Spare Claude Giroux of the Captaincy, for now. Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

BuzzBag: The First Volume


Welcome to the first ever edition of Broad Street Buzz’s “BuzzBag”, a weekly mailbag in which I answer all questions posed to me. Well, tweetbag. You keep the questions coming on Twitter, I’ll maintain BuzzBag as long as I can.

Without further ado, let the questions begin!

@JeffBaumann: @JakePavorsky Flyers players as cast of “Community”.

For those unfamiliar with Community, it is, er, was a great comedy on NBC, starting Donald Glover, Joel McHale, and Chevy Chase, among others. It was slated for six seasons and a movie, but was cancelled midway through season 3, only to be brought back again…and then cancelled again. But to the question…

Michael Leighton as Jeff Winger- Jeff Winger, former lawyer, meet Michael Leighton, former Flyers starting goaltender. Winger was a lawyer in Colorado, until the Bar association found out he got a degree in Colombia, not Columbia University. Leighton led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup in 2010, only for people to find out that, well, he couldn’t close his five hole (damn you, Patrick Kane!). As Jeff is forced to go to Greendale Community College, Michael Leighton is trapped in the AHL with the Adirondack Phantoms. Their problems and their totally inability to achieve success makes them perfectly comparable.

Matt Carle as Britta Perry- Yes, Matt Carle is no longer a current member of the Flyers, but if he had lady parts, he’d be Britta Perry. Matt and Britta have pretty awful luck; Matt Carle with his very costly turnovers, and Britta getting screwed out of her vandalism group that turned into a profitable advertising firm. Also, the verb “Britta’d” was created to recognize failure. There were no cute verbs for Matt Carle; “you suck” or “bum” were some of the fonder things said of Carle when he was with Philadelphia. A lot of blame is placed on both Britta and Matt Carle, but most of the time wrongfully so. Britta has offered numerous times to be Jeff Winger’s therapist, and help him out with his awkward daddy issues. She’s a good girl, just misunderstood. In Carle’s case, he was the most solid defenseman Philadelphia had in 2012. Playing all 82 games, Carle maintained a good +/-, and was very valuable on the offensive end of the ice. Good people, but they don’t get much love.

Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell as Troy and Abed-  Troy and Abed growing together over the three seasons of “Community”, but it only took one season for Giroux and Hartnell to make up a fearsome pairing on Line 1. Abed really rubbed off on Troy, changing him from a football star  into an Inspector Spacetime loving nerd. The sick mitts and dirty dangles of Claude Giroux certainly played to Hartnell’s advantage, as Scott had a career high in goals and points in the 2012 season. Troy and Abed are the closest of any two people on Community, and the chemistry between Giroux and Hartnell on the ice  is just as great.

Ilya Bryzgalov as Pierce Hawthorne- They’re not all there, mentally. Pierce claims he can do everything, and Bryz knows everything.

@OrenThomas4: @JakePavorsky How long is it gonna take to get Bobby Ryan for Christs sake??

Well he is a free agent in 2015….

Frankly, it’s hard to see the Flyers dealing for Bobby Ryan at this point. Although a divorce between Anaheim and Ryan seems imminent, the Ducks have a steep asking price, and for good reason. Compared to other players in both the trade and free agent market (Semin, Rick Nash), Ryan would be a cheaper and a more productive player. Although Philadelphia has shown interest in Ryan, they will not be willing to part with Couturier or Schenn, as the Ducks have asked for. The ceiling on both is far to high to include in a trade, and both have long career with the Flyers ahead of them. If I’m Paul Holmgren, I offer Matt Read, Eric Gustafsson, a 1st and a 3rd rounder for Ryan. Is that a low ball offer? Yes, I believe so. However, the Ducks may be forced to take the best offer on the table, and that will most likely be the Flyers.

Right now, I put the odds of Ryan wearing Orange and Black in 2013 at 25%, but as we have seen in the past, anything can happen.

@SchwabbFTM:@JakePavorsky is @fakepaulhomer gonna make something happen anytime soon? 

I’m going to assume the fake Holmgren will continue to bicker with fake Lavy, and tell fake Leighton he better earn his money by closing his legs (DAMN YOU PATRICK KANE!).

Real Holmgren? I think he may end up being less active than fake Holmgren. Holmgren was quoted as saying last week that he is “cautious” to give up young players to get guys like Ryan or Rick Nash. Although he hasn’t always been truthful in the past, I give him the benefit of the doubt here. What the Flyers have is a strong, and relatively young core, something Homer is not interested in breaking up after just one season. Plus, Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson continues to hold Nash hostage for a king’s ransom, something no team will be willing to payout.

The Flyers took a crazy, $100 million swing at Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and missed both of them. They have also shown interest in the Coyotes Shane Doan, but he seems set on staying in the Western Conference. If the Flyers now turned their attention to Shea Weber and threw him a massive offer sheet, the Nashville Predators would almost certainly match it.

