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

Monday, March 29, 2010

WILL THE PRICE BE RIGHT FOR FLYERS?


I know I promised this update postgame last night, but I got a little tied up, but believe me, it'll be worth the wait.

I wrote a second story last night that talked about the Flyers efforts to land Robert Esche this past weekend, only to be thwarted by the remaining months on his Russian contract.

I then mentioned how Esche might be a possibility in the summer. And he still is, but, I had a conversation later in the night, after that story was already written, hinting as to what the Flyers offseason plans might be.

The person I spoke with will remain anonymous, just know that it's someone within the organization who has full knowledge of what the team's personnel decisions and plans are.

Here is what he said to me:

"We can't go into next year with the same situation or a similar situation in goal that we have right now. What happened this year is really nobody's fault. Ray (Emery) came in here and did everything we asked and was good until he got hurt. We got lucky with (Michael) Leighton, but we can't expect to win doing things this way in goal.

"It's already been decided that our No. 1 priority for next season is to get a goalie. We have to go out and get that player and commit to him as our guy.

"It's probably going to mean somebody is going to have to be traded away, especially if we go after a young goalie on another team, but that's what we're going to have to do. We can't keep going the way we have been. The goalie has to be the most important target and we don't want to keep replacing one veteran with another. We want to get a guy who can be our goalie for several years.... We have to go in another direction."

O.K., so no names were mentioned there, but when you talk about trading for a young goalie on another team, there's very few places you can look and be excited about what you'll get in return.

There's Antii Niemi in Chicago, although methinks he's going to be their goalie of the future, not Cristobal Huet.

There's Cory Schneider in Vancouver, who is blocked by Roberto Luongo, but keep in mind, Schneider is still a wholly unproven commodity.

Then there's Montreal, where it appears Jaroslav Halak has won out over Carey Price.

Now we're talking.

Price, still just 22, was the fifth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and burst on the scene two seasons ago going 24-12-3 as a rookie and leading the Habs to the best record in the Eastern Conference until he was completely unnerved and dismantled by R.J. Umberger and the Flyers in the second round of the playoffs.

He endured a sophomore slump last season, but bounced back some this season, but not enough to hold on to his job in the pressure cooker that is Montreal.

So, the Canadiens will likely look to pawn him off this summer, but it could be costly.

Who exactly would have to go back in exchange? Well, that's the key question which answer needs to be fleshed out.

Will the Canadiens take a veteran whom the Flyers' might convince to waive a no trade clause? Or will they want one of the Flyers top young players like Claude Giroux or James van Riemsdyk?

This is all conversation that will be better suited for June than the end of March, but be certain it's coming.

Because another source told me recently:

"A number of these guys (on the Flyers roster) won't be back."

Let the whirlwind speculation begin.

............................................................

UPDATE: One fan suggested to me on Twitter today that Jonathan Bernier should be added to this mix. I concur. Bernier has had a great season in the AHL this year and seems to be in a logjam with Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles.

Considering the Flyers have a very good relationship with Kings management (Dean Lombardi and Ron Hextall) this would also make sense.

Although, I still think they want a young goalie WITH experience in the NHL.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! That is one heck of a blog post!
It's fascinating to think about who they're going to bring in...the only untouchable has to be Chris Pronger. I can see every other player on this team, including Mike Richards, get moved if it means getting a goalie, because it sounds like the Flyers are just flat-out tired of this.

March 29, 2010 at 12:21 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really hope we don't have to lose Giroux or JVR, both of which have shown flashes of what they are capable of. Coburn can go maybe even Parent, Hartnell should be asked to waive, same for Briere. We traded away so much youth to pick up Pronger I'd be nervous to lose a Giroux or JVR.

March 29, 2010 at 1:44 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anthony - Great post and I always seem to enjoy your work. Here's another name to add to the goalie wish list: Nashville's Dan Ellis. He's young enough (29), experienced, cheap ($1.75M this year) and will be an UFA next year. Add in Holmgren's positive past history with Nashville and maybe the Flyers get Ellis for Coburn (who'll be due a raise next year). Your thoughts?

March 29, 2010 at 2:33 PM 
Blogger K-Mart said...

I'd love to get Schneider... he's unproven, but if NHL '10 knows anything he's gonna be a stud (I'm kidding). I'd be happy with any of the goalies mentioned in the post. We need a young guy that we can build around, and a backup that we don't have to worry about when he plays. I definitely wouldn't mind getting Esche to come be a backup here. As far as trading away our players, I think the top two we should try to get rid of are Briere and Hartnell. I like both players, but neither are worth their contract. I also think that Timonen is a possibility. He has a lot of value, but I think we have a very very strong defense, and losing Timonen wouldn't hurt that much. Trading any of those three would free up a decent amount of cap space too so we won't be handcuffed at the trade deadline in the future.

March 29, 2010 at 4:50 PM 
Blogger Frank Stalter said...

All things being equal, if I'm the MTL GM I don't trade Price to the Flyers . . . . unless I ultimately think he'll be a bust/chronic underachiever.

March 29, 2010 at 6:51 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emery will be 28 next season? He's not that old and he is cheap...


Taking a schnieder or bernier to season for a season or two makes a ton of sense and may not cost that much...

March 29, 2010 at 9:07 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Flyers might already have gotten a goalie of the future in signing Sergi Bobrovsky. I know he's coming out of the KHL and his numbers are horrible, but he's on a horrible team and has stood on his head supporting them for the past 3 years. He was picked over several Russian Netminders such as Varlamov to represent Russia in the World Juniors. I predict he could rise very fast, if cultural differences could be breached. KHL fans are pissed he's been lured away, that alone says a lot. I hope we don't trade anyone like G, JVR, gags or Carter for anyone that's gonna get replaced in the next couple years.

May 13, 2010 at 12:30 PM 

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