The Flyers continue to change up their roster as they have signed agitator Maxime Talbot to a reported 5 year deal worth $9 million. Talbot has pestered the Flyers for years as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he amassed 52 goals, 108 points and 324 PIMs in 5 seasons in the Igloo. The feisty center/winger fills the spot left vacant by rival and fellow pest Dan Carcillo. One has to wonder what GM Paul Holmgren is thinking with all these moves.
By: Tim Brennan
According to the Flyers twitter account, the team has signed forward Jakub Voracek and free agent defenseman Andreas Lilja. Voracek came over in the trade with Columbus for Jeff Carter and became a restricted free agent earlier today. Lilja is a #6 defenseman who is being brought in to replace Sean O’Donnell, who signed with the Chicago Blackhawks an hour ago. Voracek scored 14 goals and 46 points in 80 games last season for Columbus while Lilja posted 1 goal and 7 points in 52 games with the Anaheim Ducks.
According to the Flyers own Twitter account, the team has signed Jaromir Jagr to a one year deal. Jagr looks to make $3.3 million this season according to Darren Dreger of TSN. The Flyers seemed desperate to add a goal scorer to the lineup since they haven’t been able to get Ville Leino under contract and traded away Mike Richards and Jeff Carter a few weeks back. Jagr was negotiating a contract with Pittsburgh and Detroit earlier this week but both teams backed out prior to the start of free agency today.
The Flyers have chosen Sean Couturier with the 8th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. Couturier played last season with the Drummondville Voltiguers of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League posting 36 goals and 60 assists for 96 points in 58 games. The 6-4, 195 lbs. center has a great skill set and uses his size to his advantage. His offensive instincts and hockey sense are strong attributes but his forte is his ability to protect the puck while in traffic or under pressure. Scouts project that he will be a second line center who will average 60-70 points per season. It looks like Paul Holmgren found a replacement for Jeff Carter. To see what Couturier can do and will bring to the Flyers in the future, check out this video:
By: Tim Brennan
June 23rd, 2011. This will go down as a historical day in the eyes of people who live and breath Flyers hockey.
During the early stages of the day, the Flyers traded forward Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for right wing Jakub Voracek, a 1st round pick (8th overall) in this year’s draft and a 3rd round pick (68th overall). This move was seen as a major salary dump to enable the Flyers to sign goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, whose rights they acquired June 7th. General Manager Paul Holmgren went ahead with a deal, signing the 31-year-old Russian netminder to a 9 year, $51 million contract that will put an annual cap hit of $5.67 million per season. Holmgren wasn’t finished however as he pulled the trigger on a trade that would send captain and franchise cornerstone Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings for hockey’s best prospect center Brayden Schenn, rugged winger Wayne Simmonds and a 2nd round pick in next year’s draft. When the dust settled, the Flyers had traded two centers earning close to $11 million combined and added a top rate goaltender.
What was Paul Holmgren thinking when he traded away two big names, signed a 31-year-old goaltender to a long-term, big money contract and basically altered the face of the franchise?
Although Holmgren was determined to land Bryzgalov, it comes as a shock that he traded both Carter and Richards. Ever since these two were selected in the first round of the 2003 draft (11th and 24th overall respectively), the Flyers brass have made it clear that these two were going to be their future stars and would become the face of the franchise. The team solidified their position by signing both to long-term deals; Richards to a 12 year deal in 2007 and Carter re-upped for 11 years in 2010.
The two were an important part of the Flyers AHL affiliate, the Phantoms, Calder Cup championship team in 2004 and joined the big club after the lockout. Richards drew comparisons to Flyers legend Bobby Clarke because of his ability to combine skill with a physical edge while Carter was deemed to be one of the team’s purest goal scorers in a long time. Both of them impacted the team immediately and proved the scouts right as Richards accumulated 133 goals and 216 points for 349 points in 453 games as a Flyer, including 23 shorthanded goals and made history by scoring 3 3-on-5 shorthanded goals for his career. Meanwhile Carter posted 181 goals and 343 points in 461 games, including two 30 goal seasons and a 40 goal season while becoming a league leader in shots year after year.
The only problem was all of this success didn’t always carry over to the post season. Richards, who has a reputation as a winner, won a championship at the junior level with the Kitchener Rangers along with a gold medal with Canada but hasn’t been as dynamic in the NHL playoffs. The past few years have shown that he hasn’t been able to step up as he pulled a disappearing act during the Stanley Cup Finals last year against Chicago, posting a measly 2 points in 6 games while recording a horrific -7 rating and did the same during this year’s semifinals versus the eventual Stanley Cup champs, the Boston Bruins. Carter has been just as unproductive during the post season, scoring 13 goals in 47 games which accounts to .28 goals per game, well below his regular season average of .40 goals per game.
Rumors have been circling Carter for close to three seasons now so it wasn’t a shock that the Flyers decided to move him. Due to the team’s strength down the middle, Carter has been moved around to all three forward positions so as to create a scoring balance. In a sense, it appeared that he was being pushed out while he was still on the team. With the emergence of Claude Giroux in the past few seasons and James van Riemsdyk’s impressive effort in this year’s playoffs, Carter was the odd man out. It also didn’t help that he goes through stretches of inconsistent play and has a propensity for turning over the puck and being lazy.
