There’s a long way to go in the short 48-game season, but make no mistake about it, the Flyers have sputtered out of the gate.
This week produced a lot of rumors in the hockey world and many involved the Flyers. This familiar pattern of rumors seems to happen every time the Flyers lose a decent number of games in any given stretch during the season.
While there is cause for concern, it is still very early. Much has been mentioned regarding the Flyers 3-7-1 start in 1994-95 during the lockout shortened season. We know that they finished 2nd in the East that year, albeit with a better roster top to bottom.
The situation begs the question: If the Flyers continue to sputter with mediocre hockey as time goes on here, how far are the Flyers willing to go to put a band aid on it? The Flyers made bold moves in the summer of 2011 in getting younger and changing the locker room culture. It’s doubtful the powers that be would want things blown up so soon after that.
The challenge the Flyers face is that in a short 48-game season every team is in it and it’s somewhat unknown territory to know when to pull the plug on your trade bait.
The asking prices are sure to be high and one has to wonder: How far will Paul Holmgren go in this abbreviated season?
According to reliable reports around the league last year, the Flyers were pretty unwilling to discuss Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier which is understandable.
The Flyers first obvious need is defense, however early in the year the Flyers offense wasn’t strong either. The need to replace Jaromir Jagr and James van Riemsdyk offensively has shown it’s ugly head.
The Flyers would love to make a run for a Corey Perry or Jarome Iginla in the offseason, but would they be willing to part with young players now to make a deal happen if either of those players’ teams isn’t playing well later in the year?
How much would the Flyers be willing to part with to give them a better chance at the Cup this year, knowing they can try to throw a bucket of cash at those guys this offseason without giving up young talent? The price will likely be high with the Flyers going against division rivals for big names that may be out there.
The probable answer: A bit. Paul Holmgren and his predecessor Bob Clarke have never been known as guys to go down with the ship. If things aren’t looking like they will be turned around in due time, history suggests the Flyers won’t lay off the panic button.
The Flyers love young forward Scott Laughton but may be willing to part with him in the right move. A lot of the Flyers ‘touchables’ have moved on such as James van Riemsdyk to Toronto in the Luke Schenn deal, and even goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, which makes a deal harder.
Who would have thought goaltending would be the least of the Flyers concerns at this point? With the stellar play of Ilya Bryzgalov, that is certainly the case.
In desperate times, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren has been known to go to desperate measures.
This current Flyers team is extremely unlikely to win the Stanley Cup the way it’s put together. The top reason for that by far is team defense, followed by scoring depth. The Flyers have good forwards but they are missing a true scoring winger to play on the team’s top line. Paul Holmgren knows that, and he’s always looking to upgrade.
All we have at this point are questions.The answers will be filled in shortly enough. Will the team considering rolling the dice and dealing for an impending free agent with a guy like forward Matt Read or possibly a Schenn this year? No. Will they make a huge identity changing move if things don’t improve in the short season? No. Will the team make a move prior to the late trade deadline this year? Bank on it.
Justin Johnson is a Senior Correspondent and has been covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers since the 2008-09 season. Justin has covered all levels of hockey across the United States and Canada. Justin is a graduate of Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ and currently resides in Southern New Jersey.