A Look At The New And Improved Flyers

After a terrible season last year, GM Paul Holmgren has put together an amazing roster. So lets take a look at some potential lines.But first I’m gunna change things up. I’m tired of people listing the forwards first, so we’re going to take a look at the goalies first.

Goaltending: 1.Martin Biron

– a star goaltender who’s ready to explode after waiting on a bench in Buffalo.

2. Antero Niittymaki

-a young netminder who proved he can play with the stars at the olympics in 2002.

Defence: 1. Kimmo Timonen, Jason Smith

-With Kimmo being the scoring and Jason being the defensive defender, this makes for a great lefty-righty approach. Jason also brings Leadership to the team.
2. Derian Hatcher, Lasse Kukkonen

-Hatcher led the flyers in hits, and blocked shots last year. While Lausse led all rookies in blocked shots. This line would be great when you want to play “trap” style hockey.

3.Alexandre Picard, Randy Jones

-Picard is a young defender who has a ton of potential. Picard set a team record for most assists in a game by a defensman. Randy Jones is also farely young, being in his third NHL season. This line is the line I like to call the young guns. – reserves- : Mike Rathje , Braydon Coburn, Denis Gauthier.

Forwards: 1. Simon Gagne, Danny Briere, Mike Knuble

– I know Canadiens fans are cringing in their seats, but this is a powerful combination. With the two young stars Briere and Gagne, you also ave the veteran presence of Knuble. This is one line you don’t want to mess with.

2. Scott Hartnell, Jeff Carter, Joffrey Lupul

– Hartnell has a great +/- rating (19) and can also put up some points. Carter is a great center, who knows how to get the puck to his teammates and is young, just like Lupul, who is full of potential, but had a bad season last year…but who can blame him, playing for the Oilers?

3. Ben Eager, Mike Richards, Sami Kapanen

Mike Richards is young, and can score. And Kapanen is a veteran who will bring some leadership to this young team.

4. Mark Cullen, R.j Umberger, Scottie Upshall

-With the new addition of Upshall, the flyers get speed and agility. Cullen was the leading point getter for the Phantoms(AHL Affiliate)

39 Responses to A Look At The New And Improved Flyers

  1. getzlaf15 says:

    Here is the lines I would put out on the ice:











    M. BIRON



    They will be a great team this year, I think they will finish 2nd or 3rd place in their division behind rival Pittsburgh.


  2. flyer186 says:

    all indications are that the flyers want to trade umberger and gautier also you left out giroux he may be able to crack the line up this year depending on how he does in training camp. what about parent on defense another player that could crack the line up if he does well in training camp. the flyers are going to tade to give them selves more cap room, just in case they find a player to trade for at the deadline or an ufa thay find attractive before or even after the season starts

  3. fuzzbusterbubba says:

    i think the flyers will make the playoffs but they wont do as good as people think. All of the predictions mean nothing till it gets down to playing! do forget injuries 

  4. cecilturtle says:

    Putting the goalies first…  That would be a first in Philly!  Biron a star goalie???  I like Biron and think he will do a good job in net for you next year, but a 30 year old career backup goalie – a star he is not!  Niittymaki 2002 olympics were almost 6 years ago!  I thought for sure he would just go back to Finland already, but I suppose with Clarke no longer officially running the organization, Niittamaki now feels he might have a shot at sticking with Philly as a backup.  But believe me, you will surly see Niittamaki play almost as many games as Biron this next year…  You do not take a 30 year old career backup goalie and play him back to back games nor expect him to play more than four or five games in a row.  Unless you want him to break down and get injured???  Either way Niittamaki gets in "at least" 35+plus starts next year and like Biron, He is not a star!

    As for the Defencemen; Smith, Timonen, Hatcher, Gauthier, Rathje are all way past the age of 30 and Kukkonen was a 27 year old rookie call up to the worst team in hockey last year.  Your D is old and slow and the young D-men with the Phantoms are a year or two away from being any help to the big club.