It came as a surprise that the team traded their team captain and playmaker Mike Richards, but people within the organization might have known this was coming. There were the stories about problems within the locker room between Richards and defenseman Chris Pronger, prior to the firing of head coach John Stevens. There was also the clashing between Richards and the media after they suggested that his partying lifestyle was affecting his performance as well as the team’s performance, which led to his refusal to talk with the media. His captaincy has been called into question numerous times and there were rumors that coach Peter Laviolette and Richards didn’t see eye to eye on how the team should be run. Due to his strong bond with Holmgren, the decision to trade him more than likely came from the top. It wouldn’t surprise me because Ed Snider has always been a critical part to major decisions the organization makes, such as the Lindros debacle in 2000-01.
Paul Holmgren did an excellent job of giving the other teams what they want and supplying the Flyers with what they needed. Carter provides the Blue Jackets with a number one center that they desperately needed to gel with star Rick Nash. Carter has the potential to continue scoring 30-40 goals a season, maybe even 50. Carter joins former teammates R.J. Umberger and Scottie Upshall on a Columbus roster that looks alot better while Richards will provide the Kings with a dynamic two-way game and give the team a great one two punch at center along with Anze Kopitar. Richards will be comfortable in L.A. with close friend and former coach John Stevens on the staff along with other people who have been associated with the Flyers organization in the past such as GM Dean Lombardi, assistant GM Ron Hextall and head coach Terry Murray.
The Flyers in the meantime got alot younger with the acquistions of Voracek, Schenn and Simmonds. Schenn is arguably the best prospect in hockey and will get a serious look during training camp this summer. The future looks great with Schenn being a projected superstar center with a knack for scoring goals, playing physical and being a force in both zones. Voracek is a big winger who has great hands and good vision of the ice. He wasn’t utilized that much on the Blue Jackets so coming to Philly to play as a top 6 forward will help his development. I’m excited to see what he can do playing on the same line with fellow youngsters Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk. Simmonds is a tough winger who is tailor-made to don the orange and black. His ability to use his size to his advantage and score goals means that he will be a nice fit with the Flyers system.
Only time will tell whether the moves made on this day will help push the Flyers over the edge to a Stanley Cup championship or just keep them wondering where have we gone wrong.
The Rangers are coming off a poor performance last night as they fell to the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. The Rangers found themselves in penalty trouble and just got beat down by the red-hot Flyers.
Now the Rangers come into Newark to face a familiar foe in the New Jersey Devils. The Devils have had an awful start to the season. After everything they went through to acquire superstar sniper, Ilya Kovalchuk, I’m sure they were expecting better results. They are the worst team in the NHL in scoring and they are third worst in goals against and also boast the fourth worst record in the NHL at 4-9-1. They are also 0-4-1 in their own building this year.
The Rangers are now 6-5-1 and are tied with Pittsburgh for second place in the Atlantic Division. The offense has been strong for the Rangers but the defense on the other hand has been a disaster, especially the penalty kill. They will be looking to get back on the winning track against the struggling Devils
Usually when you talk Rangers-Devils hockey two names are brought up instantly, Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Brodeur. These games are all about these two goaltenders, low scoring affairs with flashy goaltending is the standard for Rangers-Devils hockey. Henrik Lundqvist has been a Devil killer since he came into the league in 05-06. His record currently stands at 19-7-5 with a 1.89 goals against average, the Rangers put their faith in Lundqvist to beat the Devils and he does it time in and time out. Rangers head coach, John Tortorella had this to say about Lundqvist’s success against the Devils, “I’m playing Hank against New Jersey,” said Tortorella at the morning skate Friday. “I don’t care if it’s four games in four nights, Hank’s playing against Jersey.”
Brodeur on the other hand has a record of 42-24-15-5 with a 2.10 goals against average, he has been a thorn in the Rangers side ever since he stepped on to the ice in 1991. Now Brodeur will not be able to play in this game tonight due to a sore elbow so the great goaltending matchup that everyone loves won’t be here. Now the Rangers, as well as their fans, may feel better not having to face Brodeur but there is still one problem…the Devils signed Ranger killer, Johan Hedberg this off-season. Hedberg has a record of 11-4-2 with a 2.12 goals against average, so the Rangers don’t get much of a break here.
The Rangers have had their own mash unit this season. Marian Gaborik, Vinny Prospal, and Chris Drury have all been out for the past few weeks with injuries and Ryan Callahan can now be added to the list. The Rangers top scorer will not dress tonight as he is “too sore” to play, Callahan plays hard and his bound to get banged up but he is a really tough guy so if he can’t play then there is something really bothering him. Alex Frolov, who seems to be suffering from a case of Chris Higgins syndrome, will most likely take his place on the top line tonight. Frolov has only two goals and five points in 12 games so far this season but being paired with red-hot forwards, Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky may help him breakthrough.
Rangers may also be without winger Ruslan Fedotenko was elbowed in the head by the wonderful, Daniel Carcillo in last night’s game. He seems to be ready to go but if he can’t then the Rangers will go with 11 forwards and seven defenseman. Todd White will also be back in the lineup tonight as well to help fill in with all the injuries to the Rangers forward corps.
Even with all their injuries the Rangers should still be able to beat the Devils and that’s because of one person, Henrik Lundqvist. When the Rangers need him he delivers and even if the Rangers forwards and defenseman were swapped with a pee-wee hockey team, sometimes they look like they are, the Rangers would still have a chance to win this game. Lundqvist is just that good.
Rangers win 2-1