Thursday, January 10, 2013

Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier: Who is Worth More?

Now that the new NHL season is set to start shortly, trade rumors involving the Flyers are guaranteed to come up.  The craziest one I heard recently was that Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is interested in Canucks Goaltender Roberto Luongo.

This seems absolutely crazy because Luongo is the one goalie in the league with a worse contract than Ilya Bryzgalov, current Flyers Goalie.  Based on the rumors, Homer wanted to trade for Luongo and then amnesty Bryz after the season.  However you feel about a possible trade for Luongo, you have to look at who the Flyers may have to trade in order to get the highly coveted, yet highly criticized goaltender Bobby Lu.
Note: In my opinion, we should just stick with Bryz and see how he does considering he's done his first year here.  I think that can make a difference.

This brings me to the main point of this post.  The two players the Flyers have that have arguably the most value in a trade(not including Giroux, he's not going anywhere) are youngsters Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier.  Looking on twitter this morning, I saw a lot of tweets in which people were giving their opinion as to who they would rather give up in a trade.  Some would rather keep Schenn because he is a bit more aggressive and has a better offensive game and some would rather keep Couturier because of his maturity and strong defensive game.  I'm here to give my view that both players should be labeled as "untouchable" and shouldn't be moved for anyone (Unless it's someone crazy like Stamkos or Quick, but that's unrealistic).

Brayden Schenn was acquired by the Flyers in a blockbuster trade in June of 2011.  The Flyers sent the L.A. Kings Mike Richards in exchange for Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and a 2nd round draft pick.  Even though I am still a huge fan of Mike Richards, given how well Simmonds played last year and the potential of Schenn, this seems to be a good deal for the Flyers, as well as for the Kings as they just won their first Stanley Cup.

Schenn is a center/winger who has the play style of a mix between the aforementioned Richards and Blackhawk Jonathan Toews.  He is an aggressive player who isn't afraid to hit someone and get into the dirty areas, but he also has a lot of offensive skill and talent.  Last year, Schenn was hit with multiple injuries, but once he scored his first career goal at the Winter Classic, he turned his season around and looked like he could be a legitimate goal scorer in this league.  He isn't afraid to shoot.

In an age where there are some incredible goalies, goals are hard to come by.  Steven Stamkos of the Lightning didn't lead his team to the playoffs, and he didn't have nearly as many points as Evgeni Malkin, but he was a nominee for the Hart Trophy last year. Why? Because he scored 60 goals and he was always in a spot to help his team win.  If you can score goals, you have value.

Take Jeff Carter for instance, he was recently traded twice.  Some Flyers fans may enjoy the fact that he is gone now, but when he was traded to the Blue Jackets and Kings, the other team received a lot of compensation, more than a lot of people would think.  Why is he so valuable in trades? Because he can score goals.

Brayden Schenn, the second half of last year, showed he has the potential to score his fair share of goals.  After trading guys like Carter and more recently James van Riemsdyk, the Flyers need some guys who can score goals.  Scott Hartnell isn't the best player on the team by a long shot, but he was so valuable to our top line last year because he potted 37 goals.  Because of this, I feel that Schenn has a large amount of value to our team for the present and more importantly, the future.  Because of that, I think Brayden Schenn is untouchable.

Sean Couturier is the other main part of the Flyers future success in my mind.  He was acquired by the Flyers after we traded Jeff Carter to the Blue Jackets for Jake Voracek and two draft picks (one used to draft Couturier).  Couturier stands out because he was able to make the opening day roster his first year as an 18 year old.  This only happens to a couple rookies every draft class and you take note when it happens.  Given his on ice maturity and defensive prowess, Couturier was also able to contribute positively to the team.  This was very evident in the first round of the playoffs this past year against the Penguins.  Couts had the job to shadow MVP Evgeni Malkin, a very daunting task for a rookie or anyone for that matter.  While Malkin was still able to score his share of points that series, he was noticeably off his game and became frustrated because Couturier was playing so well, leading to Flyers advancement.

Defense wins championships, as the saying goes.  Sean Couturier, assuming he continues to develop, has a chance to be in the running for the Selke trophy for best defensive forward in his career.  Recent winners and nominees have had great personal and team success (Datsyuk, Bergeron, Toews, Kesler).  I can see Sean Couturier having a similar impact on the Flyers in the near future.

