Rising star, or major bust?

Flyers Fixing Up Defense

So far the goalie sweepstakes has given us nothing.  Dan Ellis’ rights bounced around, and he finally became a free agent, and signed with Vancouver.  While I thought he’d stay in Montreal and compete with Carey Price for a starting job. I guess that won’t be happening, so I don’t have to convince myself that the Flyers should trade for Price.  He’s got too many question marks, and I don’t know if he’s worth the risk.

Anyway, since the whole point is to keep pucks out of our net, the Flyers acquired a pair of defensemen.  Andrej Meszaros and Sean O’Donnel, welcome to Philadelphia. Meszaros has battled injuries, and was stuck in a hockey wasteland for the past three years (Tampa Bay). Before that, he was a solid defenseman for some pretty good Ottawa teams. We traded a draft pick to get him here.  From what I’ve seen, he likes to throw the body around, and has played a pretty solid defensive game. He’s not going to be asked to contribute a lot, and he should be a huge upgrade over anybody that was a part of the rotation for our 3rd defensive pair. He’s only 24, and already has 5 years under his belt; not bad.

O’Donnel won a Cup with Chris Pronger in Anaheim a few years ago. He’s been in LA lately, and is credited with helping the growth of Drew Doughty. He’s old (39), but has a ton of experience. Again, we don’t need him to do a whole lot to help us win. Just bring us a steady presence that doesn’t get rattled in big games, and pressure situations. He’ll probably pair up with Meszaros for the 3rd defensive pair.   I expect these guys to take some pressure off the top 4 guys, allowing them to play less minutes. With these additions, we have to be one of the top 3 or 4 defensive units in the league.

Finally, we added enforcer Jody Shelley. I guess he’ll be the replacement for Carcillo (or maybe Cote, but he never played anyway).  What can I say, we’re the Flyers, we need someone to fight. I guess if he can lay a few people out and stand up for our stars I’m fine with him. I hope he’s not a complete waste of space though. I hate enforcers that are more of a liability than an asset, and unfortunately, most are like that. We’ll wait and see with this guy.

With the acquisition of these three, we don’t have the cap space to sign Nabokov  or Turco.  So if we’re going to get a goalie upgrade, it’s either going to take a lucky break with someone cheap, or a trade. And awesome goalies don’t get traded very often. As the cards stack up today, Leighton seems to be the guy.

Thanks for reading!

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Tags: Andrej Meszaros Brian Boucher Carcillo Chris Pronger Jody Shelley Kimmo Timonen Michael Leighton Philadelphia Flyers Sean O'Donnel

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