By Kevin K
I am officially back! If you haven't noticed, I took a couple week hiatus from the Philly Phans page to take a little bit of a break. I won't lie to you, I was seriously thinking about ending the Philly Phans two weeks ago because of how much time it was taking from my life, but then something big happened that changed my mind completely. Both Jeff Carter and Mike Richards were traded the day after I went on hiatus and the Flyers announced the signing of Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9 year contract.
This opened up my eyes more than anything because I wasn't the first one there posting the moves on the Philly Phans page.
Now after two endless weeks, I finally will give you me thoughts on the moves the Flyers have made in the past two weeks. As soon as I heard the both Carter and Richards were traded my first reaction (like many) was WTF. WTF are the Flyers doing to their team and why is Bryzgalov coming off as the Yoko Ono who broke up the Flyers. And then I got to really thinking. In my mind the Flyers did something the Eagles, 76ers, and Phillies wouldn't do and that is get rid of the players that couldn't put you over the top. In 2009-2010, the Flyers made a great Stanley Cup run only to lose to the Chicago Blackhawks. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter had another year to prepare and to prove they were on the best team in the NHL in the 2010-2011 season. The thought looked great in the beginning of the year and then the Flyers changed. The Flyers offense was playing lazy and not scoring. So what did the Flyers do? They traded away the two stars of the team who couldn't put them over the top. Look at the 2001 76ers. Allen Iverson was at the top of his game, but could not put the 76ers over the top. The Sixers then wouldn't trade Iverson at max value because of just that, he was a star. The 2004-2005 Philadelphia Eagles lead by QB Donovan McNabb. The prime of his career and he couldn't get the Eagles over the top. It took five more years before McNabb was moved, five years too late. Neither Iverson nor McNabb got their Philadelphia teams back to the Championships. Could this mean that Richards and Carter wouldn't either? Possibly.
Now we all knew it was going to take some money to sign Bryzgalov, money in which the Flyers cleared quickly by trading Carter and then Richards. Yes the Flyers lost two key offensive stars, but it takes goaltending to win a Stanley Cup, and the Flyers haven't had a good, solid goalie like Bryzgalov since Hextall. Now we know how good Bryzgalov was in the NHL before joining the Flyers, and for his sake I hope he plays and wins multiple championships for the Flyers, if not he will forever be known as the Yoko Ono of the Flyers.
Now to Free Agency, the ULTIMATE WTF! The Flyers not only brought in Jagr, but also Talbot (both former Penguins and hated rivals of the Flyers). Many fans are still going crazy over these moves, but I say let it be. The Flyers now have players playing in their NATURAL positions and not looking to move centers to wingers. They have the offense to continue scoring even without Richards and Carter. Jagr is a great pick up for the Power Play, which the Flyers were so bad on in the playoffs and Talbot is a great pick up for the Penalty Kill, which will be even better this season because of him.
Many fans are still scratching their heads over the complete overhaul change of the Flyers for the upcoming season, but the Flyers may actually be better than they were in 2010-2011.
The key to being a better team was signing the goalie, which they have done. The Flyers still have some cap space to make another move, whether via trade or Free Agency.
Keep an eye open the next few days on what the Flyers will do.
FORMER FLYER WATCH
Ville Leino signed a deal with the Buffalo Sabres. Leino was a key to the Flyers offense the past two seasons, but a dispute with money forced the Flyers hand to let him test the market.
Brian Boucher signed a deal with Carolina. You do not get much classier than Boucher and I am one who is very happy he landed with a team. After the signing of Bryzgalov there was no room on the roster for Boucher.
Dan Carcillo and his suspension signs with the Chicago Blackhawks. Carbomb joins the squad that beat the Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup and brings grittiness to the Blackhawks team. Many Flyers fans will miss him, I really will not.
Sean O'Donnell also joined the Blackhawks. The veteran defenseman played one year with the Flyers and showed great leadership qualities with the team.
Simon Gagne joined Flyers West in the LA Kings. Gagne was rumored to be in pursuit by the Flyers, but he joins his former teammate Mike Richards in LA.
Kris Versteeg was traded to the Florida Panthers. Versteeg was acquired by the Flyers during the 2011 season and looked to make his back to the Stanley Cup. He did not and found himself traded by the Flyers in the offseason.