Point: Tweak the roster
By Steve J
The Flyers miss the hell out of Chris Pronger. You know it, I know it, Trent Klatt knows it. The trade rumors that have circulated for the past couple of months have revolved around the defense. Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, Tim Gleason, and Luke Schenn’s names have been floated as potential candidates. The cost for most of these guys would be at least one young forward, which happens to be the Flyers’ greatest asset. Well, in the words of the immortal sage Admiral Ackbar, it’s a trap!
It is absolutely not worth it to trade away any one of Matt Read, Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn or James van Riemsdyk for a deal like this. I understand the Flyers’ are always in win now mode and love to make a big splash but Holmer must resist the urge. Yes, JVR has had a colossally disappointing season, but it is not time to give up on him, especially not for Luke Schenn. Have you seen the price on Ryan Suter? That’s like buying a beer at the game (a really good beer, but still waaaaay overpriced). You already know the Flyers are just going to trade for his rights in the offseason to try and negotiate a free agent deal, as is tradition (see Hamhuis, Timonen, Hartnell).
If the Flyers do make a move it should be a smaller one. Send of those draft picks that they hand out like Halloween candy for someone like Hal Gill. I know Gill is old and slow but the Flyers’ number one problem on defense is someone who can clear the crease. Gill can do that much and brings the ever heralded veteran presence.
If that doesn’t work out maybe Jody Shelley can play defense…hmm…*
*Disclaimer! Author does not actually want Jody Shelley anywhere near the defense!
Counterpoint: Make a big splash
By Marcello De Feo
Patience may be a virtue but it is not a word in the Flyers’ lexicon.
Picture it: Philadelphia, June 23, 2011. You are sitting at your desk at work or in school when suddenly your computer/iPad/smartphone metaphorically blows up. The news comes down fast and hard and there is no way you can shelter yourself from the sudden, blunt impact of it all. In the bat of an eyelash, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards are gone. Poof. And for what? A couple of idling wingers, a prospect, and some draft picks?
“Pennies on the dollar,” some screamed about the return.
“Paul Holmgren is an idiot and should be fired immediately,” others demanded.
Then something incredible happened. Not only were those prospects and idling wingers thriving but they were outperforming their departed counterparts by a large margin. To date, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Ville Leino combined for a total of 57 points while Sean Couturier, Jakub Voracek, and Wayne Simmonds amassed 82 points — 90, if you include Brayden Schenn, which is to say nothing about the contributions of Calder candidate, Matt Read.
Leino turned out to be a bust in Buffalo. Carter is unhappy in Columbus and can’t stay healthy. Richards is on pace for 43 points in Los Angeles, his lowest total since the disastrous and forgettable 2006-07 season when the Flyers finished last in the entire league. Meanwhile, the incoming Flyers are just starting to show off their potential.
That loud, banging noise you hear at the Wells Fargo Center is Holmgren’s brass balls clanking together and there isn’t a GM in the league who doesn’t stare in awe.
Holmgren is not a man who stands pat; he does whatever he believes will help the team. Considering the hefty price he paid for Chris Pronger, there’s little reason to believe he won’t pull another such deal to land a guy like Shea Weber or Ryan Suter, if and when either player becomes available.
Furthermore, Holmgren has both Ed Snider’s blessing and deep pockets to make such a deal happen.
Do not forget Snider’s offseason proclamation: “Never again!”
He said this after the goaltending failed to live up to his expectations this offseason, which eventually resulted in the acquisition of Ilya Bryzgalov.
However, it’s not the first time Snider uttered those words in disgust.
After the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues ran roughshod over the Flyers for their first few years in existence, Snider shouted those same words only to go on to assemble a crew of goons like Bob Kelly, Dave Schultz, Andre Dupont, and Don Saleski that became known as the Broad Street Bullies. That crew helped the Flyers win two consecutive Stanley Cups through equal parts skill and intimidation.
Snider will not sit back and allow his Philadelphia Flyers to falter down the stretch again, especially under an inconsistent Bryzgalov. He knows, as well as everyone else does, that a healthy Pronger would’ve made a world of difference in the 2011 postseason. While he can’t go back and time and change the past, he can ensure that the Flyers go out and acquire a legitimate top-pairing, crease-clearing defenseman who can anchor the blue line for years to come.
Snider will make sure his “Never again!” prophecy will be fulfilled and, since there is not much he can do to change the goaltending, he can bolster the defense.