Sunday, February 12, 2012

Flyers always have next year...again

There seems to be this predominant sense that the Flyers have to upgrade at the trade deadline.

Another embarrassing loss to the Rangers underscored that notion for a lot of people. But it's wrong, and it would be counterproductive.

What do we know about the Flyers this season? Well, we know the rookies have been outstanding. We know that Chris Pronger isn't coming back. And we know that Ilya Bryzgalov isn't as good as was advertised.

(Side note on Bryzgalov: I hated this deal from day one. The other bloggers on this site will back me up on that. In four years in Phoenix, he turned in one Vezina-caliber season, one "Brad Lidge 2009" season, and two seasons nearly statistically identical to what Bob posted as a rookie in 2010-11. His playoff numbers got worse every singly year. And he's over 30. How that screams "franchise goaltender" is beyond me. Paul Holmgren has generally done an outstanding job as the Flyers' GM, but the Bryzgalov deal threatens to sink a lot of that other good work).

We also know this team is not beating the Rangers in a playoff series, and probably wouldn't beat the Bruins, either. Is Luke Schenn, Bryan Allen, or Hal Gill going to change that? Um, no.

Would any of those three players even be an upgrade over pleasant rookie surprises Eric Gustafsson and Marc-Andre Bourdon, or even Andreas "European Sean O'Donnell" Lilja? Probably not.

The Flyers need to focus more on the long-term when it comes to blue line, not short term rentals.

Matt Carle should command a deal similar to what Steve Wisniewski got from the Blue Jackets this offseason, in excess of $5 million annually, and may not be back. Kimmo Timonen will be 37 next season. Nobody knows what to expect from Chris Pronger.

The more experience Gustafsson and Bourdon receive this year, the better--the Flyers will be relying on them again next season.

In some ways, the Flyers have exceeded expectations. Anyone who thinks they would willingly reverse the trades that sent away Carter or Richards, raise your hand. No? Good.

That makes cutting bait on this season a lot harder, but it's an unfortunate truth fans have to face. Barring a little Holmgren magic that could bring Ryan Suter or Shea Weber from Nashville, there aren't any players on the market that will impact the Flyers' chances this season.

Better to stand pat, let the rookies develop, and hope that Pronger returns healthy next year and one of the goaltenders stakes a claim as the unquestioned starter.


  1. No way Carle gets 5 mill a season. If this was the NBA he would get 12 a year but hockey is different. Most players don't get dramatically overpaid. With the salary cap so low I bet he only gets 3 a year and we can re sign that, or make a splash for one of the Nashville guys.

  2. Right now Carle earns about $3.5 million per season, and he's definitely in line for a raise, so I don't think it's much of a stretch to say he could earn $5 million a year.

    The Flyers are projected to have around $6.5 million in cap room with Carle and Jagr coming off the books. If they want to bring Jagr back (and he wants to come back), that'll cost at least as much as it did this year, around $3.3 million. They might not bring him back, given the maturation of the rookie forwards, but let's say they do.

    That leaves like $3 million, which won't be enough to sign Carle. Even if they don't bring back Jagr, I'm not sure they'd have enough to make a real play on a guy like Ryan Suter. Tough to say.

    What goes without saying: The Bryzgalov contract KILLS THEM. I really can't say enough terrible things about it. Imagine if instead of Bryz, they decided to let Bob be the starter and signed a $1 million backup instead. That would send them into the offseason with $10 million in cap room!

    If they had that kind of cap room, they could afford to go after a guy like Suter or Zach Parise (or maybe they could have even signed Steven Stamkos this past offseason). The Bryzgalov contract just makes me FURIOUS.

  3. And if Bob sucked, like he did tonight, then we still would have needed a goalie and wouldn't be in the running for those guys anyway.

  4. I'd rather pay Bob very little to suck than pay Bryzgalov a boatload of money to suck. Either way we wouldn't have enough goaltending; we might as well take the extra cap room.