Blogs > In The Room with Anthony SanFilippo

Daily Times beat writer Anthony J. SanFilippo takes you inside the locker rooms of the Philadelphia Flyers and the rest of the NHL.

Monday, September 22, 2008


The Flyers proved a season ago that they were a deep team, especially at forward, and that when you have players who can contribute from several areas and not just the top unit, you can be successful.

This season, the Flyers appear to be even deeper, and the fight for jobs appears to be on.

Up front, the Top 9 forwards, in no particular order are:

Simon Gagne
Mike Richards
Danny Briere
Scottie Upshall
Jeff Carter
Mike Knuble
Joffrel Lupul
Glen Metropolit
Scott Hartnell

This leaves three forward spots left and at least five players battling for those spots.

Jim Dowd made the team on a tryout contract last Fall, and is trying to do it again this season, but it might be a bit harder this time around for the 39-year-old center.

That's because the Flyers would love for the slimmed-down 21-year-old Steve Downie and 20-year-old rookie Claude Giroux to not only make the big squad but be contributors.

Then there are the grinders - Riley Cote and Aaron Asham. They both add grit and toughness to the Flyers lineup, which is always a key ingredient to the orange and black.

The Flyers will most likely carry one extra forward, but that would mean someone is going to be the odd man out. And as good a penalty killer, faceoff specialist and locker room influence as Dowd is, he unfortunately might be that guy.

Of course, it is early in training camp, and an injury or two could always swing things in another direction, but if the team is healthy, Dowd could be the odd guy out.

However, if Dowd is willing to take on the role as the extra forward, whose playing time is based primarily on an as-needed basis, he could stick as a 14th forward, if in fact the Flyers plan on carrying 23 roster players - something that will be tough to do with the team so close to the salary cap.

On defense, the top five are easy:

Kimmo Timonen
Braydon Coburn
Randy Jones
Ossi Vaananen
Steve Eminger

After that, it's anybody's guess.

Does Ryan Parent take that next step to becoming a solid NHL defenseman? Can Bryan Berard win yet another NHL job on a tryout contract? Can Lasse Kukkonen hang on to his job as a depth defenseman, as he did last season?

This is a battle that will certainly be determined by how well the trio play in the preseason (and injures of course).

However, if I were a betting man, I'd say Parent and Berard both make the team and Kukkonen is the odd guy out.

The Flyers still have 19 days to figure it all out.


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