Busy off-season for Philly?
The Philadelphia Flyers were one of the most talented teams (on paper) in the league. They were the natural favorites to win the eastern conference, and with good reason. They signed Jeremy Roenick (1,000 point scorer), John LeClair (50 goal scorer thrice), Simon Gagne (superb young talent, whose scoring numbers have improved each year), Roman Cechmanek (Vezina runner-up the year before), and after the deadline, they picked up Adam Oates, the best playmaer in the league. Now, the Flyers will be looking to add MORE talent, and I’ll look a the pros and cons of some of the rumored moves.First and foremost, I want to talk about free agent signings. The two big names that keep floating around are Bill Guerin and Tony Amonte. It is feasable that one of them could end up in Philly. Personally, I wouldlike to see Amonte in orange and black, but I think that Guerin is more likely to become a Flyer. Guerin is a good talent, and would improve the team’s scoring, but weren’t the Flyers one of the top scoring teams in the NHL for most of the regular season? Do they really ned MORE scoring? Especially with Ken Hitchcock and his defense first system. I would pass on Guerin, and work on gettin the aforementined scorers (Gagne, Roenick, Oates, John LeClair, not to mention Mark Recchi and Keith Primeau) scoring again. Another rumor that is floating around is that the Flyers will sign a goalie (Curtis Joseph if Domonik Hasek doesn’t retire, and Byron Dafoe if he does). I don’t undestand this either. Cechmanek will probably be traded, which leaves Boucher as the starter. I would rather have Boucher, a talented young goalie, than some older free agent goalie. Boucher has shown flashes of greatness, and he’s only going to get better if he plays more. I would pass on a star goalie, resign Boucher, and get a veteran backup.
The Flyers are probobly going to try to improve themselves in more ways than just free agent signings. There have been a lot a trade rumors floating around (some as far fetched as the Flyers trading Recchi for Anaheim Mighty Duck winger Paul Kariya), but the two that I think may have some truth in them involve two Czechs. The first one is Jiri Dopita. He came into Philadelphia hailed as the best player in the world that’s not in the NHL, finishing the season with disappointing stats (11G, 16A), and he missed 30 games. With the addition of Oates at the trade deadline, the Flyers no longer need Jiri Dopita. From what I’ve heard, it seems like Dopita will end up in Edmonton, with the Flyers gettng either Ethan Moreau or Anson Carter, Moreau the more likely, in my opinion. I would accept just about any deal sending Dopita to the Western Conference in a heartbeat. He won’t play in Philly (because of Oates), and he won’t have a chance to hurt the Flyers if he plays for Edmonton. This is one move i would definitely make.
The other Czech that is on the trading block is none other than Cechmanek. Where he ends up depends mostly on who wins the Stanley Cup. If Detroit wins, then Hasek will retire, which will make things more complicated. Cechmaek could end up in any number of cities, including NY (Rangers), Dallas, Boston, Toronto, or maybe even St. Louis. I’m not to sure where he’ll be next year, or what the Flyers will get for him, but getting rid of him is a good idea because it solidifies Boucher as the starter.
So in conculsion, I think the best bet for the Flyers would be to pass on the big free agents, resign Luke Richardson and Boucher, trade Cechmanek and Dopita, and wrk with the imense talent they already have. Hopefully Hitchcock will get them to perform at least near their potential. If they do, the Flyers will be a SERIOUS Cup contender.