As the Stanley Cup Playoffs get started and the NHL Draft comes closer, the time to panic is upon us. Already trade rumors have started and because of the position the Flyers have forced themselves into, this will be a very stressful trade season. TSN’s Bob McKenzie dropped some news on unsuspecting Flyers fans last week via twitter.
That’s right, the Flyers are supposedly planning on some big moves, but here’s why both of those moves are tricky for the team.
Let’s start with the first of McKenzie’s tweets. It has been highly speculated, for a while now, that the Flyers would be buying out Bryz. With $5.67 million a year for 8 more years, Bryz is definitely taking up some much needed cap space. His unreal contract of 51 million over 10 years gained a lot of criticism from the beginning and fans felt even worse about the deal when Bryz proved that he wasn’t exactly reliable in every game. Since his first season, fans have believed that he would be bought out, but this may not be the right time for that. If it were 2012 and Bobrovsky was still our backup I’d agree with any type of buyout, but that’s not the case. Our recent backup, Steve Mason hasn’t had a long enough role in Philadelphia for us to know for sure that he’s a decent and stable goalie. At the end of the shortened season, Mason had a few starts to officially integrate him to the team. In those starts Mason proved a very talented second choice, but here’s why I wouldn’t move him up to starter just yet. If Bryzgalov goes this season, we will be in the same goaltending situation that we were last season. We’ll be left with one starting goalie who will be expected to carry every game for a full season. In the shortened season Bryz’s performance suffered because of exhaustion, playing every game with no real hope of relief. Right now Mason is Bryz’s backup, but if we lose Bryz, Mason doesn’t have a reliable backup that we could turn to. Mason will face the same problems that Bryz did last season. Besides the problem of extended action, Mason hasn’t had a very extensive run yet, we can’t be sure that he will be at the same level in every game yet. In other words, he hasn’t been fully tested yet. To bring him from a few games at the end of a doomed season to the starter wouldn’t be too smart. If the Flyers want to get rid of Bryz, it would do them good to suffer through another season with the Russian as their starter, integrate Mason and build him to be a starter and then next season buy Bryz out.
And that’s the goalie situation, but in one day we were delivered 2 major bombs and now we face the loss of either B. Schenn or Sean Couturier.
We need defense that much is painfully obvious to all fans and with this season being veteran Kimmo Timonen’s final season, we are going to need a very good D-man to step up and fill his position. Obviously the Flyers are in the market for a seasoned veteran defenseman, they would rather acquire someone who knows what they’re doing than take the time to home grow a #1 defenseman from rookie status. Because of the moves the Flyers have made in the past, they’d have no choice but to trade away one of their less developed core players. Both Schenn and Couturier have yet to reach their potential with the Flyers, Schenn less so than Coots, but it’s not likely that one of them will reach that potential here in Philly. The organization would need a top defenseman, someone who is already well established around the league and unfortunately a player like that doesn’t come cheap and Schenn and Couturier are prime bargaining chips for a top blue liner. This move obviously poses a threat to the Flyers overall scoring threat, but with the draft coming up the Flyers might be expecting to fill their spot with another rookie. The choice of a new rookie Forward over a rookie Defenseman is obvious, a Defenseman is harder to train and bring up to potential than a Forward; a very small amount of star D-men actually reach their potential on the team they were drafted to.
Some Potential Defensive choices were named for the trade including Phoenix Cyotes Keith Yandle, who seems to be a favorite. Other speculations included Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators and Islanders Mark Streit. A better case can be made for Yandle, however, as Broad Street Nation shows in their recent article: 2013 Flyers offseason: Revisiting the Keith Yandle trade discussions.
Get ready Flyers fans, this off-season is already proving to be a stressful one. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the fan favorites will be let go, much to the dismay of fans, along with some of the older forward players. Brace yourselves fans as the FakeLavy twitter says.