Flyers Faithful asked Dave Isaac from Philly Sports Daily, Ryan from Flyers Goal Scored By…, Anthony Mingioni from The Hockey Guys,Center Ice Philly, and Sportsology, and our very own Frick five questions about the first half of the 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:
Which offseason acquisition(s) will prove to be the best for the Flyers? Which will be the worst?
Dave Isaac: If Ilya Bryzgalov isn’t the best offseason acquisition, there’s a big problem. Yes, there is a ton of potential for Voracek, Simmonds, Jagr and Brayden Schenn, but the Flyers payed top dollar to have their goals against average drop with a bona fide No. 1 goaltender in the mix.
The most disappointing acquisition could turn out to be Andreas Lilja. He won’t have a huge role, and in theory he could even lose out on the No. 6 slot on the blue line, but he has had injury problems in the past and may not be able to hold up for a full season at 36 years of age.
Ryan: I know everyone in LA says Simmonds doesn’t score but if you put that guy on the right line he could hit 30 goals. I shit you not. So could Voracek. So could Jagr. And that’s the thing. We scored by committee last year but the committee is even broader this year. That’s why it’s such a hard question to answer because we didn’t go out and get a Brad Richards to carry the load. You know what they say about many fingers and the load…
Answer to part B) M. Talbot
Anthony Mingioni: After the performance Jaromir Jagr has put on in the preseason, I’m tempted to go there, but a potential protegee from Jagr’s hometown of Kladno is the one I think will prove to be the best acquisition. While they are different players in terms of physical size, I believe that winger Jake Voracek, based on his size, skill set, pedigree as a former first round pick, and his current contractual status (one year deal) will eclipse former Flyer Ville Leino and immediately gain chemistry and confidence playing on Danny Briere’s right side. He will finish the season with his best career point totals to date.
The worst? I have my concerns with defenseman Andreas Lilja. While he has good size, his level of play recently has not been NHL-caliber and his contract creates a road block for younger, more mobile, and more inexpensive defensive talent like Erik Gustafsson.
Frick: I think Talbot will be one of the better acquisitions. He is already winning over the fans, and can be the bridge between the veterans and young ‘uns. I also think Schenn will be a really good player in the future. He may not be quite ready for the big-time, but I think he will be a great player, and soon. Bryzgalov should be the best acquisition, but everyone’s hopes are so high, I am not sure if he can live up to them.
I hate to single someone out as the “worst” acquisition. I was going to go with Jagr, but I don’t think I can after the preseason he has had. I am not sure how he will hold up through the year, but he has looked good so far. Lilja is probably not going to contribute much, but as a 5-7 defenseman, I am not sure how much they are expecting from him.