Posts Tagged ‘ Schenn ’

In Nee(D) of Help


Trade rumors are an everyday occurrence in sports and the Philadelphia Flyers are no different than anyone else. Sometimes a change of scenery is all a player needs to boost him to play at a higher level. That is the reasoning that propels many trades in the National Hockey League involving veterans. It’s not always that easy, which is why the success rate when bringing someone in is not always great, remember Kris Versteeg in Philadelphia, but the Flyers try to make moves to better their team during the season almost every year, and, once again this year, a move is imminent. Although it seems to have been put on hold currently.

The backline for the Flyers is stagnant, in need of a definite change to spark some life to it, but is there a viable option in the trade market? Being near the top in the league in scoring is great, however when coupled with ranking in the lower third for goals against it doesn’t help win playoff games, let alone championships.

Erik Gustafsson offered the team some much-needed options, both on the rink and in the front office. With his emergence on the rink as a quality NHL level defensemen the Flyers were rumored to be shopping around Matt Carle, once a stalwart on the blue line when paired with Chris Pronger, who is now plagued by constant turnovers and lackluster effort. The plan seemed to be working smoothly and trading Carle for another defensive option was clearly the way the front office wanted to go, but Gustafsson subsequently injured his wrist and has been placed on long term injured reserve, effectively ending any trade moves for at least 6 weeks.

With more time to stew about the current roster while watching opponents cut through the defense with ease the need gets increasingly more evident from game to game. Whether the Flyers want to bring in a promising young talent or a wily old veteran is moot, something needs to happen for this team to have consistent showings in the future. But, that being said, there’s no reason we can’t speculate. Here are the best possible defensemen that could use a change of scenery.

 Johnny Oduya – The Winnipeg Jets are an oddly built team that is looking for depth throughout their roster. Given that realization, Oduya may be available, for the right price. What is that? To get this young defenseman the Flyers would have to part ways with a player like Brayden Schenn.

 Luke Schenn – If the Flyers are willing to part with their own Schenn, swapping Brayden for his older brother, defenseman Luke Schenn from the Toronto Maple Leafs, should be high on their list. Luke is having a much-maligned start to his 2011-12 season and catching a lot of grief for it in Toronto. Creating a need for a fresh start in a new city.

 Shea Weber – The biggest fish in the small pond of available defenseman is Weber, Nashville’s blue chipper who had to go through arbitration to get his current contract, a one-year deal. Getting him in mid-season would cost more than the Flyers are willing to part with, but it would be a gigantic splash. Remember when Scott Hartnell was on the trading block and was then moved to the Giroux/Jagr line. There are plenty of players that can flourish in that scenario, and Hartnell’s stock has risen because of it.

 Ryan Suter – If the waters aren’t warm for Weber, the Flyers should inquire about Suter, another Nashville defenseman who is rumored to be on the trading block, along with Weber, but at a considerably cheaper rate. The Predators can’t afford both players, so depending on whom they want to keep the other will be available.

 Johnny Boychuck – The Bruins are stout defensively and could part with Boychuck. A physical blue liner that could add another right-handed slap shot to the power play is always a welcomed addition.

 Cory Sarich – There have been rumblings that Sarich is on his way out in Calgary after being a healthy scratch in five straight games. He is the epitome of tough and doesn’t seem to fit anywhere in the Flames roster. A move should be on the horizon for him, at relatively cheap costs.

What’s With all the Black and Gold


As with many fans of the Philadelphia Flyers I waited with baited breath on July 1st. I waited, and waited, and waited some more. In fact I’m still waiting for the organization to make that one big move that everyone was sure would come. Perhaps not to the levels of Steven Stamkos, but maybe Ales Hemsky or Paul Stastny or another player on that level. After all, there had to have been someone the flyers brass were targeting, right? It seems as if that was common knowledge.

