Where Next?? Philly Edition
Now that the Stanley cup finals is over and done with, and the heartache of another year out of my system, I feel it is time to look objectively at what the flyers need to do in order to win next year (assuming of course there is a next year)
First and foremost, if anything good has come out of the playoffs, the flyers now know they have a solid goaltender for the future. How many years has this position been a question mark in the flyers off-season plans? I think it is safe to say Esche has become the flyers goaltender for the future, and you can even make a case for Niitimaki (sp??) being a solid upcoming goalie as well.
Not onto the forwards. The flyers have some holes to fill this off-season-Free agents including Mark Recchi, Keith Primeau, Kapanen, Zhamnov, Malakov, and Sean Burke are all unrestricted. Clarke has already made it public that he is going to try his hardest to resign Malakov, Zhamnov and PRimeau before all others. I have no problem with that. PRimeau earned another contract the way he carried the team in the playoffs, and Malakov has shown he can still play. I don’t see them bringing back Sean Burke (bring up niitimaki that fine with me) or even mark recchi…maybe they will offer him an offer after July 1st who knows. Kapanen has been rumored to retire to the European league, and that will be a huge loss to the team if he does in fact leave.
PErsonally i think they need to get younger. Luckily they have some great youth in their system to bring up and help in that department. I have heard nothing but good things about Jeff Carter and Brad Richards, their two first rounder last season. Sounds good to me.
Defense is something i don’t think they need to mess with too much. The trick is if Dejardins can stay healthy for an extended period of time. With him, Johnson (who really stepped up his game this year), Markov and possibly Malakov, this is a good and solid defensive system. Depending on what they plan to do with Seidenberg and Timander, given that Pitkanen is locked down into their plans, I could see no real changes in this department ,other than making one of those two defensmen the odd man out every other game or so.
If i were Clarke, I would concentrate on getting the three top unrestricted free agents under contract. Then worry about what to do with John LeClair and Tony Amonte. I love these guys, especially John because he was and is a real warrior. But age and money issues could hold the team back. AS much as i hate saying this, but i think its time for them to go, even if it means taking on a chunk of their salaries, and my guess is it will be a huge chunk, and get as much as you can for them, young talented players would be the best.
The thing that makes me worry the most is that there might not be a season next year. IF this does happen the flyers are in a much worse place then they are if there is one. AT that point, everyone will be a year older and a year slower and a year closer to retirement. And the flyers don’t have that much youth in the wings to make up for all that.
please god let some kind of accord happen between the sides and let there be hockey!!!