Category Archives: Phi. Flyers

Three teams that could claim Andrew Hammond off waivers

After failing to trade him, the Ottawa Senators placed 28-year-old goaltender Andrew Hammond on waivers earlier today.

“The Hamburglar”, as he is more well known by after his impressive run late in the 2014-2015 season that left him with a 20-1-2 record, played in two games for Ottawa this year. In those two games, he posted a .793 SV%.

Although the last two seasons haven’t been ideal for Hammond, he still provides value. He has a reasonable cap hit at 1.35 million for this season and the next.

Injuries have been at a premium in the NHL early on this season, so there are certainly teams looking for goaltending help.

The most notable is the Los Angeles Kings. Jonathan Quick is still out for a few more months. Currently, the Kings are rolling with Peter Budaj and Jeff Zatkoff in net, although Zatkoff is just returning from injury. They also have former first round pick (of Dallas) Jack Campbell in the minors.

Claiming Hammond would be a relatively low-risk move for the Kings. He could return to form in front of a strong defense comprised of the likes of Jake Muzzin and Drew Doughty, and his cap hit is low enough not to hurt Los Angeles in the long run.

Another team in search of goaltending help is the Philadelphia Flyers. Michal Neuvirth is slated to be out another four to five weeks, and organizational trust in Steve Mason appears to be waning. Anthony Stolarz, who has been good in the AHL this year, is currently with the team, but it is uncertain if he is completely ready.

Hammond would provide another NHL-caliber option in net for Philadelphia. It allows Stolarz to continue to grow in the AHL while Mason and Hammond work the NHL. The only issue the Flyers face is that they would have to waive Hammond in a few weeks when Neuvirth comes back and that would create a logjam in the crease down in the minors if he were to clear.

Lastly, the Edmonton Oilers may have a use for Hammond. After starting off the season hot, the Oilers have gone into a tailspin, having lost their last five in a row.

Currently in net, the Oilers employ Cam Talbot and Jonas Gustavsson. Talbot has been fantastic, but after the three games Gustavsson has played, he sits below a .900 SV%. With no immediate option other than Laurent Brossoit looming, the Oilers could provide a longer term home for Hammond.

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Trade Possibility: Jonas Brodin

Chuck Fletcher and the Minnesota Wild are looking to get better for next season, and they may have to deal one of their defensemen to do so. With Ryan Suter eating big minutes and Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba, and Jonas Brodin falling behind him, the Wild certainly have an abundance of NHL caliber defensemen. This does not include Mike Reilly, Nate Prosser, and Christian Folin either.  Read the rest of this entry

Shayne Gostisbehere for Calder 

I am officially on the Shayne Gostisbehere for Calder train. 

The rookie Flyers defenseman has been making headlines ever since his call up on November 12th. His résumé this season includes 38 points, including 15 goals, in 49 games, highlighted by the fact that he had a fifteen game point streak in the middle of the season. 

Don’t get me wrong, Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Artemi Panarin, and others are all fantastic choices in their own right, but few players have had the impact on their team like Gostisbehere has had on the Flyers. Before his re-call, the Flyers were 5-8-3, a points percentage of .406. Since then, they have gone 27-15-9, good for a points percentage of .618. 

If he were to win, Gostisbehere would be the first Flyers player ever to win the Calder Trophy. 

As of now, I’d pin my Calder candidates as Connor McDavid, Artemi Panarin, and Shayne Gostisbehere. McDavid was injured for a large portion of the year which will hurt him in this race, but he has still been such an impactful player that it is hard to turn away. Panarin may lose some voters due to his age being 24 and his prior professional experience in the KHL. 

On top of all the goals, assists, and crazy stat-lines, Shayne Gostisbehere has also propelled the Flyers, almost single handedly, back into the playoff race. If they do wind up kicking out the Penguins or Red Wings for that final spot, it will be hard to argue against him. You have to wonder what would have been made of the Flyers season if he did not get the call-up when he did or even at all. 

Ghost Bear for Calder. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Trade Winds: one more month until the NHL trade deadline 

The trade deadline is rapidly approaching and is now about one month away. Teams are beginning to see whether or not they want to sell their players at the deadline meaning the speculation will continue to increase. 

The Buffalo Sabres are still shopping Tyler Ennis but to no avail yet. He has been disappointing this year and with a crowded top-six of young players in Buffalo, he may not have a spot. Due to his high salary, some will have to be retained. Jamie McGinn is also being looked at around the league, but Buffalo likes him. Could he pull a Matt Moulson and sign back with Buffalo in the summer after being traded? We’ll see. 

