The Flyers Have Surrounded Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek with an Expensive Grab Bag of Nonsense

Photo credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Photo credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Ouch.

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.

Good read from Yost.

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35 Responses

  1. I agree that this team is flawed, it’s obvious. I would, however, suggest that Simmonds is the third player that is worth his contract and plays well.

  2. If it were up to me, everyone except Simmonds, Giroux and Voracek are for sale (with the exception of goaltenders) in an attempt to try and get SOME talent back on this team.

  3. How many 20 goal scorers did we have last year? like 7 or 8….depth wasnt a problem there.

    This year, yea we have 3 players that are playing hockey every night…. JVR for Schenn still pisses me off

    1. 20 goal scorers mean nothing. If you are a top 6 forward, you should score 20 almost by accident. Can’t depend on 20 goal scorers in playoffs when the game is played much tighter. Include Simmonds here too. The team sucks and the only reason is they aren’t talented enough, it’s not rocket science

      1. so then your argument would be they don’t have enough impact players and too much depth? …are you agreeing with Kyle or not? Two of the top five scorers in the league, the number two power play scorer in the league, a top ten scoring defenseman ..scoring and forward depth are not the problem. Players like Read, Braydon Schenn, Couturier, etc are still very young and we all learned what lack of patience with a young player can do …hello, JVR. Defense is the problem ..not only do they lack talent but their systems sucks. Their young players are regressing under Craig Berube …I know everyone says they don’t want a caroussel of coaches but that’s not a good reason to keep one who is not the right coach for this team. If they hired a respected veteran voice with a defensive system and committment to defense this team would be a playoff team, no doubt. A guy like Terry Murray would be perfect and you wouldn’t have to look far to get him. I think there is a way to still compete now while growing and getting better over the next few years with more talent on the way.

  4. Nail on the head (with the noted above exception of Simmonds, who I agree would be one of only three guys I would not trade).

    Holmgren and his massive contracts with multiple years and NMCs screwed this team.

  5. The other issue over the years is the fact that the Flyers cannot change when the league changes. Their systems are always behind the current NHL competition. One year is defense first, next attacking style all because Eddie is impatient. They cannot judge goalies and are just terrible at managing the cap. Maybe Howie can run across the street to help when he is done counting shoelaces.

  6. These guys probably love being on the flyers… they know the next team they go to will definitely win a cup.

  7. The REAL problem with the Flyers has been for a very long time….

    Bob Clarke + Paul Holmgren x Running the Flyers = a steaming pile of dog shit no matter how many times you throw money at it. Snyder please save this team by running both of those fucks outta here. Please.

    1. Who is this “Snyder” guy?

      Bob Clarke has had nothing to do with the team since he resigned in 2006 other than being a figurehead and commenting in the press now and again.

      Bob Clarke was a fine GM who did everything he could to bolster the roster to win the Cup. His moves to actually bring in the three Russians in 2004 we key in that team’s playoff run. Again, they were hampered by lousy goaltending from Robert Eshche.

      When the salary cap came in though, Clarke was out of his element. He couldn’t just outspend other teams any more.

      Holmgren, however, is the worst GM in team history bar none.

      1. Yeah, because being senior vice president holds no sway over the team.

        Is that what you’re saying???

      2. Clarke was really good at evaluating 5 out of 6 positions in hockey.

        Unfortunately, the 6th one is the most important position in hockey.

        Beezer over Cujo was just brutal.

  8. Leave it to flyer fans to totally overrate a player like simmonds. Nice player but no more than 3rd line net crasher on a true contender.

    Also hilarious is the notion that they can trade anybody but those 3 guys. Those are the only tradeable players they have
    stepfords! Nobody wants that garbage at those salaries and NTCs.

    1. “Nice player but no more than 3rd line net crasher on a true contender. ”

      You’re fucking high.

      He’s a top 6 forward on ANY team in the NHL. I just looked through every team’s top two lines and there’s only one (Chicago) that could MAYBE claim to put him on the third line, and I would rather have him over Saad in my top 6.

      Over the past 4 season only Ovechkin has more PP goals than Simmonds. And Simmonds has mostly been on average/below-average teams.

