Over one half of a calendar year has passed since the NHL
entered its traditional offseason mode. Normally by now we would be familiar with
the new faces that came to Philadelphia by way of either free agency or trade.
Instead, after a lockout that lasted over 100 days, it’s understandable if you’ve
maybe forgotten a few of their names. This here is a quick refresher on the comings and goings,
most of which went down over the summer.
Fedotenko isn’t exactly a new face given that he began his
NHL career with the Flyers in 2000, but it’s been 10 years since he last suited
up in Orange & Black. Back on a one-year deal, Feds won’t replace Jaromir Jagr’s
scoring or skate on the first line, but he’s a veteran two-way player who can
man either wing. Instantly becomes the only player in the locker room to have hoisted
the Stanley Cup twice: once with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, then again
with the Pittsburgh Penguins in ’09.
Fresh off the airplane, Foster of course just joined the
Flyers over the weekend, so no refresher needed there. No mystery why this
journeyman blueliner with nine NHL seasons under his belt was brought in,
either. Depth is an issue, especially with Andrej Meszaros still recovering
from a torn Achilles tendon, Marc-Andre Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson also banged
up at the moment. If nothing else, the 6-5, 225-lbs. Foster gives them another
able, big body who could perhaps become a fixture on the third pairing – sort of
what they were hoping for when they made a deadline deal for Pavel Kubina last
With Foster suddenly in the picture, it’s not quite as clear
where Gervais fits. Short-term, he could see some significant ice time given
all of the injuries to defensemen, but down the road one of them is likely going
to wind up giving way to Mez or Bourdon or both. He signed for two years
though, so he certainly appears to be a piece of the puzzle. He’s never
finished as a plus or even player in seven seasons, so there is that – although
the first six of those were with the New York Islanders, and last season with
Technically the Leight Show never actually went anywhere.
Instead, he spent the entirety of last season and all but one game in ’10-’11
with Adirondack. With Sergei Bobrovsky traded to Columbus in the offseason,
Leighton resigned to be the backup. Bob obviously had potential, but Ilya
Bryzgalov is the type of goaltender that seems to get better the more he’s on
the ice, so rather than stunt a young player’s development, they flipped him
for draft picks and went with a low-cost solution.
The big offseason move was shipping James van Riemsdyk to
Toronto in exchange for Schenn, a swap of two promising, young players who have
yet to realize their potential. The concern is Brayden’s brother will never
live up to being the fifth-overall selection in the 2008 draft. However, he’s
only 23, and when you look at the sheer dearth of talent on the Maple Leafs
roster, it’s hard to say how much of the problem was Schenn, and how much of it
was skating with a bunch of minor leaguers. One thing is for sure, with Matt
Carle moved on to Tampa Bay for six years at $33 million, the elder Schenn will
have every opportunity to make his mark on Philly’s back end.
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