Notable players obtained: Luke Schenn(TOR), Ruslan Fedotenko(NYR)
Drafted Scott Laughton- 1st round, 20th overall
The Philadelphia Flyers have not had a kind offseason handed to them as they've seen far more talent depart compared to what GM Paul Holmgren received in return. Before the draft, the Flyers traded highly touted backup goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to Columbus for 3 draft picks and promoted Michael Leighton from Adirondack of the AHL. Leighton, if you remember nearly guided the Flyers to a Stanley Cup championship just 3 seasons ago. Following the draft, the Flyers traded James Van Riemsdyk to Toronto for defenseman Luke Schenn. I was very critical of the trade at the time and felt that the Flyers should have gotten far more in return for trading away one of their young scorers. Jaromir Jagr and Matt Carle then left for Dallas and Tampa Bay respectively in search of big raises. Not to mention, the Flyers also missed on Ryan Suter through free agency and Nashville matched the Flyers 14 year, $110 million dollar offer sheet for Shea Weber as a replacement for captain Chris Pronger, whose career may be over. Speaking of injuries, the Flyers have lost defensemen Andrej Meszaros to a torn Achilles tendon while training in Slovakia and Andreas Lilja underwent hip surgery. It didn't help their depth that they waited until the third round to draft a defenseman and do not have any NHL-ready defensive prospects waiting in their farm system. Nick Cousins, the Flyers 3rd round pick in 2011 and considered the Flyers top prospect was recently arrested on sexual assault charges. So as you can see, it has been a brutal offseason for the Flyers. After allowing 26 goals in 6 games to the Penguins in the playoffs and 18 goals in 5 games to New Jersey, Flyer fans should have every right to be upset on how this offseason has gone so far.
Elsewhere, Holmgren has given out big contracts to his own players recently. Braydon Coburn, Nik Grossman, Wayne Simmonds, Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek have all been renewed. Nik Grossman's contract was the most ridiculed, as the 6 year veteran defenseman was signed to a 4 year, $14 million dollar contract with a no trade clause and will likely be on the Flyers third pairing once the season starts up. The terms Holmgren offered to Grossman are especially odd since the big defenseman only has 3 career NHL goals. The gross overpayment of Grossman and numerous other players who recently had contracts renewed have left the Flyers with no wiggle room against the salary cap ceiling.
The Flyers time to win a Cup is now particularly since they are such a high scoring team led by future captain Claude Giroux, but their window to win one is closing. With some of their younger forwards coming up to the end of their cap-friendly entry level contracts, the Flyers will be dependent on their younger forwards, now more than ever to lead them to the promised land.
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Living is eastern PA is a nightmare for a Rangers fan. That being said...nothing makes me happier than to hear how bleak the Flyers season can be! Let's get this season underway so that we can watch the Flyers lose 7 to 6 everynight!!!
I found a positive to the lockout - we'll be able to say it's been "years" since they beat us rather than "months" ;-)
That said, the Flyers seem to always be one of those teams who figure it out so even with this grim outlook, I still expect them to be fighting for the division title whenever the season finally gets underway.