Tim Panaccio breaks down the Flyers' preseason
New Flyers defenseman Hal Gill brings the experience of winning a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh. (AP)
Hal Gill won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009. You can’t put a price tag on that kind of experience in the NHL.
But it sure helps having someone with a 15-year pedigree of playing time in your dressing room on a Flyers club that has been trying unsuccessfully under Peter Laviolette to win a Cup since 2010.
“It’s not necessarily winning a Cup, it’s everything you go through to get there,” said the 38-year-old defenseman, who signed a one-year, $700,000 contract with the Flyers on Tuesday (see story).
“When I was in Pittsburgh and we won the Cup, we were in 11th place [in the Eastern Conference] with 25 games left. It was a down time. Just as much winning the Cup in the end was an up time, you need to know how to handle those down times and in-between.
“There are times when nothing goes your way and times when everything goes your way. You need to know how to handle that. With 16 years, you get that experience and hopefully, I can help out anyone who is willing to listen. Anyone who cares.”
Gill remains a physically imposing man at 6-foot-7 and a net presence even though his mobility is rather slow, as general manager Paul Holmgren put it. Then again, Holmgren added that Gill has looked the same the past 10 years.
With Chris Pronger being moved to the long-term injured reserve (LTIR), the Flyers were able to use Pronger’s $4.9 million cap money to sign Gill and move center Adam Hall back onto the roster from the Phantoms.
Gill, who signed a tryout deal in September, was a longshot to make the Flyers' roster unless the club lost some bodies on defense. Bruno Gervais was waived and is now a Phantom. Marc-Andre Bourdon is injured.
“I looked at it as a chance to get into an NHL camp with a good team and to play and get better every day,” Gill said. “I’ve been saying it before, but I just worry what I can do and not about the rest. I have an agent [Mark Witkin] who takes care of contracts and I can go out and worry about hockey.”
For now, the Flyers have eight defensemen, but if they can move one more, they will. The likely candidate would be Andrej Meszaros whom the club was “showcasing” for a trade throughout training camp but have thus far been unable to move.
“I’m happy to be part of this team because I think it has a shot to win,” Gill said. “You want a chance to be playing in June. That is what I am looking toward.”