After bidding adieu to Mike Richards and Jeff Carter my Philadelphia Flyers t-shirt collection has been dwindling. I have been forced to retire my previous sweaters and players’ shirts emblazoned with their names due to common fandom rules. If there is any reason for a big move to be made it is clearly my wardrobe, well and for the team to get better, but that is obviously second.

First came the news that no offer would be made to Steven Stamkos, arguably the second or third best player in the league. Given the price tag to acquire him, and the subsequent truckload of money it would take to sign him to a long-term contract it was an easy pill to swallow. Then came reports that the Flyers were one of the frontrunners to land Jaromir Jagr.

Jaromir Jagr

Was I supposed to gasp? They were going to possibly sign a guy who has over 600 career goals and nearly a thousand assists in his NHL career, how could that news not be exciting?

Because Jagr is not Teemu Selanne, a player in the twilight of his NHL years but is still a stud. He’s not even Niklas Lidstrom caliber these days. Granted, Lidstrom is a defenseman, but the point is that he cannot lead a team any which way you slice it. There is a reason Jagr played in Russia. You might be saying that that reason is his desire to play in his home country, but the simple fact that he signed a one year deal to play for the Flyers immediately disproves that notion. Add to the over-the-hill comments the understanding that Jagr was a Penguin, and will always be remembered as a Penguin, and you have a bigger reason for dislike. Sure, he was a Ranger for a quick second among a few other quick layovers, but don’t act like it won’t be weird when Jagr dons his number 68 orange and black sweater and you are asked to cheer.

That was the biggest hurdle I had to jump in order to be okay with the signing, and just about the time I came to grips with the idea, the Flyers decided to sign another Penguin. Not a “once beloved” penguin, or a former penguin, but Maxime Talbot. Paul Holmgren must have been playing a joke. He scored two goals in game seven of the Stanley Cup finals to bring the Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh, but outside of that is there a Talbot highlight of him playing hockey that I’ve missed? I understand that he had a few quality segments in HBO’s 24/7, but that doesn’t exactly convey greatness. This is the same guy who fought Dan Carcillo and then put his finger up to his mouth to silence the Philadelphia crowd before the penguins came back from three goals down to win; he is now a Flyer, and everyone seems to be okay with that.

Really?

Yes, really. I’ve said it before and it still rings true, as fans we have to cheer when our team tries to make itself better. We cheer, scream, throw things, lose our voices, waste our money, and dissect every pass, shot, and hit the players make because we want to be watching hockey in June. We want to be able to wear a Flyers shirt proudly in the beginning of summer and all the way through until next season.

Maxime Talbot


Talbot and Jagr are not the sexiest choices that were available, but their mix of veteran knowhow and playoff leadership may help propel the team to new heights. With a large make-up of young talent these types of men are a necessity, and will hopefully make their money as much in the locker room as they do on the rink. When you spend your time looking at the box score of the game this upcoming season you will not be getting the entire story. Talbot is scrappy, a quality that goes for miles in Philadelphia sports allure, and Jagr is a rental that might work out nicely for a quick jolt to the top of the heap. Most important, they’ve been there before, something you cannot put a price on. Maybe it is a Talbot speech that will help the Flyers overcome a hole to come back in the third period to win a game, or maybe it is Jagr’s prowess with the puck in tight spaces that will help vault Brayden Schenn’s young career to new heights when given free space. Their productivity is beyond points per game or plus/minus numbers, and at some point we will all understand that. Hopefully in the playoffs.

Talbot Hoisting the Cup


The signings took a while to get used to, and seeing Jagr in a Flyers jersey will be weird for quite some time, especially when flashbacks of him in black and gold drift into my memory, but with the absence of any big move you have to be okay with the idea that the Flyers are building this team the right way, without suckering themselves into big contracts. Maybe they still have a trick up their sleeve regarding the eventual destination of Sergei Bobrovsky, but for now we can just sit and ponder what is to come.

Although my closet is a little mad at them for waiting.

Melrose quality Mullet