Philadelphia Flyers Plan For 2011 Offseason Could Find Stanley Cup in Their Future


After being defeated by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Philadelphia Flyers must quickly look to the 2011-12 NHL season and fix their roster before the window closes for them to win a Stanley Cup. The only area in need of improvement, of course, is goaltending. I believe that problem will be solved with the signing of unrestricted free agent Ilya Bryzgalov (no cap space, you say? Keep reading, I insist).

Before the NHL Entry Draft, the Flyers need to make a few moves, in order to get the most value from any draft picks they will be getting rid of:

Move: Re-sign UFA Ville Leino to two-year deal worth $2,500,000/year

Commentary: Leino, although finishing the season very weakly, still can be a great depth forward. The Flyers should be able to sign him for less than this amount, but I’m giving Leino the benefit of the doubt here.

Move: Re-sign RFA Daniel Carcillo to one-year deal worth $1,200,000/year

Commentary: As much as many do not want to admit it, Carcillo can have a great offensive presence when used correctly. He will get a slight raise, but it won’t hurt the payroll too much.

Move: Re-sign UFA Darroll Powe to two-year deal worth $850,000/year

Commentary: Powe was one of the most clutch defensive players on the team this season, in addition to a workhorse on the penalty kill. His re-signing will be cheap, and still worth every penny.

Move: Re-sign UFA Sean O’Donnell to one-year deal worth $1,000,000/year

Commentary: O’Donnell was one of the most consistent defenseman on the roster, and kept his plus/minus rating up all year because of it. He won’t contribute much offensively, but for just a million bucks, he can singlehandedly prevent a good 10-to-20 goals from being scored, solely with his positioning and hockey sense.

Move: Trade Jeff Carter and a 2011 6th-round pick to Nashville for Colin Wilson and a 2012 4th-round pick

Commentary: Before you Flyers fans get on me for this, understand one thing: the team needs to shed some salary. Richards is the team’s captain, Briere and Hartnell have no-trade clauses, and Giroux is, well, Giroux. Carter has failed to hit the 40-goal plateau since he did a few years ago, and his game has slipped. By moving him to Nashville, who has tons of cap room, and requesting a young, blossoming forward in Wilson, the Flyers can create a super line of JVR, Giroux, and Wilson. The power forward in JVR, mixed with the playmaker in Giroux, plus the two-way play of Wilson, could become one of the top lines in the NHL, if all three players develop as they should.

Move: Trade 2011 4th-round pick to Edmonton for rights to RFA Ladislav Smid

Move: Sign RFA Ladislav Smid to two-year deal for $2,000,000/year

Commentary: This will be a precursor to a move the Flyers will make after the draft, perhaps far into free agency (don’t cheat and look ahead just yet!). Smid is still developing, but most likely won’t become anything more than a fourth or fifth defenseman. It is doubtful if Edmonton will hang on to Smid, so by giving them a middle draft pick, the Flyers can get a head start on signing the young defenseman. He will give them some great depth on the blueline.

Post-draft:

Move: Trade Kris Versteeg to Florida for Steve Bernier

Commentary: Trading for Versteeg was one of the worst moves in recent Flyers memory. By moving the team’s first- and third-round picks, GM Paul Holmgren has ensured that the team’s farm system will not be receiving any new seeds for another season. Versteeg scored just seven goals in his time with the Flyers, and his poor defense singlehandedly led to a loss down the stretch, and contributed greatly to other losses as well. Florida has over $40 million of cap space for 2011-12, and will be happy to take a young winger in Versteeg and unload Bernier, who has not had as much success as the team had hoped.

Move: Trade Kimmo Timonen and Kevin Marshall to _______ for a 2012 6th-round pick

Commentary: I leave a blank, because I have no idea who would want Timonen, nor am I sure if Timonen would even waive his no-movement clause. If there is, and if he does, the Flyers will basically bribe another team with prospect Kevin Marshall to take him off their hands. This will clear up $6.33 million in cap room, allowing the Flyers to make their next move on July 1.

Move: Sign UFA Ilya Bryzgalov to three-year deal for $5,750,000/year

Commentary: This is the move everyone is hoping for in Philadelphia. I must admit, I originally had the Flyers moving Matt Carle, Sergei Bobrovsky, and draft picks/prospects to Detroit for Jimmy Howard, and having Detroit sign Bryzgalov, but after realizing the insanity that would create cap-wise, I decided against it. Bryz has a .916 career save percentage, and at least a .920 save percentage and 2.48 GAA maximum in three of his last four years. He posted 36 wins this season and 42 last, making him one of the most valuable free agents on the market. If the Flyers indeed make this move, they will become one of the top Stanley Cup contenders for next season. Bryzgalov will play about 50-55 games, while Sergei Bobrovsky will play about 25-30 games, allowing plenty of room for his development as the Flyers’ future.

