Looking ahead: A few thoughts on the offseason

Numbers

Current Projected Cap Space for 2012: $1,980,845 [source]
Projected Cap Increase for 2012: $3,000,000 [source]
Total Projected Cap Space for 2012: $4,980,845

Notable Pending UFA forwards: VIlle Leino, Nikolay Zherdev
Notable Pending RFA forwards: Andreas Nodl, Darroll Powe, Dan Carcillo
Notable Pending UFA defensemen: Sean O’Donnell, Nick Boynton
Notable Pending RFA defensemen: Danny Syvret
Notable Pending UFA goaltenders: Brian Boucher

Thoughts

Defense

It’s likely the Flyers won’t need anything more than a third pairing defensemen. They have a number of options available to them: Re-sign O’Donnell or Boynton, play Matt Walker, promote Erik Gustafsson, or re-up Danny Syvret and give him his shot.

Offense

Ville Leino wants to stay and the Flyers want Ville Leino. It’s just a matter of working out the numbers. Unless something drastic changes, he’ll be back. I expect Nodl and Powe to be re-signed too. It could go either way with Carcillo.

Goaltending

Plain and simple, Paul Holmgren is not afraid to do whatever he feels he has to do to adress the team’s biggest needs. He’ll move any assets he may find stuffed between the couch cushions or trade any player, no matter how beloved he may be, to get what he wants. I think the goaltending issue is very black and white. If the Flyers win the Stanley Cup, Bobrovsky and Boucher will return. If they fall short of their goal and the goaltending is to blame, don’t be surprised to see someone — anyone — moved to make room for Tomas Vokoun, Ilya Bryzgalov, or whatever goaltender Holmgren might consider to be the cream of the available crop. It could be Leino, Hartnell or Briere. You may hope it’s Versteeg but it could be Timonen, Coburn, or Carle. If the Flyers can’t bring the Stanley Cup back to Philly this season, be prepared to say goodbye to one of your favorite players. You may hate it, cursing Paul Holmgren at every turn, but long after your Fire Homer Facebook fan page reaches its first 1,000 fans, you may find yourself begrudgingly admitting that he actually made the team better.

Frank Forte suggests that Vokoun might be forced to take a 50 percent pay cut when he signs his next contract in the offseason. If that’s the case, landing him becomes a bit more realistic than it was at the trade deadline. At the age of 34, Vokoun would not be the goalie of the future. He would be a good mentor for Bobrovsky, a terrific stopgap solution, and would take some of the pressure off of Bob. Bryzgalov would be an equally attractive option, as he is younger, more affordable, and Russian.

General Thoughts

Holmgren is resourceful. He’s signed a number of undrafted players and brought back talent from the KHL (Bobrovsky, Zherdev, Emery, Powe, Gustafsson, Holmstrom, etc.). This is what he does to compensate for the the team’s lack of draft picks and he does it well. It’s rare that he’ll find a top tier player in there but, as long as there’s a chance he could score a Martin St. Louis, Dan Boyle, or Brian Rafalski, he might as well keep looking. There’s no reason to believe he won’t continue to do just that this offseason. If he feels that Patrick Thoresen is finally primed to shine at the NHL level, that Jaromir Jagr can handle one more year in the Atlantic Division, or that some American college kid, like recently signed Matt Read, is ready to make the leap, then he’ll do everything in his power to make that work.