The Canucks have been looking around the league for potential suitors for Radim Vrbata and Dan Hamhuis. The latter has had injury problems this year, however Vrbata would be a nice pickup for a team in the playoff hunt. Someone like Florida, Nashville, or one of the New York teams could have interest in the forward. 

The Coyotes are very reluctant to move Mikkel Boedker although nothing is impossible. The Danish left winger is due for a big pay increase from his current 3.75 million.

You wonder what the deal is with Yevgeni Medvedev and the Flyers is. He is a good defenseman and would be great for a playoff run for any team but the Flyers are still in the thick of the playoff race themselves. The Flyers also have an influx of young defensemen coming up through the system which could make Medvedev expendable. 

Keith Yandle continues to be shopped but nothing as of yet. It might be in best interest for the Rangers, given their closing window, to get this playoff run out of him. 

Columbus is expected to be very aggressive at the trade deadline. Although they have no big unrestricted free agents, certain names could be moved out such as Kerby Rychel. The David Clarkson contract has been thrown out there but to no takers. 

The Islanders seem to be at a gridlock with Travis Hamonic and Kyle Okposo. Hamonic’s trade won’t come until the offseason and the Islanders don’t want to give up Okposo for futures so they may end up keeping him and risk losing him to free agency. 

The Jets have equally looked around for Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien. Nothing is out of the question for the deadline for either player. Ladd is the more feasible option for the team, however. 

Don’t be surprised if the Anaheim Ducks make another move prior to February 29th. Likely a defense for offense move. 

More to come as the trade deadline draws nearer. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Flyers, Kings pull off unexpected trade involving large contracts 

The Flyers have unloaded two more of their bad contracts by trading Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn to the Los Angeles Kings. In return, the Flyers got back Jordan Weal and a third round pick. 

The trade winds were first thrown out there by Bob McKenzie and a few minutes later the trade was announced. 

Elliotte Friedman and Darren Dreger simultaneously reported that the Flyers would be keeping 50% of each salary. Even thought that is a large chunk of change, Luke Schenn’s contract ends after this season and Vinny Lecavalier’s current plan is to retire after the season. The Flyers clear just over four million dollars in cap space with this move, and also give themselves an extra roster space by acquiring a pick instead of an additional player. 

Ron Hextall again proved himself to be a competent and seemingly miraculous general manager with this deal. He has now traded away four bad Paul Holmgren contracts — Grossman, Pronger, L. Schenn and Lecavalier. 

From the Kings’ perspective, they get a much needed defenseman that is only on a one year deal. Lecavalier is on a multi-year deal, but his plans to retire make the burden extraordinarily less. 

This was a weird and unexpected trade, but it has the possibilities to work out for both teams. Time will tell for Los Angeles, but Philadelphia definitely has a winner. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Five players who haven’t lived up to early season expectations 

Thanksgiving has generally been the measuring stick for NHL teams on where they stand for their race to the playoffs, but this year may be different due to how close everyone is and how easily a spot can be stolen. However, the holiday is also a good spot to see where the players who make up your team stand. For some, this is a good sign. For many other players though, the time to turn it around is now. 

Jeff Skinner, Carolina

5 goals, 1 assist, -1 rating 

Skinner’s name has been surfaced in trade tumors over the past couple of years and his production has consistently dropped in that time. After an outstanding rookie year with 63 points, Skinner has only hit 50 points once in his three full seasons since. Albeit playing on a lackluster Hurricanes squad, the team still needs more out of their former seventh overall pick. Skinner is 23 and still could be moved before seasons end, and is currently on pace for 18 goals. 

Dougie Hamilton, Calgary

2 goals, 3 assists, -4 rating 

Many people were shocked when Boston traded the 22 year old defenseman to Calgary for a trio of picks this summer, but the transition hasn’t been smooth for Hamilton. An analytical atrocity last season, the Flames looked to shore up that issue in part with this acquisition, but not much has changed. Hamilton has struggled in both ends of the ice, and his offensive output simply hasn’t been on par with the .50 PPG pace he had last season. 