      He’s definitely a net crasher, but he’s a top 2 line net crasher.

  9. This team won’t win until I die hahahaahahahahaha!!!! Call me Al Davis! I run shit and I am running it into the ground. You’re all so lucky I am rich and will live until I am 170 when most of you are dead from a brain aneurism watching Philly sports.

  10. The 96-97 Flyers lost in the Finals because the top line completely disappeared. The Legion of Doom combined for 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists). Lindros didn’t score until there were 15 seconds left in Game 4 as Detroit went on to a sweep. The Flyers best player was Brind’Amour.

    Fedorov, Yzerman and Shanahan all had 3 goals apiece for Detroit.

    The Flyers were a freight train going into that series and completely choked. It had nothing to do with the 4th line. Terry Murray got fired because he said the team had choked.

    1. If i remember correctly Hextall was prettttty bad…slap shots from beyond the blue line going in. Detroit was a beast.

      Should of won in 2010…we win that shootout of a game 1, we would of won that series.

      urg

      1. Hextall had a rough first game and then Murray put in Garth Snow in game two and he was worse…and then he went back to Hextall in game three and things just crumbled.

        Also, Petr Svoboda was like the teams best defenseman and I think he was hurt, and like their D was so banged up by the Finals Michel Petit was like their 4th defenseman.

        1. Coffey and Svoboda both got injured in the Finals, I am pretty sure.

          The defense on the 97 team was not terrible. You had Desjardins in his prime. And Janne Niinima having a breakout rookie season. And then you had Therrien. Kjell Samuelson on his last legs ending up playing significant time as well as the one appearance by Michel Petit.

          1. Wasn’t Petit being used as a left wing in that series, and the Rangers series as well?

      2. 1997 was when Murray was switching back and forth between Snow and Hextall. Snow started 12 playoff games. Hextall started 8. But then Hextall was named starter for the Finals but pulled after Game 1. Snow got shellacked in Game 2. And Hextall was back for 3 and 4.

        Murray totally panicked and the top line disappeared.

        The slap shot from beyond the point was 94-95. Claude Lemieux on the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals. I remember that goal like it was yesterday.

  11. Hopefully the Flyers will put together an attractive trade package on draft day so I don’t end up playing for Buffalo. Probably going to have to include Voracek or Simmonds. Trust me. Im worth it.

  12. Kyle is dead on with this observation. Hextall needs to make a few deals come march.
    Goaltending wins the Cup. Mason-Emery are a good tandem. Flyers biggest flaw is focusing and playing smart. if you keep losing your man you’ll be losing your man in another league.

    1. Mason and Emery need to be moved. Mason, until his spine stopped functioning would’ve gotten something decent in return. Emery is…meh. Barely a solid backup these days. As you said goaltending wins Cups and neither of these two are going to win a Cup as a starter.

      Hopefully someone (Nashville maybe? or Montreal?) will make a move for LeCavalier thinking he is the final piece for a Cup run.

      Can Matt Read net anything? Possibly. Should’ve sold him at the deadline last season.

  13. cmon, that lemieux goal was scored at the top of the circle, as far as them winning the cup with lindros, not going to happen, the guy was overrated, what super star plays with his head down, he was a above average power forward, they should have kept forsberg, and drafted jagr when they had the chance, coots and shenn, read are stiffs, anything else?

  14. Two of the top five scorers in the league, the number two power play scorer in the league, a top ten scoring defenseman ..scoring and forward depth are not the problem. Players like Read, Braydon Schenn, Couturier, etc are still very young and we all learned what lack of patience with a young player can do …hello, JVR.

    Defense is the problem ..not only do they lack talent but their systems sucks. Their young players are regressing under Craig Berube …I know everyone says they don’t want a caroussel of coaches but that’s not a good reason to keep one who is not the right coach for this team. If they hired a respected veteran voice with a defensive system and committment to defense this team would be a playoff team, no doubt. A guy like Terry Murray would be perfect and you wouldn’t have to look far to get him. I think there is a way to still compete now while growing and getting better over the next few years with more talent on the way and it starts with better coaching.

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