Defense isn't everything though, all of the players mentioned above also have great offensive skill and talent.  Couturier is no different.  Couturier was able to score 27 points playing mostly on the 4th line last year and scored some nice goals.  Sean is a big kid (6'4") who actually reminds me of a more rounded version of Jeff Carter, he has a nice, smooth and quick wrist shot.  His vision and skill are going to make him an important player in the NHL.  Potentially trading him would be a mistake in my mind.  He plays well defensively and has the tools to be a big contributor offensively, also evident by his numbers in juniors.  Because of this, I see Sean Couturier as untouchable.

Before last season, the Flyers traded their two best forwards in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.  By the information and evidence I just provided, we received two players who compare to those two and really have the potential to surpass them.  The Flyers shouldn't potentially give up on this opportunity by trading one or both of Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier.  To me, both of these players are untouchable.

Thanks for reading everyone!  This has probably been my longest piece and I like to think it turned out pretty well, while also being relevant to today's news.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Monday, January 7, 2013


Hockey is back and I couldn't be happier.

From what I hear, the league and players have agreed in principal to a 10 year CBA with an opt out option after the 8th year.  The salary cap will be the same 70.3 mil it was supposed to be this year.  However, it will lower to around 64 mil after the season.

A 64 million dollar salary cap may seem like a big decrease but actually, the cap was around 63 just a year ago.  To me, this means that big market teams will still have the power to make moves other teams simply can't, but it seems it will limit the amount of mega contracts given out (read: Weber, Suter, Parise, Crosby).  This definitely seems like a good idea as it doesn't limit what teams can do, but it tries to keep up league-wide competition.

To be honest, I don't know much else about how a CBA exactly works but I am just excited that Hockey is finally back! When I woke up and saw the text from ESPN I jumped out of bed, put on a Flyers t-shirt, my Richie jersey, a Flyers hat and ran around my house screaming about the news.

With the season set to start within a few weeks, hopefully I will be more motivated to write more.  I didn't feel the urge to write in the past while because I was annoyed by the lockout.  I hope that anyone that reads this blog enjoys it and I'll try to put some more stuff up soon.  I feel like I'll mostly be writing about hockey and the Flyers but I am a huge fan of all Philly sports and pro sports in general so I guess we'll see.

Thanks for reading.  Lets Go Flyers!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Philadelphia Flyers Sign D Shea Weber to Offer Sheet, Philadelphia 'Explodes' in Middle of the Night

If you were up at 1:30 this morning, you may have heard that the Philadelphia Flyers have signed defenseman Shea Weber to an offer sheet worth upwards of $100 mil over 14 years, according to TSN.

This comes as shocking news, as it was thought the Flyers were done making their moves of the offseason.  This signing would clearly cement Philadelphia with one of, if not the best defensive corps in the entire NHL.  

Shea Weber is the second coming of Chris Pronger, the Flyers currently injured Captain.  Weber is the complete package.  There is absolutely no second guessing that.  He has great size (6' 4" 234 lbs.), great defensive ability (177 hits, 140 blocked shots, +21 last year), and brings a lot of offense with a booming slap shot (see picture above and 18.5 goals and 48.3 points per year over the past 4 years).  Combine all of that with the facts that Weber is already the Captain of the Predators and that he is only 26 years old, and Paul Holmgren has hit a home run this offseason with a move that may just get Flyers fans that Stanley Cup they've yearned for for so long.
*Note: Weber has also been runner up to the Norris Trophy(Best all around defenseman in the league) for the past two years.  Multiple wins are almost guaranteed for him given his development so far.

But wait just a minute.  I'm assuming a good lot of Flyers fans forgot that Shea Weber is a restricted free agent.  Homer didn't get away with the best overall defenseman(In my opinion) just yet.  Let's break it down, a restricted free agent is different in that players have special restrictions(duh) on the terms under which they can retain or change employment status with their current team. 

In the NHL, if a team wants to sign a restricted free agent, they must extend an offer sheet, in which the interested team must give up a series of picks dependent on how much money the player in question would make with a new contract.  Shea Weber falls into the most extreme category of RFA's.  He made $7.5 mil this past year and will likely make about the same per year on the proposed contract by the Flyers.  Because it is so much money, the Flyers would have to send Nashville 4 first round picks over the next 4 years.

Some people may say that is too much to give up for Weber, but listen to this.  He is a stud, he completely fills the role of Chris Pronger and is over 10 years younger.  Sure, 4 first rounders is a lot to give, but the current Flyers roster is filled with young guys who are still growing who will run the team soon(see; Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn).  In my opinion, given how young the Flyers are, we can live with no first round picks for a while, even if the draft will be held in Philadelphia in two years.

