It’s been a nice, safe offseason in Philadelphia Flyer land; one that deserves some good marks for General Manager Paul Holmgren. He jettisoned the bloated contracts of Danny Briere and Ilya Brzgalov via their compliance buyouts. He traded for and then signed mobile defenseman Mark Streit (in probably the only questionable move of the offseason; at least from a contract perspective). He surprised everybody by signing Vincent Lecavalier. He brought back Adam Hall to compete for the fourth line center position. Lastly, he signed Ray Emery to a bargain one-year contract.
So what has you most excited about this upcoming season?
Is it the offense? With, hopefully, healthy seasons from Scott Hartnell and Matt Read, and adding Vincent Lecavalier in place of Danny Briere, it’s an exciting group of forwards. With Claude Giroux, Lecavalier, and Hall, they even have three strong faceoff-men.
Is it the defense? The Flyers defense was decimated by injuries last season, and with Kimmo Timonen as the only true “puck-mover” the Flyers struggled at moving the puck out of their own end, and kick-starting the offensive rush. Streit has his limitations but he most certainly fills a need on the ice in that regard. Additionally, Erik Gustafsson came on strong at the end of the year after an injury and was incredibly impressive during the World Championships. With Timonen, Streit, and Gustafsson the Flyers should have defenseman in place to effectively move the puck up the ice.
Is it the goaltending? The Ilya Bryzgalov debacle is over. I liked the guy but it clearly wasn’t working. In his place is Steve Mason who had an impressive short stint at the end of the year. Has he managed to turn a corner or will his poor career numbers come back to the forefront? Ray Emery was also signed to a one-year “prove it” contract and will compete for the job. The Flyers have two hungry goaltenders.