Priced to Move? Examining the Flyers Options as Trade Deadline Approaches

Priced to Move? Examining the Flyers Options as Trade Deadline Approaches

The Flyers are a lot like a car accident right now. Don’t
worry! Everybody is a little shaken up, some minor bumps and bruises, but
otherwise okay. The vehicle on the other hand…

Now the insurance company needs to assess the damage. It
still drives, although they suspect something is out whack with the suspension because
the ride is no longer very smooth at all. Fixing it might be as simple as
replacing the defective parts. Either way the insurance might want to total the
automobile based on the damage to the exterior alone, even if the driver prefers
to get it back on the road because some of the features are cool and might be
hard to find.

Then again, maybe it would be best not to get those crooks
involved at all, instead try to get little things fixed over time.

My apologies in advance if the metaphor runs too deep, but the Flyers
are in no-man’s land both in the standings and with regard to what they should
do at the upcoming trade deadline one week from today on April 3. They certainly
haven’t looked like a playoff team, much less a viable contender, but there is
a ton of talent on the roster, and it’s been proven time and time again anybody
can get hot and win the Stanley Cup as long as they get in the tournament
first.

So the debate is whether they should get the work done – buy
– or total it and start looking for something new – sell.

No matter what happens over the next four games, buying is likely
an option that only people within the organization would consider a reasonable solution.
The team is flawed, has been inconsistent all season, is constantly up against
the salary cap, not to mention would still be on the brink of missing the
playoffs when everything was said and done.

And at what cost do the Flyers acquire this magic cure-all?
Sean Couturier? Brayden Schenn? Would they mortgage the future for a ride that
could just wind up stranded by the side of the road anyway?

Selling is sort of a pipe dream, too. Who is the front
office able to move that will give the franchise the cap relief necessary to
make big changes in the offseason? Danny Briere was the obvious choice, and
there was said to be some interest around the league, but the obvious concern
is he would use his no-trade clause – plus now he’s out with a concussion.

What other high-priced trade chips are available that
somebody else would actually want? Scott Hartnell? Ilya Bryzgalov? Face it, the
Flyers are stuck with that old jalopy.

There was a third option though: fix it as they go. In other
words, do nothing. You and I both know it would take everything in the organization’s
power to stand pat at the trade deadline, but unless the absolute right deal
pulls on to the lot, it might make more sense to stick with the fixer-upper.

Why overreact to between 30 and 35 games of a shortened
hockey season? HockeyBuzz’s Bill Meltzer made a salient point as the Flyers
went into their five-day break last week, saying it would be “utterly asinine”
to reverse course on their current direction given the sample size and nature
of a shortened season.

Here's the No. 1 thing to keep in
mind: The Flyers have played two months of hockey. The season started on Jan
19. Today is March 20. In a normal season cycle, the Flyers would have played
fewer than their current 30 games after two months. In a legitimate full
season, it would be December, and we'd be still be several weeks away from the
statistical halfway point of the schedule.

What the Flyers’ brain trust needs to realize as the
deadline approaches is that while there are a handful of established veterans
in that locker room, the core of this team is young and still developing.
Couturier, both Schenns, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, and even Claude Giroux
are all 25 years old or younger. Matt Read is 26, and there are a bunch of
kids in their system such as Tye McGinn, Scott Laughton, Marc-Andre Bourdon,
Erik Gustafsson, and Brandon Manning that can have a major impact in the near future.

Should the Flyers really add a spoiler on to the back end of
their whip at the expense of putting the rest of it up on blocks? Should they start thinking about trading in a few of the classics for significantly less than blue-book value so they can start saving for something new? Or should they ride it out with the parts they have and worry about restoring the finish over time?

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As Eagles enter bye, Doug Pederson aims to thwart complacency

As Eagles enter bye, Doug Pederson aims to thwart complacency

The Eagles are 3-0. They’re alone atop the NFC East and have been the biggest surprise of the young NFL season.

Doug Pederson’s message to his team: You haven’t done anything yet.

Although the Eagles are riding high, Pederson doesn’t want his team to change its outlook or hard work. That’s what teams have to worry about once they’ve found some success.

“The biggest thing is complacency,” Pederson said Monday. “You think you've arrived. You think you are all that. When that creeps in, that's when you get beat. It's my job not to let that creep in. I've got to keep the guys focused and grounded. I told them this week they're going to travel and go home and people are going to pat them on the back and say how great they are.

“But next Monday, I'm going to tell them, ‘Hey, we're back to work. We're 0-0. This is Game 1 and let's go.’ That's just the way it has to be. You are building for one ultimate goal and that's a few weeks down the road. That's what you are trying to get to. But you can't get there unless you take care of the next opponent. It's my job to keep them focused that way.”

