Travis Yost, of TSN, arguing that Claude Giroux may be the league’s most valuable player, mostly because he’s surrounded by absolute shit:
The problem with the Flyers — perhaps true for them more than any other team pushing the thresholds of the hard salary cap — is that they don’t have enough talent on the roster. A large reason why this is true is because the team made indefensible decision after indefensible decision over the past couple of years to bleed the cap dry, including a six-year, $30MM contract for already-healthy-scratched Andrew MacDonald (contract originally described as an “atrocity”), and trading a productive Scott Hartnell for a less productive R.J. Umberger (“trade is pretty clearly a loss for the Flyers”). So, too, does $22.5MM for an already-healthy-scratched centre (“Why would you spend precious remaining dollars on an aging center?”) and trading James van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn (“Luke Schenn was one of Toronto’s worst defensemen last season”). These moves aren’t hindsight-guessed – the links, from the blogosphere and beyond, were posted around the time of the moves.
Surprise! Extremely few of these worked out. And it’s created a situation where the Flyers basically have nothing to offer outside of their top-line. I note that this top-line is fantastic – Jakub Voracek complements Claude Giroux so well, that it hardly even matters who the third player is in that group. However, the Flyers are nothing short of a lottery team when they come off of the ice.
This has been a Flyers problem for years. As I rummaged through old clips on YouTube and articles when the Flyers inducted Eric Lindros and John LeClair into their hall of fame a couple of months ago, it suddenly hit me how much of a crime it was that the Flyers didn’t win a Cup during the Legion of Doom years. They were so fantastically good, so much better than any team they have put on the ice in the last decade or so. Goaltending was always an issue, but looking back on it, what prevented them from getting over the hump, not surprisingly, was their insistence on maintaining their tough-guy image. Sure, it was a different time, when goons still had a place in the league, but take 1996-1997, when the Flyers rolled out The Dan Line as their fourth line: Dan Kordic, Dan Lacroix and Scott Daniels combined for A TOTAL of 21 points and 610 penalty minutes… and this was on a team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals. Imagine if the Flyers had just two more semi-passable hockey players on that team– cheap, barely-above-league-minimum guys with a little upside or some veteran scoring savvy. Imagine if instead of, say, Shawn Antoski (four points in 89 games from 1995-1996), they had someone who could skate? The point is, the Flyers have always had a depth problem. They’re now trying to get away from the Bullies thing, but they’re doing it all wrong… for the reasons listed above. By my unofficial, subjective, eyeball estimation, right now they are missing an entire line of capable scorers. They have a good – even great – first line, a third line, and a fourth line. What they’re missing is an entire second line. That’s… a problem. It’s always been a problem.