Our goals against is too damn high! Blame the goalies for being too soft! Blame the defensemen for not being aggressive enough! Blame the forwards for not coming back to help enough! Blame the coach for having a terrible system! Blame the GM for not acquiring the right players! That’s kind of what it may seem like right now, after our latest string of games. However, we can relax a bit because almost every team feels like they have a fatal flaw that can end up costing them a chance at glory. That’s why the trade deadline in the NHL is so exciting. There’s always a flurry of moves by many teams trying to add those final pieces that can help get them over the hump.
Anyway, our focus of course is on the Flyers. We cannot change the entire team at the deadline. The rumors have been focused on Shea Weber or Ryan Suter from the Nashville Predators, and/or Hal Gill from the Montreal Canadiens. I’m not sure who started the rumor or how credible it is. Weber/Suter are allegedly available because both have expiring contracts and people think they won’t resign, so Nashville should trade them at the risk of losing them for nothing in the offseason. Hal Gill may be available simply because he’s a depth guy and the Canadiens aren’t a strong team, so trading a “proven veteran” for a prospect might work for them.
Are any of these guys, or another defenseman the answer? What if we just get a scorer like Rick Nash to make our offense so deep, that it alleviates the pressure from our D? Are we simply one or two players away from making everything better? Honestly, the answer is yes and no. I had a math teacher in middle school who used to say, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you always got.” We know what we have with this group of guys, and it likely won’t change. So let’s say we do acquire a new player, be it a superstar or someone that simply fits the system and can be relied upon.
That player, or players, will not make us much better on their own. One player cannot carry a hockey team. But, it may have enough of a ripple effect that things start to fall in place. Maybe the new player has some quality, or some skill, that it changes how the rest of locker rooms either prepares for a game, or plays a game. If we get a d-man, maybe the pairings are shuffled a certain way that we end up with some combo’s that Lavy hadn’t considered before. Remember what the big change was two years ago? It was putting Ville Leino on a line with Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere. Once that line was clicking, we suddenly had 3 lines that could apply consistent offensive pressure. Does anyone think Ville Leino is such an amazing player? Of course not. But once he got a full time spot, things just worked out.
So as the trade deadline approaches, that’s what we should be looking for. Maybe Shea Weber is the answer. Maybe it’s some guy we never heard of. Whoever it is, we need to do something that will make this team that much better, so we can finally have a parade down Broad Street in June.
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