    The forward line of Gagne, Briere, & Knuble: Gagne (age 28 and has been somewhat injury prone in the past) Briere (age 30) Knuble (age 35)… Do not have any young players on that line, let alone two!  Every other forward in unproven and does not scare anyone.  But I suppose all these new free agents the Flyers just signed and the rest of the current players who played a full half season together will undoubtly come together and play better as a team than all the other NHL clubs who's players have been playing together for several years now!  C-mon buddy, Philly will most certainly have lots and lots growing pains next year and another very very high draft pick.

    But I do believe your team under Holmgren is absolutly going in the right direction!  Unless most fans in Philly and their Media think the Flyers are much better than they really are and with that comes the constant fan bashing and taunting about how bad of a start the Flyers are certain to get off too.  Philly inspite of their free agent signings are still rebuilding and it will take a few years for your team to become the one you just listed above.  But you have to let the young players play and learn from their many growing pains next year. 

  5. big_booty says:

    1)  You cannot refer to Biron as a "star."  You also can't refer to him as a "stiff" either (as some on this site have done).  He is a legitimate #1 goaltender, just not in the Brodeur/Luongo mold.

    2)  Stick a fork in Rathje – he's done.  He might be working his way back from his back ailments, but there is no guarantee he'll ever be taken off of the LTI.  And even if he was, he'd be demoted to the AHL so his salary still didn't count (a la Darius Kasparaitis).

    3)  Putting Picard, Jones, and to a lesser extent Kukkonen ahead of players like Gauthier, Coburn, and even Ryan Parent doesn't make any sense.  Picard and Jones were a third pairing last season – when the team stunk.  With all the upgrades this team has made, Picard and Jones are the ones now considered "extras."

    4)  The top line is the only one set so far.  The Flyers are counting on Carter to anchor that second line, but that is no guarantee and I would shy away from calling the young man "great" at this stage of his career.

    5)  I don't think you automatically put Lupul on the second line – the kid has promise but any Oiler fan will tell you he was terrible last year.  He needs to be eased back into his groove – I could see that happening on the 3rd line with Kapanen.

    6)  Upshall was a revelation to the Flyers when he came over, and you banish him to the 4th line with limited playing time?  Why do that?  The team needs to keep riding his high and keep him on the ice.

    7)  Just because Cullen scored alot for a bad AHL team does not get him a NHL roster spot, and for him to leap frog better prospects like Steve Downie and Claude Giroux is foolish.

  6. big_booty says:

    I will agree that he is not a "star," but to call Biron a "career backup" is just plain stupid and shows how clueless you are.  Biron was the starter in Buffalo for three seasons before Miller took over, and was still considered a number one goalie even when Miller started getting the majority of the work.

    Do your homework before taking peanut butter with your toe jam.

  7. canucklehead_101 says:




  8. JuicemaN says:

    Biron is a younger Rollosson as far as I'm concerned, some years he'll get bumped to backup but then the following year he'll prove he can start.  He could take a team far in the playoffs or he could choke.  I think if can put together a few consistant seasons he'll erase his reputation of being a backup.

    I did enjoy watching Philly lose and lose badly this season but at the same time I always loved the toronto vs philly games and although Toronto was no powerhouse they were still much better than philly last year and the rivalry just wasn't the same.

    Holmgrem (sp?) has done a fantastic job, but he's also lined himself up to have many risky contracts down the road if some don't pan out….but coming from a Leaf fan we're all oh so used to that problem.

  9. cecilturtle says:

    Biron is a good goalie, but because he served "for what ever reson???" as a career back up goalie for several years now and he is no spring chicken at 30 years old…  You could only expect to get 50 maybe 55 games out of the guy next year.  Unfortunately the time when Biron could physically play 65 to 75 games a year were wasted serving as Hasik's and Miller's backup.  Expect to see lots of Niittamaki next year because endurance and/or injury problems will be a big factor Biron will have to deal with.  Especially now that he is a starter and his D-men are destined to make him face many many many shots on goal next year every game he plays.  Not to mention all of his slow footed heavy deadweight D-men crashing or falling clumsily into Biron over the cource of the year trying in vain to keep up with the much faster and more talented forwards in the league!  So skill wise Biron is maybe not a career backup, but he has the endurance of one and at age 30 his endurance is not going to get much better. 


