Flyers Faithful is pleased to have Dave Isaac from the Courier-Post, Matt Brigidi from SB Nation, David Strehle from The Fourth Period, Anthony Mingioni from Center Ice Philly, and our very own Steve Jacot participate in the current iteration of Five Questions. This is the third of a five-part series focusing on the 2013-2014 preseason. (Please keep in mind that these questions were answered last week, so some of our questions may already have been resolved by the team.)
Does Hal Gill stand a real chance of making the squad?
Dave Isaac: No. They already have nine guys on one-way contracts and Marc-Andre Bourdon was waived to be sent down so eight is still one too many. They’re really giving Gill a chance to showcase his game to other teams. He’s an easy guy to root for, but unfortunately it looks like there’s no space for him in Philadelphia.
Matt Brigidi: Sounds like he has a chance, but I don’t see how he sticks around considering the logjam they have. I would assume it’s better to play Gustafsson, than hold onto Gill, but that’s just my opinion.
David Strehle: There is a possibility, primarily based on one factor; the Flyers are still the only NHL team who have more payroll invested in their defensive corp than they do forwards ($34.2M to $31.4M). If Gill outplays a guy like Bruno Gervais and would take less money than Gervais’ $825,000, Holmgren may end up shuffling some bodies around and sign Gill to a cheap pact.
At the time Gill came in he made 10 NHL defensemen on the training camp roster; unfortunately Marc-Andre Bourdon’s ongoing post-concussion syndrome took him out of the running for a roster spot, and he’s since been waived. That still leaves eight NHL blue liners ahead of Gill. He had a rough first game in London against the Leafs and didn’t play in Toronto the next night, so that has to be viewed as lost opportunity for the 38-year-old to make an instant impression on the Flyers at a time that he really needs to be doing so.
But Laviolette has said on numerous occasions how much he likes the 6’7″, 244-pounder, as well as his personality. With size, physicality, and the option to ink him cheap, Gill may just stick come opening night.
Anthony Mingioni: Head coach Peter Laviolette seemed pretty happy with Gill’s play so far. He’s reportedly in great shape, but at the same time he’s 38 and not getting any faster. It is preseason and the speed of the game goes up once they drop the puck on October 2nd. Watching a few Nashville Predators games last season, there were times when he was really struggling to keep up with the pace. He brings an intimidating physical element and can clear the crease, but the question is: is he fast enough at this point to get there?
I still think if all things are equal and there are no injuries, then it’s a little difficult to see him on the roster unless they are planning to carry eight defensemen. Perhaps they trade one of their defensemen away to create a spot for him. It really comes down how the team views his potential role. If Laviolette really likes what he sees the next few preseason games, then general manager Paul Holmgren has some interesting decisions to make.
Steve Jacot: Not really, unless they make a trade for the purpose of clearing salary cap space. Gill is as solid as concrete and moves just as well, so I’d vastly prefer to see the Flyers fill any defensive vacancies with someone younger.
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