Sunday, July 1, 2012
Trades, the draft and free agency (a.k.a. everything I've missed up to this point)
- First off, James van Riemsdyk was sent to Toronto for defensemen Luke Schenn straight up. Was this a good trade? Probably not. JVR was the Flyers primary bargaining chip and we let him go for practically nothing. The week leading up to the draft there were rumors about him being packaged with defensemen Andrej Meszaros and picks for players like Columbus' Rick Nash and Anahiem's Bobby Ryan (who is a Cherry Hill, New Jersey native), but all of that is out the window now. In retrospect, it makes sense from a potential perspective. Both van Riemsdyk and Schenn entered the league as high, first-round picks and signed lucrative deals but neither lived up to the hype. Hopefully the change of scenery bodes well for both players (but most definitely for Brayden Schenn's brother).
- Second, Back-up goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was traded to Columbus for three draft picks (2012 2nd and 4th rounders from CLB & Phoenix's 4th in 2013). Despite what people may think, this is a good move for both sides. Sure, Bob was a great prospect for Philly, but behind Bryzgalov he would've never received the ice time a young net minder like him deserved. In order for Bryz to succeed, he needs to play at least 65-70 games a year (which is what he did in Phoenix the previous three years). They would need to sign a cheap backup - which I will get to in a second - and leave the driving to the crazy Russian. With this move, Bryzgalov now no longer needs to look over his shoulder the entire season, the Flyers get three draft picks for an undrafted free agent and Columbus gets a worthwhile goaltender. Win-win.
- As for their first round draft pick, the Flyers took center, Scott Laughton 20th overall. 1994 - Laughton's year of birth - was 18 years ago. Christ, do I feel old. Either way, the position never seemed to be one of need with names like Giroux, Briere, Couturier and Talbot already in the mix, it was most likely a 'take the best player available' situation. However, once one looks at his stats that statement comes into question. In 127 games with the Oshawa Generals, Laughton averaged only 38 points a year. Thankfully he'll be shipped back to the OHL for a few more years to hone his skills.
- And finally, the only signing the Flyers have made so far in free agency, Philadelphia resigned goalie Michael Leighton to a one-year, one way $900,000 dollar deal. This is why I said Bryzgalov will never have to worry about losing his job ever again. Leighton, who spent all of the last two years in the AHL, will serve as the Flyers backup for the 2012-'13 season. While none of us were looking, Leighton was doing well between the pipes for the Adirondack Phantoms despite being shaky his last stint in the NHL. Was it good enough to be back with the big boys? We won't know that until the season starts. But as of now, the goalie problem is temporarily fixed. More news out of free agency (including the ridiculous contracts offered to defensemen Ryan Suter and winger Zach Parise) as it breaks.