  10. wadeaminute says:

    yea, but why would you wear out prospects like Downie, and Picard and Jones are far better that Coburn and Gathier. How can you say that Picard should sit on the bench when he can set records and score points? And Upshall is not going tobe the Flyers "savior". He's good, but not as good as the players I have in front of him. He still has to prove himself. And as you can see I clearly put Rathje on the reserves. And Biron has star potential.

  11. bernie1parent says:

    alright, for one thing, a few players need to be traded as for one, we need some more cap room, and two, they just dont fit where we are headed.  Gauthier and Knuble (i love mike, but just having him on the first line with Briere and Gags just doesn't seem to gel to me, i dont think he'll be traded though, so heres what we got).

    Eager-Richards-Upshall  (imagine how much this line will piss ppl off)

    with parent sitting behind them (gauthier will be traded)


  12. wadeaminute says:

    Fist of all you're anoying me by saying that the flyers are my tream..They most certainly are not!!! Im blue and white all the way. and secound, briere and gagne are young talent, there not old at all! Biron has star quality. And you cant just throw rookies up to NHL level! and when you were mentioning the defensmen, you forgot to mention the youngest! Picard and Jones! Pay more attention next time you try to do a comment.

  13. rlhockey46 says:

    hatcher and coburn    will definetly be on the same pairing.

    iam thinking that lars johnson will come up when someone gets hurt first before parent,  well in the early part of the season anyhow.

  14. the_word says:

    Philly is definitely a wild card this year, however if one of Briere, Hartnell or Timmonen turns into a bust Philly will be on the hook for a long time.  All three of these contracts are iffy, good chance one of them is a bust (I say Briere). 

    Hatcher and Smith were great defensemen in 2003, not so much in today's NHL.  Biron looks to be a 1A goaltender at best (although I see him having a big year).  Their young players look to be pretty average.

  15. Glucker says:

    one of these guys is getting moved… you still need to sign 3 more players, and have only 1.330 to spend…

  16. Glucker says:

    not saying any1 will, but if they do, its most likely Briere, good in Buffalo's system, and thats where he got all his points

  17. WYflyerfan says:

    I like your lines there are a couple of things that could be different. I see kapanen playing on the third line. I also agree about Gauthier being traded for cap space I just get the feeling they will include Umberger. They probably need to trade him before next year. I think they will be unable to sign all the restricted free agents next year. 

  18. flyersdan says:

    Who needs signing?

  19. flyersdan says:

    Gagne Briere Knuble
    Hartnell Carter Upshall
    Lupul Richards Kapanen
    Eager Umberger Downie 

    Timmonen Smith
    Hatcher Coburn
    Kukkonen Gauthier

    Carter and Upshall had good chemistry last year, so I can't see splitting them and you can't pay a guy $4 million and at least not start him on the top 2 lines (Hartnell).  That pushes Lupul to the third line with Richards and I think Kapanen (unless Afanesenkov is resigned).  Downie is the prospect possibly ready to come up this year.

    I would still like to see them make a couple trades to unload one of the dmen (Hatcher or Gauthier) and free up some salary room.  Then sign Forsberg to a one year $5 million deal and force him to take at least the 1st half of the season off ($2.5 million cap hit).  This would give us three lines (on paper at least) that could put the puck in the net on any shift for the first time in a long time.

    Gagne Briere Knuble
    Hartnell Forsberg Carter
    Lupul Richards Upshall

  20. Bacon077 says:

    I’m going to be an a**hole and mention that Niittymaki won gold in the 2004 World Cup, not the 2002 Olympics (Canada, what??).

  21. cecilturtle says:

    Oooops, Sorry I did not know you were not a Flyers fan…  By the way, Cullen is a 30 year old career minor leaguer who will surly not make the big club unless the fit completely hits the sham!


  22. PhiladelphiaFlyers says:

    First off, obviously, I'm a Flyers fan. So obviously I'm biased but I'll be the first one to admit that the Flyers have a very "new" team and need time to build as a team. They might not be great next year but I do expect them to be good. Will they make the playoffs, who knows… but I can only hope!!

