Flyers Faithful asked Dustin Leed from The Fourth Period and The Hockey Guys, Stephen Whyno from Philly Sports Daily, David Strehle from NHL Hot Stove, and our very own Nick D five questions about the ’11 Flyers’ season. We are very grateful that they took the time to share their opinions and predictions with us. Each day of this week, we will run the answers to one of those questions. Today’s question is:
What moves do the Flyers need to make, if any, at the deadline?
Dustin Leed: I think the Flyers need a depth winger who can play up and down the line-up. Preferably a guy who can log some penalty kill time with some Playoff experience. GM Paul Holmgren’s attempt to land Jamie Langenbrunner – and give Bill Guerin a shot with the club in the offseason tells me the squad is in need of that piece. Also – it could give Mike Richards a more suitable line mate – an upgrade over Andres Nodl. I’m also unsure if Flyers front office and ownership are sold on their goaltenders, but there isn’t a lot they can do around deadline in that regard. I’d look for the addition of a forward.
Stephen Whyno: The Flyers very well could go after a veteran winger to play with Mike Richards (an upgrade over Andreas Nodl), but in my opinion they should stay pat. Jody Shelley told me last week that there’s something special about this team, so messing with the mix could create a problem.
David Strehle: It would appear that Paul Holmgren is still in the market for a veteran winger with his recent interest in Jamie Langenbrunner. Remember, Bill Guerin was brought in during training camp for a tryout, and the Flyer brass recognizes what a presence a battle-tested, playoff-proven player can add to the mix. A warrior-type on a team that is a seller at the deadline in the Ian Laperriere-mold, like an Ethan Moreau or even a Curtis Glencross, would be a strong possibility.
In addition to a winger, Holmgren may opt to bring in another defenseman, preferrably a big, physical presence who can be used as a shutdown guy late in games when the team is protecting a lead. This type of defenseman will be at a premium at the deadline and Holmgren will no doubt have to compete with other playoff-bound teams. But any club can use this type of defender in the postseason, and in addition would be an insurance policy in the event of an injury to Pronger. The Flyers gave up a significantly higher amount of shots and goals during Pronger’s absence.
Nick D: I’m not a big fan of messing with chemistry. Unless there’s a no-brainer deal where they can get a cheap, scoring winger, or a proven playoff performing goaltender, then there’s really no reason to deal anyone. Matt Walker’s cap hit is high but he’s probably not going to see much time unless one of the top six get injured. And anyone who has been following the team this year knows that Nikolay Zherdev, until sustaining a recent groin injury, was playing really well with JvR and Jeff Carter and obviously everyone who plays with Mike Richards does well. They have so much depth up front that they really don’t need anyone else.
The problem is if they get another forward, where do you put him and who do you sit? If you get a defensemen, where do you put him? Then you have to ask yourself who do you move off the team? If you’re Paul Holmgren the only thing you can look at between now and the deadline is how the powerplay is performing as it’s underperforming right now and they clearly have about six guys who can play the penalty kill in Blair Betts, Jeff Carter, Claude Giroux, Andreas Nodl, Darroll Powe, and Mike Richards. This team absolutely doesn’t need a guy who can play in all situations, but could use a power play specialist I guess or a goaltender perhaps. The thing is, there’s really no reason to do anything unless it’s getting rid of someone for cap reasons so that they can sign Ville Leino or keep some of their other guys like Carcillo, Nodl, and Powe.