Let me get this out-of-the-way right off the bat. There are two main reasons the Flyers missed the playoffs this year. Paul Holmgren and Craig Berube. They also weren’t very good at hockey much of the season.
Some might argue that Homer hasn’t made a decision that has affected this team in 12 months, but he has done damage to this franchise for the past five seasons and now we are seeing the effects. Since our miraculous appearance in the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals this team was managed with reckless abandon and the proof is in the pudding. Our current cap situation has handcuffed current GM Ron Hextall and he will have to be patient and crafty to get out of this hole.
Below are just a few examples of how bad our cap situation really is:
- Andrew MacDonald will be on this team until 2021, and we are paying him to play hockey. $5 mil a year in fact. I could back up how bad he is with fancy stats and such but I really don’t have to, everyone knows it. 2021 just WOW!
- Vincent Lecavalier is getting paid $4.5 million to be a 4th line center..the Kings recently sent down Mike Richards for a similar sin and I would argue that Richie is at least slightly more effective than Vinny. Too bad we can’t send Vinny down since Homer handed out NMC’s (No Movement Clauses) like they were going out of style.
- Nick Grossmann is certainly not worth $3.5 mil. a season. There are plenty of players who are cheaper and more effective than Big G. (though he does have some sick hands.)
Those are just some of the things that are affecting the Flyers real-time. Let’s take a look at what moves Holmgren made during his wonderful tenure.
- Illya Bryzgalov. Do I even need to prove my point here?
- JVR for Luke Schenn. Luck Schenn is bad at hockey, JVR meanwhile has 141 points as a member of the Leafs over the past 3 seasons including one 30 goal year in 2013-2014.
- Signing Andrew MacDonald, and Vinny Lecavalier.
- Letting Gus and Jagr walk away.
Paul Holmgren infected this team and this city with a win now mentality, and now we are paying for it.
I don’t necessarily think that Craig Berube is a downright horrible coach, but there is certainly room for improvement. For instance: in no world EVER should Zac Rinaldo be on the same line as Jake Voraceck and Claude Giroux. Rinaldo shouldn’t even be dressed. He should be sent down to the Phantoms where he belongs.
Berube decided to dress Andrew MacDonald over Michael Del Zotto, pair him with Nick Grossmann and put him out on the ice with under 2 minutes in close games more times than I can count. That is just awful coaching and roster management.
Berube’s mismanagement of Steve Mason is well documented, adding more fuel to the fire. Hopefully Hexy cans him so we can begin anew. #bringinbabs
The Season with No Expectations
Prior to one of the first games down at the Wagon this year I was interviewed by a young man from Temple for a school project. He asked me questions about the upcoming season and I kept coming back to the word patience. Philly fans would have us rush Ghost, Morin and Hagg right into the spotlight only to crush them after 15 games for being inadequate. Things will work themselves out. Ron Hextall knows what he’s doing.
Honestly, going into this season I knew that missing the playoffs was a pretty good possibility (despite my mid-season projection of getting a wild card spot). Unfortunately the team performed based on how they were built. The roster is composed of mostly average players, and below average defenders. Sure we have stars like G, and Jake, and Simmer but the second tier of players are either on their way up (Couts, BSchenn) or falling fast (Vinny, Rinaldo).
Grass Is Greener
There are two things we can take away from this season. Steve Mason is awesome and so is Jake Voracek.
Everyone in this town should buy Steve Mason dinner. He played out of his mind all year posting a .928 SV%. Mase played one of the best seasons EVER for a Flyers goaltender. He exceeded expectations and we can only hope he keeps this consistency up. Then there is the emergence of Jake Voraceck who finished the season with 81 points. He has officially become a stud in the NHL and will be an exciting player to watch for the next couple of years.
There is a chance that we could win the draft lottery and honestly if that happens….the thought of McDavid in orange in black is wonderful to dream about.
Until next year boys, until next year. I will hop on the Predators for the playoffs bandwagon, because ya know Lavvy. #jam