    Anyway, onto the players:

    Biron is a good goalie. Nitty proved that he can play. He is still young and needs to be handled carefully. I thought Nitty would be gone as well but this is good… if he plays a bit less than Biron he can relax and hopefully learn from Biron. The only thing I'm real worried about with the goalies is the whole starter issue. Philly always has 2 average goalies that flip back and forth. I hoped Nitty would fill that role but he showed that he could only play at a high level in the Olympics or for the Flyers when he had competition. I hope Biron just steps up and takes the role and plays his game.

    Our Defense has gotten SO much better. All of you who are saying the Flyers still have an old D group who are slow… I don't see that at all… Lets look at the free agents again… the number 1 and 2 free agents this year were Timonen and Briere/Drury (take ur pick). We got two of them. Timonen is a GREAT solid D man. Don't forget, we also have his brother. I don't expect to see him play this year, but I do expect it next year!! Imagine how good that would be if he could learn and become stronger this year and see both together next year. Ah, love it!
    Along with Timonen, we got Smith. I watched him play a lot last year and the year before, hockey package, and he showed me GREAT things. He blocks shots, he gets his man, he does not give up, he has leadership skills, and he has experience! He can skate and has great presence. I cannot wait to see him play.

    If someone else mentions Rathje I'm going to SCREAM. He SUCKS, he's old, he's slow, and he's gone. Do NOT count him on the Flyers team!

    Next… I do think Gautier is going to be traded. I like him, a lot… the refs don't though… and so he isn't as effective as he could be bc he gets called for penalties every other minute. So I guess we'll count him gone.

    We still have Hatcher… I thought he should have been traded last year… but, with the addition of Timonen and Smith, the pressure is OFF him. He can just be another player and play his game. He doesn't have to play as many minutes. He can be a power play & penalty kill specialist. Lets see how that works 🙂

    That leaves some young D-men. We have Kukkonen, Coburn, Parent, Jones and Picard, plus the other Timonen. I think Coburn will grow a lot this year. I think Kukkonen will do well paired with any of our guys. Parent might get a chance to play and if he's as good as they say, nice! If not, Jones showed that he can play in the NHL. With the additions, he will also have less pressure and with the leadership he can grow and learn a LOT!

    Onto the offense…
    Gagne is not really injury prone. Heck, take any NHL player these days and they could be called injury prone. Gagne is coming into his own. I still see him as a young guy… but I think he will thrive with Briere. We'll see if Knuble gets to stay on that line. If not, almost any of our guys could take that spot. Just depends on chemistry!

    Our other forwards are not unproven. Yes Carter and Richards have yet to show their full potential… but with new guys, less holes and more age&leadership I think they will grow a lot. If either gets hurt, that will be a problem… but I think we are deep enough to cover it if we have to! Look for Carter to play GREAT hockey and look for Richards to show things he has yet to show, as long as he can stay healthy.

    Lupul is a good addition. I think we got a good deal for Pitkenan (sp?). Lupul will do well in Philly. I would play him with Kappy and either Umberger or Eager. All of these guys are tough, never quit, and play really hard all shifts.

    Upshall showed what he could do last year. I think we'll see more of the same this year. He has a lot of potential. He can play with anyone. The leadership will also help him.

    Don't forget, we have 3 other team's captains now. That's a big thing for us and leaves leadership holes elsewhere. Out of everything from this year in free agency, that's the thing that stands out most to me. You'll see how it helps, just watch us this year!

    I can't wait for hockey season to start!!!!1


    ps if i forgot anything… well oh well.

  23. goleafsgo1991 says:

    The Flyers are improved and are definitely a play-off team, I just don't think they have the stability and chemistry all straightened out enough to finish higher than third in their Division (behind the Penguins and Rangers). I think they'll be fighting Buffalo for 5th in the East.

    Goaltending: Biron will obviously start and can be an average starter, probably playing around 50-65 games. Niittymaki, who's capable in a tandem, will be a pretty good back-up and probably get in 20-30 games. If one of their AHLers such as Houle plays good enough to earn a back-up spot Niittymaki could get dealt for room.

    Defense: Timmonen, Smith, and Hatcher would most likely be the top 3, with Gauthier and Rathje rounding out the top 5. A spot would be left for one of Coburn, Kukkonen, and Picard (I don't see Parent jumping the queu unless he has a spectactular camp and I don't think Jones in quite up in that group yet). I think Coburn has enough hype he'd end up earning the spot. Nevertheless, the Flyers will most likely get rid of one of the two, if not both. While Kukkonen is the better defenseman, I think Picard would then get the spot as he's more offensively oriented and apart from Timonen, there isn't anyone else on their depth chart who would fill that role.

