Orange & Black Breakdown
by Vindisi on 02/17/12 at 05:54 PM ET
Marc and I have teamed up on this edition of Flyerside Chats with our predictions of what will transpire by next week’s trade deadline. We touch on the big names being thrown out there from Nashville to Columbus. We also give you our opinions over the Flyers chances of winning Lord Stanley’s Cup (our opinions may surprise you). So sit back on this beautiful Friday in February, pop open a brew, and enjoy this friendly banter after the jump…
Marc: What the hell happened last night? An offensive outburst…at home!? Seven unanswered goals, both against the always-problematic backup and and his elite, albeit temporary understudy? And on top of it all, the team as a whole got deeper with the addition of Grossman. Where do we even begin?
Vindisi: Let’s first start with Grossman. I said this before they made the trade - it’s tough having 1 twenty-two year old defenseman, let alone 2 (MAB & Gus) come playoff time, but this is just what the doctor ordered. This will help a struggling Penalty Kill clear bodies and block shots (he led the Stars in blocked shots), while freeing up some other players from logging the heavy minutes. The Rangers wouldn’t be where they are without the team commitment to blocking shots, as it has helped mask a lot of their vulnerabilities that they had coming into the season (young blue line, lack of scoring depth, etc.). Grossman may want to hold a seminar for some of the Flyers on the proper way to block shots, since the only two guys off the top of my head that truly have it down to a science are Timonen and Talbot. I understand that with an influx of young talent comes the vulnerability of defensive lapses, but there have been times throughout the season where guys seem to be too cute with their block techniques, which leads to far too many deflections past our beleaguered goalie. Do you see this having an overall impact like I do, or do you see them making another splash for another defenseman to shore up defensive depth?
I’m sure he’ll be able to provide that JAM that Lavvy is looking for
Marc: I think having another NHL level defenseman in the fold will do wonders to help sure up the simply grotesque play around the Flyers net, but I don’t think the Flyers are done either. With Luke Schenn being a healthy scratch in Toronto for a few games now, I really think Homer and BB might be kicking the tires to see what can happen here. Schenn represents a long term defensive option, and with a change of scenery and a brother by his side to push him he might be able to become that player everyone expects of him in Toronto.
In my strictly hypothetical la-la land, the Flyers might be able to send Burkie his dream forward in JVR and maybe a prospect for Schenn and Toronto’s 1st in 2012. I don’t advocate jettisoning JVR for peanuts, but this team simply has too many big minute forwards to really get maximum value out of their presence in the roster, and that pick could be combined with Philly’s in the offseason to move up in the draft to acquire a blue chip defenseman like Trouba or Reinhart. Finish out the trade deadline with a shutdown veteran role player and the Flyers are set for both the short and long term with a good balance of offense and defense. What do you think might happen before all is said and done? Do you think they will stand pat, make a big splash, or fall somewhere in between??
Part of me wants JVR to stay since I got my sister his jersey for Christmas
Vindisi:This is the perfect case of the grass being greener on the other side. We know what we have yet we want something else because we haven’t experienced it. I see them standing pat and keeping JVR because he has the ability to carry a team, which is rare to find in this league. (Flashback: he was the best player on the ice against the Stanley Cup Champions last year) Defense comes first, but I feel a dominant offensive forecheck is the best defense. Case in point, last Sunday’s Red Wings game. Flyers had no chance at a comeback because the Red Wings were forechecking the Flyers into the ground.
Back to JvR: He has yet to show us that playoff form, but it will come with experience (only 22). The only move I see them making is for Hal Gill. Imagine going against him, Grossman, Coburn, and Mez. The front porch just got a lot scarier and it gives a huge boost to our centers who are all relatively small. Plus it leaves you open to be players on the Nashville horses come free agency this summer. Do you see them jumping in on the Nashville treasure this offseason? If so, which one? (UPDATED: GILL TRADED TO NASHVILLE)
Marc: The only reason why I look at JVR is due to the emergence of Simmonds and how well the team has fared without him (for the most part) this season. As guys like Schenn and Couturier develop, the question of which talent you want to keep begins to emerge. Simply put, there usually isn’t room for everyone (See - Chicago and Big Buff’, although they had the luxury of doing so after winning the cup). If we can get long term value out of a deal such as a young D-man on a relatively inexpensive, long-term contract ($3.6M a year for 5 years - a mere 500K more than his brother’s rookie contract including bonuses), it might make sense to do so. If it doesn’t happen then it doesn’t happen, and we’re left watching a studly power forward develop some more (woe is us). I just believe the assets can be balanced out a bit.
