Senators Take Over Roman Empire, Which Stars Will Fall? Possible Trade Talks

Roman Cechmanek has pretty much proven himself as an inconsistent and liable goaltender. Should he stay with the Flyers?

Stars will fall, which ones though?

And…..some possible trades that may happen.
It has come to a conclusion that Roman Cechmanek is far from getting Elite status. An elite goaltender plays beyond superb, and Cechmanek is also far from being a superb goaltender. I will admit that he is decent-to-good goalie, just not good enough! It was foolish to make comparisons between Cechmanek and Hasek, except for the fact that both have and unorthodox style. However, Hasek was a proven winner and a goalie who led his teams far into the playoffs. Cechmanek does not have the ability to do that. But why? Is it because he chokes? No, I think because he is just not good enough. He is a goalie that primarily uses his size as top skill. A goalie that tends to move two to three feet out of the crease, kneeling down before the opponent makes any kind of plays, is not a good goalie. His reflexes are very poor since he tends to let in a lot of the far away slap/wrist shots on or right afer the Flyers blueline. Do not deny it, his regular season numbers are quite misleading since he was playing for a top NHL team with a top defense. Take Eddie Belfour for example. The guy is 6, 7 years older than Cechmanek, and when his team (Leafs) were incapable of doing anythin offensively and defensively, Belfour kept them in the game.

Sorry Flyers fans, Cechmanek is just not good enough!

Tom Hicks and Stars GM Doug Armstrong will meet to evaluate the Stars roster, and it was reported that Hicks will not allow the payroll to pass the current $66M mark. Derian Hatcher is an unrestricted free agent and Marty Turco a restricted free agent. Both players will demand a high raise. Hatcher must certainly be kept, even if he looked horrible on the searies winner scored by the Ducks. So which players should be moved in order to make room for Hatcher’s and Turco’s new salaries for next season? Matvichuck has been mentioned in many rumors, so he may be dealt. Daryl Sydor is another option. Erskine is probably going to be ready for next season, and that should make it certain that one veteran defenseman may leave. Also, Pierre Turgeon’s hefty salary may also be cut. However, it will be very difficult to trade the aging forward. The Stars will most likely be quiet in the off-season with the free agency market, but they will be busy tweaking their team for the 2003-2004 season.

Goin back to Flyers hockey, lots of talk about the team next season. First name that comes in mind is Roman Cechmanek. I admit he is a decent-to-good goalie, and teams like the Boston Bruins, LA Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, and even the Carolina Hurricanes may be interested in Cechmanek’s services. He is in his early 30′s, he will not win the Cup with the Flyers, but his market value is quite high now. That means that the Philadelphia Flyers must trade him. If Roy retires, the NHL will face a shortage on goaltenders, and any goaltender who is available has high value.

Teams that need a starter:

Avalanche (if Roy retires)

Blues (hey, he Wasgood)

Bruins (Huck-it didn’t cut it!)

LA Kings (questioning re-signing Potvin)

Coyotes (if Sean Burke is traded to….)

Carolina Hurricanes (if they miss out on draftee Andre-Fleury)

Islanders (if they feel that Snow-DiPietro tandem might not be good enough, I think it is though)

Those are a lot of teams that are, or could be, in the hunt for a starting goaltender. The Flyers should receive negotiating offers from at least three teams. The Bruins, the Hurricanes (bringing Brind’Amour back), and LA Kings. Sean Burke would be the best goalie available to land, but the Coyotes asking price is just too much, unless they will allow Bobby Clarke to rip them off again after more than once. Also, would Clarke bring back Burke? Probably not. The Flyers may head back to negotiating with the Buffalo Sabres, but this time it will probably not concern Miro Satan or Alexei Zhitnik. Martin Biron is available, not doubt about it. The Sabres are deep in goaltending depth and Ryan Miller will most likely be ready to share nets with Noronen. The Flyers must first trade Cechmanek and in return they would have to receive the players that will replace the ones to be traded for Biron; addition by subtraction. Gagne would most likely be the main player headed to the Sabres, he would fit perfectly. Martin Biron would give the Flyers their goalie of the future. He is 25 years of age, has great skills and has the ability to win a game by himself, as he has done for the struggling Sabres.

I say trade Cechmanek to the Hurricanes for Rod Brind’Amour and then trade Simon Gagne and a drfat pick, or a youngster like Chouinard, for Martin Biron. It will be unlikely that the Flyers could land Miro Satan. New ownership wants to keep top key players on the Sabres.

The Flyers may also want to reshape their defensive corps. Eric Desjardins and Dmitry Yushkevich are the only UFA players the Flyers have. Should they re-sign them? It depends at what price. Eric Desjardins bounced back very well, but if he is looking for a raise then he may not come back with the Flyers. Also, Desjardins was of no help on the Flyers PP. Dmitry Yushkevich should be re-signed, or maybe not. He may be looking to sign a $3.5M per year offer, and I ask Flyers fans, is he worth it? Bottom line is, the Flyers should at least cut two defensemen loose. Therien is another option, but it wouldn’t be easy to draw interest from teams. Pitkanen will most likely make the Flyers line up next season. However, he won’t turn the PP around. If the Rangers and Brian Leetch failt to come to an agreement, then the Flyers should make an offer to Brian Leetch. He is superb on special teams, especially on 5-3 pk’s, and he would be of huge help for Kim Johnsson’s and Pitkanen’s future.

A lot of trade talks regarding the top draft picks in this year’s draft. Montreal may seek a top 3 overall pick. That means they may have to deal at least a top prospect, their 1st round pick, and a decent starter. The Canadiens will make a lot of offers, but it will be unlikely for them to complete any deals for the top three picks.

The Florida Panther may make a blockbuster trade on draft day, bigger than the Yashin deal! The Boston Bruins are looking for a permanent starting goaltender. The Florida Panthers have the 1st overall pick and may think about talking to the Bruins about their needs. Florida may trade Roberto Luongo to the Bruins for Sergei Samsonov and Nick Boynton, and then they Panthers would draft Andre Fleury. Risky move? Without a doubt. It may be that the Bruins may want to deal their 1st rounder and Sergei Samsonov in order to draft Andre Fleury. Samsonov is also a RFA this year.

The Carolina Hurricanes will also talk to the Florida Panthers about the 1st overall pick. The Hurricanes will most likely be aiming at Andre Fleury as well. Carolina should be crossing their fingers that the Panthers will not make any kind of trades that may let the Hurricanes miss out on Fleury.

As mentioned earlier, the Dallas Stars may want to trade Matvichuk, especially since his contract expires next month. Teams like the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, and Black Hawks may be interested in acquiring Matvichuck.

Another defenseman mentioned many times last month was Roman Hamrlik of the Islanders. Since acquiring Janne Niinimaa (RFA), the Islanders may want to trim their payroll to re-sign their defensemen and make room to land a winger. Teams that are looking for a defenseman, like the ones mentioned above, may also be looking to land Hmrlik.

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim are still in the playoffs. The flock is looking sharp, but their needs still have to be addressed. Grit and toughness. The Ducks may sign tough wingers likes Chris Simon, Jim McKenzie, Sandy McCarthy, Darren McCarty, Shane Corson, and others available as UFA, or they may even land a tough guy like PJ Stock, Reed Low, maybe even Donald Brashear. He was of little use in the playoffs.

That’s it for now!

’till next time……….

….ta…ta..