1) Paul Holmgren shocked the hockey world yesterday by making three significant moves that will drastically alter its makeup and undoubtedly their style going into 2011-2012. The biggest/most important was to finally get a legit starting goalie. The Flyers announced they have signed former Coyote netminder Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9 year 51 million dollar deal. The 5.6 million cap hit was probably at least in part the motivating factor in the other deals.
2) In our opinion the Bryzgalov deal will be a net positive (pun intended) in the short term, but we also maintain that its a risky venture to sign any player (especially a goalie) to anything more than a 5 year deal. We wouldn't sign a goalie more than 3 years.(See Dipietro deal) They are so quirky and can go from great to crap so quickly, or suffer through nagging injuries that it doesn't seem to pay too invest heavily in that admittedly important position.
3) As far as the other two big deals yesterday. We were not at all surprised to see Carter go. He had fallen out of favour with management last season. Unhappy with his consistency and lack of playoff production. Rumours had been swirling around for some time. Carter, a first-round draft pick of Philadelphia in 2003, had 66 points (36 goals, 30 assists) in 80 regular-season games last season. The 26-year-old center has 181 goals and 162 assists in 461 career games in Philly. In return from Columbus the Flyers got Jakub Voracek. The 21 yr old Czech had 14 Goals 32 helpers for 46 pts in 80 games last season. Holmgren has coveted the RW for some time we're told. Additionally the Flyers received the Jacket 1st pick tonight. The 8th overall choice in this year's deep draft should provide a blue chip prospect to go along with Vorackek. Not to mention the salary cap relief it provides. Carter had a 5.273 cap hit while Voracek, although a RFA won't command nearly that sum (less than 1/2). So we'd say Holmgren did very well here in both short and long term
4) Its the final deal that causes us to scratch our heads. Why trade Carter AND Mike Richards? Richards apparently had a falling out with both Peter Laviolette and more importantly Chris Pronger. The ladder two never got along from day 1 of Pronger's signing. Carter as captain felt that Pronger undermined his leadership and as a result there was a fractured locker room. OK, fine, but we are not all that happy with the return; Braden Schenn (Luke's little brother) is a top centre ice prospect, but can/will he ultimately exceed the talents of Richards? Is Philly content with the remainder of their forwards going into next season as enough? On the other side we are VERY happy for LA. GM Dean Lombardi stole Richards and now can boast one of the deepest teams down the middle in the West, if not NHL. With Kopitar, Stoll, and now Richards they are stacked up the middle. Its early, but suddenly the Kings look like a contender!
5) From talking with a few insiders sine yesterday it seems the Flyer organization wanted to transform themselves and go from their traditional offense/forwards first mentality to go to a more defensive type game. They had to get their goalie to cement that idea, and now they are shedding salary to give Holmgren additionally flexibility to bring in/sign additional players to further solidify that new style for 2011-2012. The gamble(s)?
- Can Bryzgalov be the first goalie since Berne Parent to be a legit star? (sorry Hextall fans)
- Do the Flyers have enough remaining talent up front to score enough? Remember, Briere isn't known for his durability
- Can the sextet of Timonen, Pronger, Meszaros, Carle, Coburn and Walker be as good on the ice as they appear to be on paper? Pronger especially looked his age(36) at times last season
Paul Holgren is betting the answer to all the above questions are yes, else he may be looking for employment come this time next year.