However, even with the offer sheet compensation, Nashville can still reject that offer and sign Weber to the contract proposed by the Flyers.  The Flyers would be able to keep the draft picks in this scenario.  Rejecting the Flyers offer sheet would probably be the best decision for the Predators.  It would keep their heart and soul in Nashville for the rest of his career(likely), and given that Ryan Suter, the second piece in Nashville has already left as a UFA, that would be a necessary thing.

Simple solution, right? Wrong.  Besides Weber and Suter, Nashville doesn't have many stars.  Besides goaltender Pekka Rinne, there isn't much to build around.  They can however, build around 4 extra first round draft picks.  It's definitely a risk, but considering that Weber is already upset at Nashville for letting Suter go, maybe they should just take a step back and focus on a rebuild.  Obviously, I am not an NHL GM, but realizing that Weber being one of the only guys on your team with value would make me think.  Would they really have a chance at a deep playoff run, even though they have lost players?

The Predators have a week to decide.

Thanks for reading! Comment and let me know what you think.  Is Homer smart for offering that big of a contract? Will Nashville GM David Poile let Weber go? Without Weber, do the Flyers still have a chance for a deep playoff run? Let everyone know!

Follow me on twitter @PhillySteve15

*Update: The contract in question appears to be worth $110 mil.  The layout is as follows

There is a lot of money in bonuses the first few years.  Will the Nashville franchise even be able to afford that, regardless of cap space?  We'll just have to wait and see.

Thanks again for reading! Comment please

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Flyers Have Real Chance to Land Zach Parise

It is reported from multiple sources that the Philadelphia Flyers have offered UFA Zach Parise a contract for 12 years worth about 100 million dollars.  Parise is the cream of this years free agency crop and was being pursued by almost every team today.  This contract offer goes to show how highly many teams covet the 27 year old winger.

Zach Parise is a complete player.  He is a very talented goal scorer, can pass the puck equally as well.  He is very adept at playing a 2-way style and isn't afraid to play gritty and get into the dirty areas.  He is also a leader and plays the game the right way. A hard worker who you can respect. Was Captain of the Devils last season.

Just recently, a 'short list' was leaked for teams Parise was interested in signing with.  The list included New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Detroit.  Another thing to take note of is the fact that Parise didn't like being behind former teammate Ilya Kovalchuk in the New Jersey spotlight.  If this has an impact on who he signs with, Pittsburgh doesn't make much sense.  He would be third fiddle behind both Sidney Crosby and reigning MVP Evgeni Malkin.  Detroit has Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.  In Minnesota, Parise's home state, Zach would be King, but the Wild don't have nearly as good a team as the others mentioned which may have an impact as the Wild aren't a bonafide Stanley Cup contender.  New Jersey may be the best option has he has played his whole career there.  But, the Devils have had some financial issues as an organization, and another giant contract wouldn't be good for the team.

This leaves Philadelphia, a young team with a lot of youth, talent and potential.  Claude Giroux is the head honcho here, which may be an issue but when you think about it, Giroux and Parise would play together.  It would be leading a team by committee, which could be intriguing for Zach.

Now we must understand that the Devils and Flyers have a bitter rivalry.  What we don't know is how Parise will react to that though.  If he doesn't consider the rivalries of the team he signs with, Philadelphia could be a very likely landing place for the American winger.

Flyers fans like myself are salivating at the thought of having a line consisting of Claude Giroux, Zach Parise and Scott Hartnell.  If Parise was to join the Flyers, the team would be an instant favorite to win the Cup, which is the primary goal for any hockey player.

Could Zach Parise be headed for the City of Brotherly Love? It may make people laugh, but this seems like a very likely landing place for Parise.  We know that Zach will wait until tomorrow to make his decision, so at this point, we can just speculate. 

These are my views and reasons to why I think the Philadelphia Flyers are a very reasonable place for Zach Parise to sign with.

Follow me on twitter @PhillySteve15  
Thanks for reading!

Flyers Make Offers to Parise, Suter, Carle

3 of the biggest names in free agency, these guys will be getting a lot of calls today.  The Flyers only have a reasonable shot to resign Carle. However, if the Flyers can sign any of these players, I will be one happy guy.

Parise is the complete package. A winger, he would be a great compliment to Claude Giroux. He brings leadership, grit, skill and a relentless motor. Very unlikely to sign here though.

Suter and Carle bring similar skill sets, but Suter is a top pairing defenseman.  Shot blocking, puck moving, safe players.  Suter will get a much bigger contract though.

Flyers may have interest in Mike Knuble

A former Flyer, Knuble would bring grit, leadership and experience to a young team.

Minnesota Wild Sends Offers to Parise, Suter

Parise is from MN and the Wild aren't afraid to show him the money.  They claim they won't be outbid.  This is a team to watch out for today.