Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren won't likely be making as many big moves as he did last June, but he does have some work to do.
The goal crease
Unless something very unusual happens, Ilya Bryzgalov will remain a Flyer. While the eight years that remain on his contract might not all be fulfilled, the next few probably will be.
With that in mind, we turn our attention to his backup. I like Sergei Bobrovsky, but am not sure if he can develop into a starting goaltender.
If Bryzgalov is going to be the team's starter for the foreseeable future, then I'm not sure how 'Bob' could develop in any real sense anyway. Except in the instance of injury, he won't see much playing time this season, which is also the last guaranteed year of his current deal.
In consideration of 'Bryz', I would bring in a veteran backup who has a strong personality. My intent would be to pair him with Bryzgalov, who is in need of as much ongoing mentoring as he can get.
Behind the blue line
Based upon his current health status and various issues surrounding the current (and likely future) salary cap structure, Chris Pronger will not retire. Instead, he will remain on long-term injured reserve indefinitely because of the 35+ contract that he previously signed.
Kimmo Timonen is getting older and has just had surgery. As long as he is healthy next season, he should remain a key part of the Flyers defensive scheme.
Matt Carle, who is an unrestricted free agent, is a fine offensive defenseman. Defensively, he has been prone to lapses that include inopportune turnovers. One of the ways to adjust the Flyers defensive picture would be by not re-signing him, or by trading his rights prior to July 1.
It will be tough for Holmgren to acquire an impact defender. Regardless of whether that can be done, the ongoing infusion of young defensive talent should help this area of the Flyers game to improve next season.
Recent rumors involving Columbus Blue Jackets once again possibly trading Rick Nash to Philadelphia are rather curious. When considering the Flyers needs, offensive upgrades are not at the top of the list.
Philadelphia scored 264 goals, which was third-best in the National Hockey League this season. So, it would seem that they might deal from this strength to improve some defensive deficiencies.
Creative maneuvers might allow a reshuffling of the Flyers forward deck, which could somehow land Nash and also allow for the re-signing of Jaromir Jagr. Realistically, money matters might not both men to be teammates in Philadelphia.
I want Jagr back because of the power his influence had on the entire roster. It's understood that he's no longer a young man and likely won't be able to play a full season. Despite that fact, he added an element that doesn't register on the digital record books. He can still contribute offensively and needs to keep that number 68 sewn into an orange jersey for one more year.
Then, there is the matter of James van Riemsdyk and issues surrounding his potential inclusion in a deal for Nash. The surgery that he needs, the $4.25 million that he is scheduled to receive for the next six years and whether the Flyers should basically give up on this 23-year-old player all factor heavily into any potential move.
I would be hesitant to surrender JVR after his first three NHL seasons.
On the restricted free agent side, re-signing Jakub Voracek should be a no-brainer. He was a positive part of the Jeff Carter deal and deserves to remain with the team moving forward.
There are some other roster issues that will be handled as the offseason plays out. It's always possible that a draft surprise, or a college player, might earn his way onto the roster next fall like Sean Couturier and Matt Read did last year.
The Flyers may, or may not, be a long way from winning a Stanley Cup. But, as the Kings have just proven, unexpectedly positive developments can happen during any postseason.
Sean O'Brien is based in the Philadelphia region. He has written professionally for over two decades and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
More from this author and the Yahoo Contributor Network:
- Ice Hockey
- Sports & Recreation
- Los Angeles Kings
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Ilya Bryzgalov