Being 3-0 (they’re one of five 3-0 teams) gives the Eagles a head start, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee them a playoff spot. This is the ninth 3-0 start in franchise history. They’ve made the playoffs just five times in the previous eight. And they recently missed the playoffs after starting 3-0 in 2014 under Chip Kelly.

In NFL history (before this season), there have been 276 teams to start with 3-0 records. Of them, 200 (72.3 percent) have made the playoffs.

“We just have to approach it the same, one day at a time,” Pederson said. “That's the way this business goes. You are on top of the world one minute, and you can be at the bottom of the heap the next. Just got to keep things even-keeled and can't get too high, can't get too low. Approach it the same. Like I mentioned earlier, you can't substitute for hard work. That pays off on Sundays. We just have to stay the course. Again, a lot of football left.”

While the Week 4 bye comes pretty early, the Eagles have a couple key players who will use the time to get healthy. And Connor Barwin pointed out that the bye is coming about closer to the halfway point between when the team started its tough training camp and the end of the season.

Pederson told his players to use the week to get away from football and free their minds. Meanwhile, Pederson and his coaches will use the extra time to self-scout and prepare for the final 13 games of the regular season.

With a first-year head coach and a rookie quarterback who was thrust into action a week before the opener, expectations outside (and perhaps inside) the building were tempered.

The Eagles aren’t an underdog anymore.

“We kind of enjoyed flying under the radar, but obviously a win like this against a team like the Steelers will open some eyes around the league,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “For us, nothing different. We’ll keep our preparation the same. We’ll stick our heads down and focus on the work day to day and understand what’s gotten us to 3-0.”

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Ivan Provorov displays durability, versatility in Flyers' preseason loss

Ivan Provorov displays durability, versatility in Flyers' preseason loss

BOX SCORE

NEWARK, N.J. — How much of a horse is Flyers defensive prospect Ivan Provorov?

Well, consider this:

The 19-year-old logged a game-high 28:48 of ice time Monday night during the Flyers' 2-0 split-squad loss to the Devils in which he also quarterbacked the first-unit power play (8:03) and had the most penalty kill time (3:58) (see story).

“I thought I played well,” Provorov said. “It took me a few shifts to get into the game. I competed as hard as I could.”

He said he was used to playing more than 25 minutes in Brandon (WHL), anyway.

“Of course, this is a better league, high pace and it will take a few games to adjust,” Provorov said.

Because the Flyers have yet to work on power play, the results aren’t there. They were 0 for 7 in the game.

“We haven’t done anything on the ice, but have done some video on the PK on the board but nothing on the power play,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “There’s other priorities now with so many players (64) in camp.”

Provorov worked both points on the power play and had just one official shot in the game.

“We didn’t get to do much power play [in camp],” he said. “It will get better as the preseason goes on.”

Rookie forward Travis Konecny worked the low slot on the top power play. He logged 18:34 of ice time, including 6:01 PP time. Konecny had two shots in the game.

He was on Andy Miele’s line with Scott Laughton. Konency had the only shots on his line.

Hakstol said Konecny and Provorov each “settled in” as the game went on. Hakstol isn’t sure if one or both will play Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center against the Islanders.

Konecny’s body language in camp exudes confidence unlike a year ago when he was skittish in his first-ever Flyers training camp. Now he sits back, takes it all in and has that look on his face of been there, done that.

In fact, he was trying to calm down some of his buddies, Anthony Salinitri and Connor Bunnaman, who were seeing the lights before the game.

“Me and [Ivan] Provorov were just talking,” he said. “We feel a lot more comfortable this year.

“I’ve been in this position here. I have my guys Salinitri and Bunnaman, we all hang out together and it’s their first year.

“They’re excited for their first preseason game just like I was last year, but I’m not thinking, ‘Wow, it’s an NHL arena.’ I’m thinking about the game and getting ready to play.”

Konecny was impressive last fall as an 18-year-old and Hakstol said he takes everything into account with more emphasis on the now than the past.

“Your body of work includes your season last year,” Hakstol  said. “Includes everything. The most important information is what you do right now. No question in my mind. I take everything into account.”

Take this into account: Alex Lyon is going to be a contender with Anthony Stolarz for the starting job in goal with the Phantoms this season. He was outstanding with 28 saves on 29 shots.

“They spent some time in our zone and had their big guns out there,” Lyon said of being under siege for two-thirds of the game. “They had a few shots but we did a good job keeping them to the outside. No super grade A opportunities.”

Lyon stopped two breakaways by Beau Bennett, one within three minutes of play.

“I felt like a newborn deer and could barely stand up,” quipped the former Yale goalie. “I was so nervous. It felt good to stop the first one.”