    Forwards: The top line would almost certainly be anchored by Briere and Gagne. On their right side I would probably insert Knuble. However, I feel that if Lupul gets back on track he has the potential to pot 30 goals as early as this year and become a 40-goal scorer (if he lives up to his potential that is) so it might be interesting to see him inserted here. For the second line I'd put Hartnell and Carter down for sure, and the other of Lupul and Knuble. While Upshall has the potential to earn a top-6 role, it's more productive to let him hone his skills as a 2-way forward while Lupul gets a chance to redeem himself, as I don't see Lupul having much of a role on a 2-way line. My third line, as I've already indicated, would be oriented around a 2-way line that could also score. This would include Upshall, Kapanen, and would be centred by Richards. Though I think he as well deserves top-6 ice time I think it'd be much better off going to Carter. My fourth line would consist of Eager, Umberger, and either Downie or Potulny. I'd say keep Downie in the AHL for a year because he'd be better off developing there than playing 7 minutes a night for the Flyers and spending another 10 in the box. Ruzicka should probably also spend a year in the AHL, with a journeyman earning the 13th forward spot. I'd also not specifically guarentee Kapanen to maintain his 3rd line spot as his production is declining and I could even see him being put back on defense as he was at one point in order to add some more offense from the blueline. This would open up 3rd line minutes for Umberger.

    Stat Predictions:
    (These are the upper limits of what I think the players could hit if they had a problem free year/These are the worst they could wind up)
    Gagne: 50 goals, 80 points/30 goals, 60 points
    Briere: 35 goals, 100 points/25 goals, 70 points
    Knuble: 30 goals, 60 points/20 goals, 45 points
    Lupul: 30 goals, 50 points/15 goals, 25 points
    Carter: 30 goals, 65 points/20 goals, 40 points
    Hartnell: 35 goals, 60 points/25 goals, 45 points
    Upshall: 20 goals, 40 points/10 goals, 20 points
    Richards: 20 goals, 50 points/10 goals, 30 points
    Kapanen: 15 goals, 35 points/10 goals, 25 points
    Umberger: 25 goals, 40 points/15 goals, 25 points
    Eager, Downie, Ruzicka: not much
    Timonen: 15 goals, 60 points/5 goals, 40 points
    Picard: 10 goals, 35 points/AHL
    All other D: not much

    Biron: 35 wins, <2.40 GAA, >.910 SV%/20 wins, >3.00 GAA, >.890 SV%
    Niittymaki: 15 wins, <2.50 GAA, >.900 SV%/<10 wins, >3.00 GAA, >.890 SV%

  24. Norman280 says:

    ? – UMBERGER (if not traded) – EAGER

    Possible 4th line 



  25. Norman280 says:

    Sorry about that, throw RUZICKA in there instead of GIROUX

  26. WYflyerfan says:

    He actually lost to sweden in the gold medal game in 04.

  27. ronnieh says:

    this website if full of uneducated wannabe hockey fans. first off im a huge flyers fan that admits flyers will be lucky to make playoffs. and second im still laughing about the leafs as stanley cup contenders post. ok so this is what iritates me the most. NITTYMAKI won the mvp of the olympics as well as best goalie in 2006 olympics, im shocked that no one has corrected the first dude and next guy who stated he won mvp in 2002. and another said mvp in world cup 2004. i hope the first poster wasnt canadian cause if so maybe he wasnt born yet in 2002 . 

  28. bernie1parent says:

    ya, i agree, with the young players they have coming up they need some room.

