You cannot talk about the Flyers without talking about their shocking offseason moves. The first of many moves the Flyers made this offseason was the acquisition of the rights to Ilya Bryzgalov. Two weeks later the Flyers signed the 31 year old goaltender to a 9 year, $51 million contract. Then, on June 24th at around 4pm, the Flyers pulled off a trade that sent Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jakub Voracek, and a 1st and 3rd round draft pick. (Flyers used the pick to select Sean Couturier). The deal was actually predicted on Whiz Wit Sports a week prior to the deal. Forty five minutes after Carter was traded, his buddy and captain of the Flyers, Mike Richards was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, and a draft pick. I think people could see one of them getting traded but not both.
The Flyers then traded Darroll Powe to Minnesota and Kris Versteeg to Florida. The Flyers let Ville Leino, Danny Carcillo, Sean O’Donnell, and Brian Boucher sign elsewhere as free agents. The Flyers waived Blair Betts earlier this week and he was claimed by the Montreal Canadiens.
With the major subtractions via free agency, there were some major additions from the free agent market. The biggest addition for the Flyers was the signing of Jaromir Jagr. So far throughtout the preseason, Jagr has been better than expected. The Flyers also signed gritty center Max Talbot from the Pittsburgh Penguins who can help the penalty kill with the loss of Richards, Powe, and Versteeg.
The biggest new role for the Flyers is Chris Pronger’s new role as the captain. Even though Mike Richards was wearing the “C” on the ice, it was no secret that Pronger was a strong influence/leader for the Flyers over the past two seasons. Having the “C” on his jersey is just a formality now.
Other players have new roles as well. Claude Giroux is now one of the young leaders on this team. He needs to step up even more offensively with the departure of Richards and Carter. Another young guy who has to step up offensively is James van Riemsdyk. His performance in the playoffs put the front office at ease with trading Richards and Carter with the understanding that the JVR would step up to fill the role offensively. Danny Briere is wearing an “A” for the Flyers this year. This is also just a formality move because he has been a leader on this team for years.
The Flyers are hosting the Rangers in the 2012 Winter Classic on January 2, 2012 at Citizens Bank Park. All the information you need about the game can be found here. HBO will do its popular four part behind the scenes series “24/7: The Road to the Winter Classic” featuring the Flyers and the Rangers.
The Flyers sent forward Brayden Schenn to the minors for the start of the season. If Schenn spends one day in the minors, his cap hit is reduced from $3.1 million to $1.705 million. For a team with tight cap space, that reduction is huge for the Flyers.
The Flyers waived Blair Betts, Matt Walker, and Oskars Bartulis. Betts was claimed by the Canadiens but Walker and Bartulis cleared waivers.
Matt Read has made the roster and is hockey insider Bob McKenzie’s pick for the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year).
2012 eighth overall draft pick Sean Couturier looks like he is going to make the Flyers roster this year. He was selected with the pick acquired from Columbus in the Jeff Carter deal.
After the interview with Frank Seravalli, it is hard to disagree with his assessment of the team. I would agree that the Flyers will come in with 94 points and get that fifth/sixth spot in the East. As for the playoffs, the 2010 Flyers showed that it is a whole new game when you reach the playoffs.
Flyers open up tonight in Boston.