So to come full circle and finally answer your question: I think the Flyers are done. It is possible they sign a guy like Peter Mueller (great talent, suffered a brutal concussion last season) to a one year deal to see what he has, but not a big move that everyone has anticipated. They have plenty of cap space, something they aren’t used to, and they could save it for next year when players like Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are set to test Free Agency.

@Big_T_Diablo: @JakePavorsky you’re in charge. Who do you put the ‪‬#Flyers “C” on next year?

Well the obvious answer here is Claude Giroux, but I’d go in a different direction.

After the way he played last season, Giroux is certainly deserving of the Captaincy. However, that is the last thing he needs on his mind. As a young star trying to solidify himself at the top of the NHL, he shouldn’t have to carry the burden of being Captain, and it is certainly a burden. It was such a burden, it ran Mike Richards out of town. Richie was given the “C” way too early in his career, and had no idea what came with the territory of being Captain. His off-ice exploits, as well as his inability to be a vocal and physical leader made him unbefitting of the Captaincy. Before you knew it, the Flyers once rising star and Captain was shipped out to the Los Angeles Kings. Giroux and Richards are two different people, but it should make Peter Laviolette think twice before handing another young, budding star the “C”.  Also, the way the Flyers are covered by the media is far different then any other team. Whoever becomes the next Captain, say Claude Giroux, now has a large target on his back.

 Flyers lose 3 in a row? Giroux isn’t being strong enough of a leader. Giroux goes on a dry spell. He does not deserve to be captain of such a prestigious team. Instances like these are bound to come up, and if Claude Giroux had to deal with seeing his name being thrown around negatively in the papers, it could seriously take him out of his game. It happened to Mike Richards, and it the same issues could arise with Giroux.

All this said, I throw Danny Briere the “C”. Maybe not the most popular choice, but one that makes sense. Briere is a good leader and teammate, both on and off the ice. More importantly, as a veteran he would be able to deal more easily with criticism. He heard plenty of negativity last year when he was unable to score goals in the Regular Season, and took it in stride.

Spare Giroux, give it to Briere.

@LMFIV: @JakePavorsky Could the answer to the center-surplus/RW-deficiency be playing centers out of position? Which C’s can swing out? 

I would not necessarily call it a deficiency at the Right Wing as much as the Flyers have versatility in both psotions. With quite a few of rookies making big contributions to the team last season, Peter Laviolette wanted to see where players like Matt Read and Brayden Schenn would grow best. He spent a good part of the season experimenting with the two, among others, as to where their best fit would be.  Also, mix in the injury bug that swarmed the team last year, and you found many guys forced to jump around. There is no doubt that Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier are pure Centers, and they are probably the only forwards on the team that won’t be pushed into a wing position. For guys like Max Talbot, Brayden Schenn and Matt Read, they are comfortable playing Right Wing as well as Center. I would expect for Jakub Voracek to move up to the first line with Giroux and Hartnell, Danny Briere to play Right Wing with Brayden Schenn as the center, Wayne Simmondson the right of Sean Couturier on the Flyers 3rd line, and Matt Read playing wing with Max Talbot centering the fourth line.

@NotSimmonds17:  @JakePavorsky assuming all starters are already on the roster, is a cup possible?

The only question that matters: can your team truly contend for a Cup? It is hard for some Flyers fans to see, but the loss of Matt Carle is a rather large loss. Carle was not a number one defenseman, but a solid #2, and he provided great depth. I cannot emphasize enough how crucial he was to the team, especially this past season. The Flyers also lost Jaromir Jagr who provided great play on the top line with Giroux and Scott Hartnell. He was very much so a part of Giroux’s rise to stardom, and his contributions on Offense as well as the backcheck will be missed. The consensus with Ilya Bryzgalov is that he will have a bounce back season in 2013, and I agree with that theory. Philadelphia is no Phoenix, and 2012 posed a massive learning curve for Mr. Universe. More important than Bryzgalov and even the defense this season will be the increase in roles for most of the Forwards. Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn will be asked to carry a pretty heavy load of the offense this season, will the youngsters be able to contribute 50-60 points this year? And for players such as Max Talbot and Wayne Simmonds who had career highs in goals and points, will they continue their strong play on the Offensive end? What the Flyers saw in Simmonds when they traded for him was his great physical play, and Max Talbot was expected to be a 4th liner who specializes in the Penalty kill.

So as the way the Flyers roster stands, I think we’re looking at another loss in the 2nd round. Philadelphia lacks a true goal scorer to pair of with Giroux, and a true number one defenseman.

A word we hear way too often, but maybe next year (or the year after that), Flyers fans.

Thank you for reading. If you’d like to have your questions featured in next week’s BuzzBag, make sure to follow me on Twitter @JakePavorsky and tweet me your question using the hashtag #BuzzBag.

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