  29. flyer_fly says:




  30. Glucker says:

    you need 23 players to be signed… only have 20

  31. Glucker says:

    see… bolding words is only effective when you use it on a few words… when you bold the whole thing ppl just tend to skip over what you wrote

  32. Glucker says:

    who said we where contenders? cuz as it stands… we are far from it… lock for the playoffs, but not cup winners…

  33. habsrock99 says:

    ok, i'm sorry about bursting any Philly fans bubble but i hate to break it to ya but Biron isn't a "star" goalie and he isn't even a proven #1. Philly's in the same situation as Toronto in goaltending, both traded for unproven goalies and expect the play offs on a silver platter. Here's Biron's career stats:

    Year       Team  GP  W-L-T/OTL     GAA   SV%
    95-96   Buffalo    3   0-2-0            5.05  .844
    98-99   Buffalo    6   1-2-1            2.14  .914
    99-00   Buffalo  41  19-18-2          2.42  .909
    00-01   Buffalo  18    7-7-1           2.55  .909
    01-02   Buffalo  72  31-28-10        2.22  .915
    02-03   Buffalo  54  17-28-6          2.56  .908
    03-04   Buffalo  52  26-18-5          2.52  .913
    05-06   Buffalo  35  21-8-3            2.89  .905
    06-07   Buffalo  19  12-4-1            3.04  .899
                Philly    18   6-8-2             3.02  .908 
           9 Years    316  140-123-25-6  2.55  .909

    Then you get into the fact that Biron has never played an NHL play off game. But, I'll tell you right now that if Biron and Niittymakii split the duties roughly 50/50 or 55/45, the Flyers will make the play offs. But if Biron is your #1, then it'll be what I think it's going to be, the Flyers, Habs and Leafs battling each other for the 7th and 8th. Also, take it from someone who knows about unproven goalies, Biron is a great back up until he gets you to the play offs, much like Huet in Montreal.

  34. wadeaminute says:

    I do see that i made a mistake, it was just a typo. Plus it isnt that big of a deal, wow he won it in 2006. big deal. To be honest, what Canadian fan actually watched the 2006 olympics after they lost to the Swiss? Im tired of ppl like you who just correct small stuff like that, wow! Im a Leafs fan and I can do a full team anlyis of any team in the NHL, thats good enough for me. I did a big article about the flyers, who we hate in toronto, just because no one else did one, come on, give a break.

  35. ronnieh says:

    so saying 'the mvp he won in 2002 that was like 5 yrs ago' that whole line was a typo? also i never said it was a big deal he won it. and i never said anything about watching in 2006, but i guess i am in the wrong for pointing out you're sentence "typo" . sorry bout that!lol

  36. ace5135 says:

    The most improved team in the offseason. 

  37. WYflyerfan says:

    I understand that stats are a big part of the game but there are more to a player then that. It is apparent that you didn't watch him play in Philly. He is alot more fundamentally sound then any prior gaolies since hextall. He has very few rebounds and the ones he does have are controlled. With him the Flyers have a better chance of winning, so that makes him a #1 goalie (not a brodeur but a #1).

  38. bernie1parent says:

    like you said, look at his stats.  Its more about the save percentage then it is about the GAA, because he was surrounded by a horrendous buffalo team pre lock out.  In the years that he played 50% of the games or moree, he had an average of a .910 save percentage.  That comes out to a 2.7gaa on a bad team, which is not bad in hockey now days.  
    Look at his stats with philly from last year, a .908 save and a 3gaa, now with a defense which is vastly improved.
    Last years ending d

    to this years
    his gaa should drop dramatically and the quality of chances opposing teams should get will be less, and he should also face less shots.
    He is a number one goalie, just not an all star.

  39. habsrock99 says:

    it gives him the title of #1, doesn't actually mean he is a #1. Trust me, Huet gets the same type of hype and I've been saying he isn't a #1 goalie. Biron is much like Raycroft, he may win ya 30 games but he doesn't steal games. Now, if John Stevens is as smart of a coach as everyone seems to think he is, he would not start Biron for over 60 games. He would give Biron 50 and Nittymakii 30. Nittymakii is a solid goaltender who was injured all of lat year and played through his injuries. I believe that if Biron plays over 60 games, Philly is gonna be on the outside looking in. And also, if you look at his stats, his GAA and SV% have steadily decreased over his career with a few exceptions. And also, last March when Philly got him, they had nothing to lose so they just went out and played and managed to do well, much like what Pittsburgh did the year before the lockout. And, just a last thought, Biron played with the huge ass pads and blocker and trapper, which is another reason as to why his GAA and SV% have gone down. Much like another former Habs goalie, Jose Theodore.

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