With the salary cap most likely increasing about $1.5 million for next season (as go the reports), the Flyers will have additional space to make these moves. The moving of Carter and Timonen will also open of about $12 million in space, which can be used to sign Bryzgalov and temporarily heal the Flyers goaltending wounds. Is this all speculative? Sure. But aren’t all articles?

I now present, your 2011-12 Philadelphia Flyers, with a bit of help from CapGeek.com (cap hits are in parentheses).

FORWARDS

James Van Riemsdyk ($1.654m) / Claude Giroux ($3.750m) / Colin Wilson ($1.725m)

Scott Hartnell ($4.200m) / Daniel Briere ($6.500m) / Ville Leino ($2.500m)

Daniel Carcillo ($1.200m) / Mike Richards ($5.750m) / Steve Bernier ($2.000m)

Darroll Powe ($0.850m) / Blair Betts ($0.700m) / Zac Rinaldo ($0.544m)

/ / Jody Shelley ($1.100m)

DEFENSEMEN

Matt Carle ($3.437m) / Chris Pronger ($4.921m)

Andrej Meszaros ($4.000m) / Sean O’Donnell ($1.000m)

Braydon Coburn ($3.200m) / Ladislav Smid ($2.000m)

Oskars Bartulis ($0.600m)

GOALTENDERS

Ilya Bryzgalov ($5.750m) / Sergei Bobrovsky ($1.750m)

SALARY CAP: $60,900,000; CAP PAYROLL: $59,132,539; BONUSES: $2,550,000

CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $1,767,461

NOTE: Thanks to Chris DiFrancesco for his input on these moves!

Alan Bass, a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com, is the author of The Great Expansion: The Ultimate Risk That Changed The NHL Forever. He has worked for the Philadelphia Flyers’ Fan Development department, going to schools throughout the tri-state area to teach about fitness and the importance of teamwork. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College Division II hockey team as well. You can contact him at Alanbasswriting@aol.com.

3 Responses to Philadelphia Flyers Plan For 2011 Offseason Could Find Stanley Cup in Their Future

  1. BCISLEMAN says:

    No way on earth is Poile silly enough to trade one of his best young players for Carter and be on the hook for a $5.2+ mil cap hit until 2022. Once the Flyers signed that deal with Carter, they were pretty much stuck with him for better or worse.

    Not sure how Steve Tambellini views Ladislav Smid, but the folks on the Copper and Blue blog seem to feel that he is one of their top four defenders and their best shut down guy. Tambs has enough trouble on defense. Why is he going to trade one of his best young defensemen? The answer is that he isn’t and for sure if he were to consider it, he’d want a whole lot more than a fourth round pick.

    The other moves might be plausible. Tallon would love to get Versteeg although he’d hate giving up a big tough forward like Bernier. Only question is: Why go after Bryz after his first round flameout? Even he admits he sucked.

    If I’m Holmgren, this is what I’d do. Trade either Mezarros or Colborne to CLB for their #8 pick, trade down a few spots and draft Oleksiak as the successor to Pronger. Then use Versteeg as the centerpiece of a trade and sign that lands you Vokoun. Even without one of those two defensemen, with Vokoun in net and Bobrovsky nacking him up, the Flyers GA will not be hurting and may even go down. And stop trading away first rounders. Your prospect system stinks and that’s a recipe for future disaster.

  2. Rob Jordan says:

    Your article shows a clear disregard for reality. Leino turned down $3M from the Flyers earlier this season. He’s not going to sign here for $2.5M (whether he’s worth it or not). O’Donnell is done. Done. He had a solid 1st half of the season and when steadily downhill culminating in a terrible playoff performance which found him out of a position several times a game (often leading to goals by the opponent).

    Timonen for a 6th rounder? Are you out of your mind? Timonen is a stalwart on the blueline and with Pronger’s back problems, you can’t trade away your most solid blueliner. He shows up every game and is extremely reliable.

    The one thing you got right is that the Flyers need to trade Jeff Carter. He is remarkably skilled with the puck on his stick and a complete waste of ice space without it. He’s lazy and emotionally detached.

    P.S. Rinaldo sucks and won’t be in the NHL next season.

    • BCISLEMAN says:

      You’re right about wanting more for Timonen, although–as the author points out–he has a NMC making the discussion moot.

      As I’ve noted above, you are pretty much stuck with Carter. The RDP contract was further evidence that Wang needed to stick to computers and real estate and thank goodness Garth is running hockey ops now. Point is you’d think folks would have learned that lesson. I’d like the NHL to have a GM101 course and require all GMs to take it. Lesson 1 would be imprinted on their brains: NEVER EVER give ANY player a contract more than 5 years in length!!!!!

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