Your plan has a very nice ring to it in regards to this season. That would be a menacing top four again, all things considered. I love the idea of Weber in Orange and Black too, but I just don’t know if Nashville would ever be able to part ways with him. These guys are going to be demanding top dollar contracts, and I don’t know if I want the Flyers to skew their relatively stable pay structure (excluding Bryz and Pronger’s contracts) to get in on the mix, just like I wouldn’t want them to do it for Rick Nash. A Nashville blockbuster has the Flyers written all over it, though - and given the amount of assets the Flyers have, it might not be all that bad (Let’s be real, the Flyers have done fine since emptying the cupboard for Pronger and you know it).
There are tons of options; if they make another move (or not), do you think the Flyers are legit cup contenders this year?
Anonymous report: A masked man terrorized the front porch of the Sabres last night
Vindisi: That, my friend, is one thing I haven’t been able to put a finger on throughout this rough stretch. This team is young and is struggling to get through the 82 game gamut. It’s a war of attrition and has caused everyone on the team to miss time except for 5 guys (Kimmo being the biggest surprise on that list with the pounding he takes). Whoever comes in hot and healthy may take it down this year. The thing with the Flyers, and the Penguins for that matter, is that they haven’t been at full strength all year, yet they sit right in the middle of the pack for a playoff spot. On the other side of the spectrum, the Rangers and Bruins have had the benefit of rolling through this season with very little adversity (much like the Flyers experienced last year). Now I’m not saying that the luck will eventually run out on those two teams, but it’s not out of the question that they might hit a rough patch at some point. The adversity this team has faced is a huge positive in the long run and can only benefit such a young team. If the Flyers could find that perfect mix, which includes the aggressive Lavvy forecheck with a strong net presence at both ends of the ice, than I do not see why they couldn’t challenge every team in the East for a bid at the Stanley Cup.
Problem with what I am doing is that the pieces (healthy team) and stars (run into a scuffling/shorthanded team) would have to align perfectly. On any given night with the full compliment of rest, this team can beat anybody. The problem is in the playoffs, you don’t get much time to relax, and the Flyers struggles at home worries me (young kids squeezing their sticks too tight, coming out too fast in the first period, etc.). Last night was the first time I’ve seen them use the crowd to their advantage and fully eliminate any possibility of a comeback from the opponent. If this killer instinct comes into effect within the next few weeks, than my viewpoints will surely have changed. But if I were to be honest with myself and not a homer, I have stepped off the highest point of the mountain and do not see this team as a Stanley Cup contender. This team has a lot of growing up to do (physically and mentally). The loss of a stalwart on the back-end will not be replaced via trade, therefore the forwards are going to have to step their game up on both ends of the ice. Are you refraining from the kool-aid like myself or do you see a 2009 type run lying in the weeds where everything clicks come playoff time?
Marc: The more I think about it, the more I believe next year might be the year the Flyers can finally bring a parade down Broad Street. They have an outside shot this year depending on how things fall, but to me the Rangers and King Hank look scary good right now and I really think it’s going to be tough to knock them off their game. I’m hoping for a solid showing in the playoffs that gives this young team a taste, but also gives them something to really fight for next year. The defense might look a lot different, but you can bet that Bryz will be coming into next year looking to prove this season (regardless of how it ends) was an aberration. This team reminds me of the Blackhawks a bit before they were able to figure it all out and end the long Chicago draught; here’s to hoping I’m not too far off I guess.
That being said, if this team picks up a scent and starts to get rolling, they have the young secondary scoring that could put them over the top. A second wind from the young guys would go a long way in winning a toughly battled war to four.
Lets Go Flyers!
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The Orange & Black Breakdown looks to be the ultimate, around the clock source for news and information on the Philadelphia Flyers organization and it’s ever-present quest for the Stanley Cup. Focusing on what the team can do to achieve success is the ultimate goal.
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