Inside the Flyers: Comparing current Flyers to those with other teams

Toronto winger James van Riemsdyk was better this season than his former Flyers teammate Scott Hartnell.
Toronto winger James van Riemsdyk was better this season than his former Flyers teammate Scott Hartnell. (MICHAEL PEREZ / AP)
Posted: May 13, 2013

The Flyers need help.

They missed the playoffs for just the second time in the last 18 years, and their offseason wish list figures to include a productive winger and a top defenseman.

In other words, they will try to add players similar to those they have traded - or lost in free agency - in recent years.

Here is a team of former Flyers and how they compare to this season's team. The ex-Flyers get the edge on offense and at goalie. The defenses are fairly even, though they are difficult to compare because of the Flyers' injuries on the blue line this season.

If healthy, the current Flyers defense gets the edge. That advantage would be huge, of course, if Chris Pronger had not suffered a career-ending concussion.

Top line

Ex-Flyers: James van Riemsdyk (18 goals, 32 points, minus-7), Jeff Carter (26 goals, 33 points, even), and Joffrey Lupul (11 goals, 18 points in 16 games, plus-8).

Flyers: Scott Hartnell (8 goals, 11 points, minus-5), Claude Giroux (13 goals, 48 points, minus-7), and Jake Voracek (22 goals, 46 points, minus-7).

Comment: Van Riemsdyk had a much better year than Hartnell, and that gives the ex-Flyers line the edge. Hartnell, who played on several lines, broke his foot early in the season and never got into a rhythm. The Flyers desperately need him to return to close to his 2011-12 form (career-high 37 goals) next season.

Second line

Ex-Flyers: Jaromir Jagr (16 goals, 35 points, minus-2), Mike Richards (12 goals, 32 points, minus-8), and Justin Williams (11 goals, 33 points, plus-15).

Flyers: Matt Read (11 goals, 24 points, plus-1), Brayden Schenn (8 goals, 26 points, minus-8), and Wayne Simmonds (15 goals, 32 points, minus-7).

Comment: The ex-Flyers on this line had a better season, but youth is with the Flyers. Schenn had a somewhat disappointing sophomore year, but he's only 21, and his numbers weren't too far from Richards'. Schenn had nearly twice as many hits (109-58) as Richards.

Third line

Ex-Flyers: R.J. Umberger (8 goals, 18 points, plus-3), Vinny Prospal (12 goals, 30 points, plus-3), and Patrick Sharp (6 goals, 20 points in 28 games, plus-8)

Flyers: Simon Gagne (5 goals, 16 points, minus-1), Sean Couturier (4 goals, 15 points, minus-8), and Danny Briere (6 goals, 16 points, minus-13).

Comment: A big edge to the ex-Flyers here. Ken Hitchcock, then the Flyers coach, gave Sharp only about eight minutes per game before GM Bob Clarke traded him to Chicago in 2005. Bad moves. Sharp has blossomed into a star. The Flyers dealt him for winger Matt Ellison, who played seven games for Philly. Chicago also got minor-leaguer Eric Meloche, and the Flyers received a 2006 third-round draft pick, which turned out to be the immortal Jon Matsumoto.

Fourth line

Ex-Flyers: Scottie Upshall (4 goals, 5 points, minus-8), Michal Handzus (2 goals, 8 points, minus-2), and Dainius Zubrus (2 goals, 9 points, minus-3).

Flyers: Zac Rinaldo (3 goals, 5 points, minus-7, 143 hits), Ruslan Fedotenko (4 goals, 13 points, plus-8), and Max Talbot (5 goals, 10 points, plus-2).

Comment: Based on this season, we'll give the Flyers a slight advantage; most of these players were hindered by injuries.

Defense top pairing

Ex-Flyers: Dennis Seidenberg (17 points, plus-18, averaged 23:47 per game) and Joni Pitkanen (9 points in 22 games, plus-2, 22:49).

Flyers: Kimmo Timonen (29 points, plus-3, 21:45) and Luke Schenn (11 points, plus-3, 187 hits, tops among NHL defensemen, 21:51).

Comment: You can argue that Seidenberg had a better season than his more heralded Boston teammate, Zdeno Chara. He had more hits (115) and blocks (115) - and a higher plus-minus rating - than Chara. Yes, the Flyers regret trading Seidenberg to Phoenix for veteran center Petr Nedved.

Second pairing

Ex-Flyers: Matt Carle (22 points, plus-1, 23:44) and Luca Sbisa (8 points, 99 hits, even, 19:50).

Flyers: Nick Grossmann (4 points, minus-1, 82 blocked shots in 30 games, 18:19) and Braydon Coburn (5 points, minus-10, 22:36)

Comment: The Flyers lacked speed on their injury-depleted blue line and missed Carle's puck-moving ability. Grossmann and Coburn both had their seasons end early because of injuries.

Third pairing

Ex-Flyers: Steve Eminger (3 points, plus-9, 13:02) and Mark Eaton (0 points, plus-9, 17:58)

Flyers: Erik Gustafsson (8 points, minus-1, 20:08) and Bruno Gervais (6 points, minus-17, 17:07).

Comment: Hard-luck Andrej Meszaros would have anchored this unit, but he was injured most of the year and played just 11 games. Gustafsson made a favorable impression after a minor-league callup.

Goalies

Ex-Flyers: Sergei Bobrovsky (21-11-6 record, 2.00 GAA, .932 save percentage) and Ray Emery (17-1, 1.94, .922).

Flyers: Ilya Bryzgalov (19-17-3, 2.79, .900) and Steve Mason (4-2, 1.90, .944 with Flyers).

Comment: You can't fault the Flyers for not re-signing Emery. No one knew he would make a remarkable recovery from the same hip-bone disorder that curtailed Bo Jackson's athletic career. But dealing Bobrovsky, a Vezina finalist, may come back to haunt them unless Mason's late-season cameo wasn't a mirage.


Contact Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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