Michael Del Zotto, Philadelphia 

0 goals, 3 assists, -11 rating

After a resurgence in his career last season with 32 points, Michael Del Zotto has seemingly fallen back into regression, although he still has 3/4th of the season to make amends. The 20th overall pick in 2008 by the Rangers found his game with Philly last year after a stint in Nashville, but like most other Flyers defensemen he has been unable to keep up in both ends of the rink. The Flyers are dead last in the NHL for goals for and eighth in goals against, and they need contributions from their defense to get out of both of those slumps. 

Michael Raffl, Philadelphia 

1 goal, 2 assists, -3 rating 

After notching 21 goals last year, Raffl has flopped like most other Flyers forwards this year. Currently on pace for four goals on the year, the Austrian native needs to desperately pick his game up. 

Zegmus Girgensons, Buffalo

1 goal, 1 assist, -1 rating

Much like Raffl, Girgensons is only on track for four goals this year. Girgensons had 30 points last year, good enough to get voted into the all-star game by his Latvian countrymen. Not flashy numbers, but good for a defensively minded forward. Girgensons, like Hamilton and Skinner, is young (22 in January) and still has plenty of time to turn it around. 

This stretch at the beginning of the year is not the end all and be all for any of the players on this list or that could have made this list. With such close standings, many of the teams with players here can easily turn it around and make themselves into a contender. Three fourths of the season remain. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Trade Winds: Defensive Addition 

It’s hard to find a solid, NHL defenseman on the trade market before the deadline, let alone this early in the year. However, some options are there. Teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Carolina Hurricanes are looking for help on the blueline amongst others. None of the names available are flashy, but they can get the job done for any team desperate for help. 

The “biggest” name on the market as of today is Dennis Wideman. The 32 year old can still put up points with 56 last season and 6 assists in 12 games this season, but his contract is scaring other teams off. His teammate Kris Russell has also been linked to trade talks. Russell lead the league in blocked shots last year and is on good pace to do so this year again. Whether that’s indicative to Calgary’s play or Russell’s individual play, nobody will know unless a trade happens. 

Bob McKenzie also reported the other day that the services of Luke Schenn, Roman Polak, and Matt Carle are available for the right price. Schenn and Polak could be moved later in the year, but Carle is an interesting name. He’s been brutal this year for the Lightning but they are still a win-now team so the price could fluctuate for a guy like him. It’ll be interesting to see how his storyline progresses over the year. Carle has two season left on his contract after this year at 5.5 million per, which will significantly decrease his value if he doesn’t pick up his game. 

The Jets also have an abundance of defensemen. Dustin Byfuglien won’t be traded until later this year, but players such as Paul Potsma and Grant Clitsome (although he is currently hurt) may be in play. Clitsome is entering into the final year of his deal and Potsma has one year remaining after this season at a reasonable price. Neither player has seen any in game action this year which could scare some teams off. If it comes down to it, the risk would be worth taking because they don’t have the contractual issues some other options do. 

As the season progresses, we’ll get a clearer look at the standings to see who needs help and who doesn’t. Although it might not be for a defenseman, also keep an eye out for Anaheim and Ottawa to be exploring on the trade market soon. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Winners and Losers of Day One of the 2015 NHL Draft

It was an exciting first day of the 2015 NHL Draft, one of the most exciting in years. It saw played such as Robin Lehner, Dougie Hamilton, and Milan Lucic traded before the draft even started, and a bunch of other deals during the draft. Some deals left us scratching our heads, but others were great and out of the blue for teams. Here are our winners and losers of day one. 
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Jakub Voracek: Advanced Stats Warrior

Flyers fans have grown accustomed to the lethal tandem of Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek on the top line. Giroux’s success and talent are apparent to all hockey fans, but Voracek’s contributions are not as well known. Voracek broke out in a big way in the lockout-shortened 2013 season, scoring 46 points in 48 games. He followed that up with 62 points in 82 games this past season; he did this while posting his lowest shooting percentage since 2010. Voracek’s production ability is very strong, and it is reasonable to see him be just short of a point per game pace next season (think 75-80 point range). Read the rest of this entry

What Should the Flyers Do Next?

It has been an uncharacteristically quiet offseason for the Flyers, as Ron Hextall found himself simply unable to shed the salary needed to make more moves. Instead, he focused on keeping the team’s most prized restricted free agents (or, in the case of Tye McGinn, trade him for a pick) and replenishing the newly relocated Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who has one winning season in the last five years. A better supporting cast on the Phantoms will assist the development of some of the Flyers top prospects currently projected to play in the AHL this season. Read the rest of this entry