Today, I'm gonna look at the defense and goaltending, and think about what this offseason has in store for the Flyers.
Goaltending: (Note: I'm gonna use every goalie who appeared in a game this year)
Ray Emery: UFA
Johan Backlund: Resigned til 2012, terms undisclosed, tho I'm guessing it's around 800k he made this year
Brian Boucher: Contract til 2011, cap it of 925k
Mike Leighton: UFA
Jeremy Duchesne: RFA
Ok, now to go through what I think is gonna happen to each of these guys...
Jeremy Duchesne: If he's resigned, he'll be on the Phantoms at the highest
Ray Emery: Real simple, call me when his health situation is taken care of
Brian Boucher: Possibly trade bait
Mike Leighton: In Leighton We Trust...possibly, I don't know, part of me wants to see the best in him, part of me remembers the guy who was in net in a December 2008 game who blew a 5-1 lead to the Flyers, a game the Flyers won 6-5 in OT...I've done a lot of thinking about Leighton, a lot of watching of videos on the Flyers website or YouTube or www.NHL.com and I see a very bipolar kind of goalie, yeah, I don't know what to think of Leighton anymore
Johan Backlund: I think he's the AHL Phantoms starter next year, could make a run at being the backup though, I'll wait til training camp to make a better prediction.
Oh dear, I just realized, the only thing that's concluded is that the Flyers have a LOT of goaltending questions....gahhh...Bernie Parent can be cloned, right?
Chris Pronger: 6.25 million cap hit, will be back
Kimmo Timonen: 6.33 million cap hit, will be back
Matt Carle: 3.438 million cap hit, will be back
Oskars Bartulis: 600k cap it, will be back
By the way: Mike Rathje's 3.5 million comes off the cap! THANK GOD!
Braydon Coburn: 1.3 million cap it for 09-10, probably gonna be asking for 2.5-3million
Ryan Parent: 855K cap hit for 09-10, he's the wild card here
Lukas Krajicek: 700k cap hit for 09-10, could go either way
Danny Syvret: 575k cap hit for 09-10, could go either way as well
Now personally, I think Krajicek and Syvret are expendable, neither really impressed me this year and Bartulis has really shown some flashes of talent, as well as making some rookie mistakes. Parent's interesting, he's never played a full season for the Flyers due to his back problems, and while he has a lot of potential, is really worth the risk of a guy who can only give 50-60 games a year? To me, no, but Paul Holmgren's made a lot of moves that I disagreed with and have worked out well for the Flyers, hence why he's the GM and I'm some (SINGLE) guy sitting in New Jersey behind a computer and hoping to be right.
Im Homer we trust...
Back to the Flyers needs:
The Flyers need a depth D-man, AHL Phantoms had a weak D corps this year, the Flyers don't have a first round (lost in Pronger trade) or second round (lost in Leino trade) draft choice, so the solution for this is trade or Free Agency.
Speaking of D-man Needs, Here's a list of D-man free agents and here's my thoughts on a few of the more noteworthy guys who I feel could possibly fit in Philly.
A friend of mine recently came up with the idea of reuniting Pronger and Niedermayer in Philly, but I doubt that is the solution.
Anton Volchenkov would be nice, but I don't think he's worth the $5million he is as asking for.
Toni Lydman is a possibility if Buffalo doesn't resign him.
Dan Hamhuis is quite possibly the leading candidate, apparently the Flyers aggressively pursued him at the trade deadline, if Nashville lets him walk, I wouldn't mind seeing him in Orange come October.
Also: Free Agent goalies and some notable names and my thoughts
Marty Turco: the DGS head writer/owner tossed his name around the DGS Staff more than a few times during the season out of frustration with Brian Boucher. Turco probably is gonna get ~$2million which makes him affordable to platoon with Boucher, assuming Leighton is allowed to walk. (Leighton's a UFA and it can happen).
Evgeni Nabokov: If the Sharks let Nabby walk, and letting him walk could be the kick that San Jose needs, then Nabby is my top choice for the Flyers net (budget is a problem, but moves can be made) fact is, Nabby could fit in the eastern conference, where I readily admit, there's less competition than out West.
Vesa Toskala: Oh sorry, I meant to talk about NHL caliber goalies.
Martin Biron: He was here once, had some success, but honestly I can't see the Islanders letting him walk with DiPietro's health situation. Seriously, that guy get's MRI's every season at a rate that rivals the 09-10 Flyers net minders.
Dan Ellis: He's another guy the Flyers have been reportedly interested in, could be another option.
Chris Mason: With St. Louis trading for Halak, he's on the market and might be a cheap fit.
I don't know, as I've said before, after Leighton's showing against the Hawks, I'm not sold on him as a #1 guy, and maybe I'm still bitter about the 2000-02 runs, but I don't like Boucher either.
Either way, with no 1st or 2nd round picks Homer's got a lot of work ahead of him with the trade market to make this work. He's done it in the past though, he practically stole Leino from the Red Wings and the Zhitnik for Coburn deal turned out golden for the Orange.