Philly's defence is scary… and not in a good way.
Why hasn’t Clarke done anything to address the most obvious of problems for the Flyers? I remember feeling good about the signing of Hatcher and Rathje. Ahhh those were the good ole days. The blissful ignorance of what the new NHL would turn into. As it turns out, paying Hatcher and Rathje a combined 7 million is not a good thing!
Clarke really needs to pull his thumb out and get to work on revamping the large, pylon-like defence that got ravaged by Buffalo in the playoffs. Make no mistake, there is more to come in the near future for the Flyers if changes aren’t made. Hatcher, for all the talk about his defensive awareness, was barely on the good side of the +/- scale. At least on the surface, Rathje’s stats look a bit better, but he is hardly going to win any fastest skater awards at the annual All Star comp. The problem is that both players lack lateral speed and lateral speed is everything if you can’t clutch and grab.
I can’t see the Baumgartner move actually addressing the problem. He might help, but he is a 5th or 6th dman at best. The same can be said about Gauthier. I am hoping for Meyer to step up and make a difference, but is he ready for top 4 defencemen minutes? I’m not sure.
Pitkanen looks to be the only shining light on that back line, but as good as he is, he cannot carry the entire defensive corps. Maybe Keith’s salary will be able to go toward a trade deadline signing. One thing is for sure, this defence is not going to bring the Cup back home to Philly.