Baring any major free agent signings or trades, if the Flyers can bring back Jeff Carter and R.J. Umberger, it appears as if the Flyers’ 12 forwards are set going into the 2008-2009 season.
Position Breakdown (certain players have flexibility in terms of position)
Center: Briere, Richards, Carter, Dowd (or Thoresen)
Left Wing: Gagne, Hartnell, Lupul, Giroux, Downie
Right Wing: Knuble, Upshall, Umberger, Cote
(Obviously subject to John Steven’s discretion)
Hartnell, Briere, Knuble
Gagne, Richards, Upshall
Giroux, Carter, Umberger or Lupul
Downie, Dowd or Thoresen, Cote
The blue-line, however, needs some work. It is all but certain Jason Smith will not resign with the club and Derian Hatcher may retire according to John Steven’s on Daily News Live.
The Flyers need to make resigning Randy Jones a priority. He was terrific (not flashy) during the end of the regular season and throughout the playoffs. Jones entered the season as a -19 for his career. He was as +8 for the regular season and a + 6 in the postseason. Here’s what the team has for sure:
D1 – Timonen / Coburn
D2 – Jones / Parent
D3 – Kukkonen / Syvret (recently acquired from Edmonton)
The top four defensemen, assuming Jones is resigned, give the Flyers a good core on the blue-line. However, the third defensive pairing is weak. Kukkonen is fine as your sixth defensemen or your first reserve, but Syvret shouldn’t start the season on the club. In 26 career games, he has 1 point and a dismal -11 rating. Sewickley, Pennsylvania native Nate Guenin, who has seen limited time with the Flyers might be your best fit at the #6 spot as the roster is currently constituted.
If the Flyers can make a big move to land a solid defenseman, they will finally have good depth at the position which has lacked in recent years.
In other Flyers news…
An update on players in the Flyers’ system in the Canadian Juniors League last season including Claude Giroux.
An update on Flyers’ players in college hockey including James van Riemsdyk
The Flyers will have most of their selection in the 2008 draft in the later rounds.
Bill Meltzer’s top defensive prospects in the upcoming draft.
Miroslav “Cookie” Dvorak, the first Flyers player from the Czech Republic, has died at age 56.