Another annihilation and another loss for the Philadelphia Flyers, what else is new?
Ilya Bryzgalov came out and told the media that the Flyers had to win both games against the Devils this week, or else they were done and not making the playoffs. Although anything can happen in this crazy shortened season, I don’t exactly agree with Mr. Universe.
The Flyers are 3 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference which is currently occupied by the Rangers who are tied with the Jets with 28 points. The reality though is, the Flyers need to start winning or at least getting into overtime to get some point(s). They have a light schedule this week where they just play twice then again on Monday 3/18. After that, not again until 3/24.
Even if the Flyers did win both games against the Devils this week, they could very well still be sitting at home watching other teams pass them in the standings due to the lack of games. Then again, they put themselves in this hole by not grabbing key points this month.
So with that said, what gives? Should the Flyers make a trade or just hang tight and see what happens then re-evaluate at the end of the season?
Last off-season every time I heard a trade rumor that involved the Flyers, Sean Couturier’s name always came to the surface.
And for good reason.
In Couturier’s first NHL season he posted 13 goals, 14 assists for 27 points and a +18 rating in 77 games. Not exactly eye catching points but his two way style of play is what NHL teams build around.
This season though, not so much the same results. In fact, the complete opposite.
In 26 games so far this season Couturier as just 2 goals, 5 assists with a -10 rating. And to make matters worse he’s only shooting the puck at a rate of 4.7%. Last season he was shooting the puck at a rate of 11.2%.
Last year, he was the prospect the Flyers refused to part with, which likely cost them the opportunity to acquire a top NHL player. If the Flyers were willing to let go of him and sell high, Shea Weber might be anchoring a far less mediocre defensive unit. Or even Bobby Ryan or Rick Nash could be playing with Claude Giroux on one of the best top lines in hockey.
Instead, the Flyers kept their first round draft pick. Unfortunately, Couturier has since become one of the most disappointing players on the roster.
At the time, I’m glad GM Paul Holmgren didn’t part ways with Couturier. But looking at his play this season, this is what I expected from Couturier last season. Actually, with the changes the Flyers made over the past 2 seasons their results this season is what I expected last season, instead it’s happening now. Better late than never, eh?
The truth is this.
Paul Holmgren put himself in this spot when he traded Simon Gagne back in 2010, then Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in 2011. In 2012 he lost Matt Carle and Jaromir Jagr to free agency, which eventually led to a complete roster flip flop.
Although the Flyers have Gagne back, one of the few players actually producing on the ice, the team as a whole is a mess. The team got younger and less experienced.
These Flyers results were bound to happen, whether it was last season or this season. Bottom line is, this is really happening and the Flyers are in major trouble.
But how many times can you flip your roster until you get the results you’re looking for? Do you fire the coach?
In my opinion, Peter Laviolette is not the problem. It’s the players he’s surrounded by.
I don’t expect Paul Holmgren to flip the roster again, as he is finally seeing the results from the last flip flop. At this point, Holmgren has no choice but to stay put and be patient. Hopefully things will get better, but the Flyers don’t show any signs of fixing the ship.
If Couturier does keep up with his sloppy play – turning over the puck in his own zone – if I were Holmgren I would part ways with Couturier and go after a top 4 defenseman. Problem though at this point, you would have to imagine Sean Couturier’s stock has dropped from the last off-season.
Causing you NOT to get the same trade offers….
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