Snider says Flyers 'need more'

Posted: May 04, 2014

Without trying, Ed Snider sounded as though he had created a slogan for next year's Flyers.

"I'm happy with the core, but I know we need more," Snider, chairman of the Flyers' parent company, Comcast-Spectacor, said during a news conference Friday at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, where the players were clearing out their lockers.

Snider gave the team a "B" grade for its overall performance this season, despite getting eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs.

He said he factored in how the Flyers rebounded from a franchise-worst 1-7 start, going 41-23-10 the rest of the way before falling to the New York Rangers, four games to three, in the playoffs.

"I'm anxious to see what Craig Berube can do with a full training camp and a fresh start," said Snider, mindful that Berube was named the head coach after three games. "If we play like we did after the horrible start, we'll be a very, very good team, but not necessarily one that can win the Cup, and that's our goal. We want to win the Cup, and we want to do everything possible to fix whatever we have to fix in order to win it."

General manager Paul Holmgren said the Flyers want to hang onto their top forwards, adding he was happy that several of the younger players had long-term contracts.

"To me, we can win a Stanley Cup with the core that's there right now," he said, including forwards Claude Giroux, Matt Read, Wayne Simmonds, Jake Voracek, and Sean Couturier. "I certainly would like to keep that core together for a number of years."

Holmgren also has veteran forwards with long-term deals, such as Scott Hartnell (five more years) and Vinny Lecavalier (four more years), who underperformed in the regular season and playoffs.

Snider, referring to Steve Mason, said he was "excited about the fact we have a very young, outstanding goaltender with his future ahead of him. Goaltenders today, they mature later, usually. Steve has done a great job. We've got one of the best players in the league in Claude Giroux. We have a lot to build around. We have a lot of good, young players."

Snider said that while he sees lots of positives, "I'm not sitting here saying I'm satisfied. I'm not satisfied. We've been focusing in the last two years on drafting young defensemen. We've got some in the hopper; when they're going to be ready, I don't know.

"I like to call him 'got-to-be-here,' however you pronounce it," Snider said, referring to collegiate defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere,"but he's got to be here. I think this kid has tremendous potential. Who knows? Young defensemen are doing wonderful things all over the league."

The speedy Gostisbehere led Union to the NCAA title.

"There's no reason for us to think that this kid can't come in and help us," Snider said. "To be a plus-7 in the championship game when there's seven goals scored and four against is pretty amazing."

The Flyers also are high young defensemen Robert Hagg and Sam Morin, who, with Gostisbehere, will be given a chance to make the team in training camp.

"I'm not going to sit here today and say there's absolutely no way they can play in the NHL" next season, Holmgren said. ". . . That's what training camp is for.

"Robert Hagg played a good 10 games in the American League . . . and he looked pretty good," Holmgren said. "A lot of people saw Shayne play in the NCAA Final. He played pretty good, but that's a big jump. I saw him play one American League game, and he played pretty good in that game too.

"I like some of our young guys, but is it a stretch to say they're going to be ready for the NHL? It's probably a stretch, but there are also guys that have done it over the past couple of years with other teams."

Snider said the Flyers need to make "several tweaks. We can't stand pat. Obviously if we stand pat, we have no reason to expect that we get out of the first round next year."


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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