitator with 10 points and 174 penalty minutes on the season…because taking more penalties is EXACTLY what the Flyers need to do! (/sarcasm).

ESPN speculated in their trade deadline blog that this might have been another salary dump to try to make room for Jay Bouwmeester or a Derek Morris. Instead the Panthers kept Bouwmeester (a ridiculous move on their part given he’ll inevitably leave as a free agent this offseason) and the Rangers got Morris.

As a matter of fact a lot of the Flyers main competition in the East got better at the deadline.  The Rangers got Morris, Shawn Avery, and Nik Antropov. The Pens got Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz. The Bruins got Mark Recchi and Steve Montador.

How did the Flyers answer? By giving up a talented young grinder who showed yesterday that he can occasionally score an occasional brilliant goal in exchange for a guy with average to below-average talent who likes to take a lot of dumb penalties. FUCKING BRILLIANT!

Unless a move is announced after the deadline the Flyers just got worse, not better. The Panthers irrationally deciding to keep Bouwmeester may have hurt, but then going and making a stupid, panicked move with Phoenix was not the right response for a team that may have been one move away from being the favorite in the Eastern Conference.

**UPDATE**

According to Pierre Lebrun over at ESPN, the Flyers may have been close to a deal for Bouwmeester. Pierre talked to Panthers GM Jacques Martin about the decision to keep Jay-Bo.

“It was a tough decision, but we like our team and we felt in the end it was the best decision for where we are at right now,” Martin told ESPN.com. “We feel we’re solid on defense.”

I asked him if he almost dealt him.

“It came close. It came very close,” he told us in an interview we conducted in French. “But, in the end, this is the scenario that made the most sense for us.”

Martin would not tell us, but sources confirm Philadelphia and Vancouver made the strongest pitches for Bouwmeester, but they were obviously not good enough.

More on Carcillo courtesy of TSN:

The King City, Ontario native signed a two-year deal with the Coyotes this past off-season, but spent time in head coach Wayne Gretzky’s doghouse for taking what Gretzky described as selfish penalties.

Terrific…just what the Flyers need!

Yet Another Update

It has just been confirmed…the Flyers traded a 6th round pick to the Sharks for defenseman Kyle McLaren. The 31-year old hasn’t played yet this season (he was stuck in the Sharks minor league system), but had 11 points in 61 games for the Sharks last year and was a +3.

Calm Before The Storm?

Posted by Chris Shafer On March - 2 - 2009

lupulIt hasn’t been totally silent in Philadelphia outside of the various rumors floating around. The Flyers did manage to get Briere back into the lineup against the Devils on Sunday with some clever movement. Giroux was sent back to the AHL as well as Lasse Kukkonen in order to call up Nate Guenin. This saved the Flyers the couple thousand they needed to put Danny into the lineup. Unfortunately it didn’t work out in the Flyers favor as Martin Brodeur earned his 100th career shutout. That’s in the past now though. It’s been a rough weekend for the Flyers but it’s time to move on. Briere is back and Timonen will hopefully be done with the flu shortly.

That doesn’t leave everything taken care of though. It’s now Monday, March 2nd; two days from the biggest day of the entire regular season. This day makes strong teams champions and poor teams contenders for years to come. But one thing the recent fiasco involving Briere’s return to gameplay has demonstrated is how dangerously close to the salary this team really is. Timonen’s flu was able to send a big enough shockwave through the team that the roster needed to be toyed with right before the deadline.

Usually the Flyers like to remain relatively quiet. It’s true Metropolit and Vaananen were waived and ended up elsewhere. It’s also true that the Panthers GM came to the Kings game and the Canadiens game last week in Philadelphia. What does that all mean? Who really knows? The entire NHL has remained relatively dormant this past weekend. It’s actually very odd to see virtually nothing happen with the deadline so close. This can mean one of two things:

1) There are some hard decisions going around that will cause the NHL teams to swap players that could change the balance of power in the NHL as we know it. It could be that the GMs are taking third and fourth looks at the proposed deals to make sure they get them right because so much is riding on them.

2) The NHL trade deadline this season could be the most quiet one in recent memory with hardly anyone getting moved.

My natural instinct is to choose the first option. With the wild west being virtually wide open and the east being competitive for the most part all the way down to the lowly Penguins there is something brewing. It’s almost as if we’re watching the perfect storm of NHL trades come together. Pronger has been rumored to the Bruins to be with Chara. Bouwmeester is rumored to go everywhere with an ice arena. Even Guerin of the New York Islanders has apparently waived his no trade clause.

So where do the Flyers sit in all of this? There are certainly some distinct categories that those in the Flyers organization belong to:

UNTOUCHABLE:

  • Danny Briere – ($6.50m/year cap hit) – reason: Contract Clause
    Next year: signed 
  • Kimmo Timonen ($6.33m/year cap hit) – reason: Contract Clause
    Next year: signed 
  • Mike Richards – ($5.75m/year cap hit) – reason: Team Captain
    Next year: signed 
  • Simon Gagne – ($5.25m/year cap hit) – reason: Contract Clause
    Next year: signed 
  • Jeff Carter – ($5.00m/year cap hit) – reason: Top Offensive Threat
    Next year: signed 
  • Martin Biron – ($3.50m/year cap hit) – reason: Contract Clause
    Next year: unrestricted free agent 

VIRTUALLY UNTOUCHABLE:

  • Claude Giroux – ($0.82m/year cap hit) – reason: Signed for two more years at entry level price and will be key player.
    Next year: signed 
  • Ryan Parent – ($0.86m/year cap hit) – reason: Signed for one more year at entry level price and will be key player.
    Next year: signed 
  • Scottie Upshall – ($1.25m/year cap hit) – reason: Cheap depth player but great in a 3rd line energy role.
    Next year: restricted free agent
  • Braydon Coburn – ($1.30m/year cap hit) – reason: Signed cheap for one more year and could be the future of this team defensively.
    Next year: signed 

UNLIKELY TO BE MOVED UNLESS FOR THE RIGHT DEAL:

  • Mike Knuble – ($2.80m/year cap hit) – reason: Becomes a UFA after the season and provides solid offense.
    Next year: unrestricted free agent
  • James van Riemsdyk – (no current contract) – reason: Arguably top prospect currently outside of NHL.
    Next year: to be determined
  • Luca Sbisa – ($0.88m/year cap hit) – reason: Signed for three more years at entry level price and is the Flyers top defensive prospect.
    Next year: signed
  • Matt Carle – ($3.44m/year cap hit) – reason: Young defenseman who can still grow but has played solidly this season.
    Next year: signed

MOVABLE:

  • Joffrey Lupul – ($2.31m/year cap hit)
    Next year: signed (new contract $4.25m/year cap hit)
  • Randy Jones – ($2.75m/year cap hit)
    Next year: signed
  • Aaron Asham – ($0.64m/year cap hit)
    Next year: signed
  • Josh Gratton – ($0.55m/year cap hit)
    Next year: unrestricted free agent
  • Riley Cote – ($0.55m/year cap hit)
    Next year: signed
  • Darroll Powe – ($0.52m/year cap hit) – prospect
    Next year: signed
  • Andrew Alberts – ($1.25m/year cap hit)
    Next year: unrestricted free agent
  • Lasse Kukkonen – ($0.88m/year cap hit)
    Next year: unrestricted free agent
  • Andreas Nodl – ($0.85m/year cap hit) – prospect
    Next year: signed
  • Kevin Marshall – ($0.88m/year cap hit) – prospect
    Next year: signed
  • Denis Bodrov – (no current contract) – prospect
    Next year: to be determined
  • Jonathan Matsumoto – ($0.60m/year contract) – prospect
    Next year: signed
  • Marc-Andre Bourdon – (no current contract) – prospect
    Next year: to be determined
  • Patrick Maroon – ($0.53m/year cap hit) – prospect
    Next year: signed
  • Jonathan Kalinski – ($0.88m/year cap hit) – prospect
    Next year: signed
  • Mario Kempe – (no current contract) – prospect
    Next year: to be determined
  • Jared Ross – ($0.50m/year cap hit) – prospect
    Next year: restricted free agent
  • Danny Syvret – ($0.55m/year cap hit) – prospect
    Next year: restricted free agent
  • Michael Ratchuk – ($0.85m/year cap hit) – prospect
    Next year: signed
  • Antero Niittymaki – ($1.23m/year cap hit)
    Next year: unrestricted free agent

Basically what all this means is with so many players key to this team’s current success don’t expect that many deals to be made. It will either be one big one or a few minor ones. In the end the Flyers may even be keen on not moving players like Matt Carle and Joffrey Lupul at the trade deadline even though those are the big names being thrown around in nearly every reasonable scenario. Those are the two most expendable players per cap hit on this roster and even though they’re important pieces, the Flyers could part with them at the trade deadline to make their team better or even at the draft in order to sure up their roster, get some draft selections, and allow them more moves for the offseason and years to come.

The Flyers are tight against a wall right now though. Something will likely happen, but if it’s not Bouwmeester don’t expect any big names coming in Philadelphia’s direction. On top of that don’t expect the Flyers to part with too much high-end prospect talent. Entry level contracts are the lifeblood of any successful team. Bargain contracts are what keeps competitive teams playing at a high level consistently and entry level deals are the mother of all bargain contracts if the kids play well.

Even with the Flyers in their situation there have been some names around the league that have peaked the interest of the Flyers even if they will be hard to acquire:

  1. Jay Bouwmeester – Defenseman – Florida Panthers ($4.88m/year cap hit)
    Next year: unrestricted free agent
  2. Chris Pronger – Defenseman – Anaheim Ducks ($6.25m/year cap hit)
    Next year: unrestricted free agent
  3. Kari Lehtonen – Goaltender – Atlanta Thrashers ($3.00m/year cap hit)
    Next year: restricted free agent
  4. Niklas Backstrom – Goaltender – Minnesota Wild ($3.10m/year cap hit)
    Next year: unrestricted free agent
  5. Brendan Witt – Defenseman – New York Islanders ($3.00m/year cap hit)
    Next year: signed
  6. Nikolai Khabibulin – Goaltender – Chicago Blackhawks ($6.75m/year cap hit)
    Next year: unrestricted free agent
  7. Mark Recchi – Right Wing – Tampa Bay Lightning ($1.50m/year cap hit)
    Next year: unrestricted free agent

It’s bound to be a wild couple of days. Try to lay low and hope for the best for the Flyers. Paul Holmgren is definitely one of the league’s best general managers. Have faith that he will make the right decisions, and, please by all means, enjoy it. After this week the pressure is on to win. The home stretch is coming, and the Flyers want to be in the best possible position going into the post season. And don’t miss it for a second, this team could be going places this year with or without a major trade deadline move.

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