WHOAAA NELLY! What a half-an-hour the Philadelphia Flyers had late this afternoon. Just on the off chance that you live under a rock, are a member of Swiss Family Robinson, or totally incapacitated via a Lumbar Puncture the quick summary of today is Jeff Carter to Columbus for Jakub Voracek, a 1st and 3rd round pick, followed quickly by Captain Mike Richards sent to LA for Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn, then the 9 year $51 million deal announcement with goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Needless to say Paul Holmgren gave Shaken Baby Syndrome to his team, and additionally, his fanbase.
I am not going to worry about debating if which trades are good for whom in the immediate term or 2-3 years for now. Even not going to touch on the likelihood that Bryzgalov will complete all 9 years of this contract in Philadelphia.
First thing is I have to question the thought process going in to the goaltender position for Philly. By choosing to trade for the exclusive negotiating rights to Bryzgalov, it comes across as a “win now” mentality if they are going to push Sergei Bobrovsky aside. Now signing the goalie they must have to an long term contract sure appears to eliminate any chance of Bobrovsky becoming the go to guy in Philadelphia. Should pushing to ‘win now’ be worth taking the starter position away from Bobrovsky due to a fade late in the season? Lest we forget that Evgeni Malkin hit the wall in his rookie year due to never playing an NHL length season before as well. Bobrovsky played almost as many games this season than his two prior years in the KHL. I easily would have seen him be much more prepared for the NHL grind this coming season.
I also want to question Bryzgalov as well. Did he want his money so badly that he took a very heavily front-loaded long term deal when the unloaded contracts to make room for his gaudy demands were also heavy long term deals? I say this in jest but it still honestly wouldn’t surprise me if Bryzgalov’s time doesnt go well in Philadelphia watch him get the heave ho and the reins given back to Bobrovsky.
I know that as a Penguin fan, it is a contractual obligation and morally requisite of me to hate the Flyers and should, by all rights, be laughing at the pain and anguish that the Flyer faithful is going thru tonight. But I have had a question for quite some time, “What does it mean to be a Flyer?”. That isn’t meant in some ignorant way regarding the image of the team on the ice and within a fanbase. What I wonder is the philosophy in the front office. I’ve never was exactly knowledgeable of the ways that Bobby Clarke built his teams.
I have been more understanding of what Paul Holmgren has done since taking over GM duties for Clarke. The Flyers had the worst team in the league in the 06-07 season and several moves late in the season and the subsequent offseason earned praise from me for turning a doormat and team that looked for a slow rebuild into a team that was ready to be playoff caliber right away. In fact I was impressed enough that I was willing to call him one of the best GMs in the league in such a short amount of time. Ever since then, however, more of his maneuvers tend to leave me scratching my head.
With signing two members of your core to epic length contracts only to trade them several years later to sign another player at a different position to equally surprising term has really lost me. Trading up and coming players or prospects and high level picks for that ever elusive final piece continuously when it hasn’t once paid off and never seeming to end such practices. Always going the splash route in attempts to improve as opposed to scouring for the right pieces to get the Flyers over the top. There appears to be no true rhyme and reason or method to their madness that I can discern. Maybe someone got jealous of all this Jagr talk. OK, no not really but that made you chuckle.
Looks like I need more help afterall. So, what does it actually mean to be a Flyer?