A ton has happened since my last post at the Trade Deadline: the Flyers were defeated in 7 games by the Rangers and Holmgren is up to President status and Hextall moves up to the GM position. The darkside of the force is strong with the Flyers under Evil Emperor Ed Snider and Darth Holmgren, Chief Berube and the new apprentice Ron Hextall. (If you dont get the reference, google a picture of Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars and tell me he doesnt remind you of Ed Snider.) These changes, plus a whole offseason with Berube as Head Coach could make for an exciting offseason.
This offseason already doesn’t feel like past offseasons have felt. Take for example, the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs (in which the Capitals somehow managed to pull off the 1 seed) the Flyers were swept in the 2nd round by the Bruins. The way I remember the playoffs that year is disgraceful. I literally felt sick to my stomach watching a Flyers team that went from 2 wins away from the Cup to going to 7 games against a mediocre Buffalo Sabres squad that barely deserved to make the playoffs. Even in 2012 after we lost in the 2nd round to the Devils I felt uncomfortable with the current state of the team.
Now, their is a different feel to this team. Shayne Gostisbehere just won the NCAA National Championship with Union College and is looking like one of the top prospects in the league – maybe even one of the top defensive prospects in recent memory. Last years 1st round pick Sam Morin is shaping up to be a solid defenseman in a year or two. Scott Laughton was the Captain of Team Canada for the World Junior Championships. Anthony Stolarz led his OHL London Knights deep into the CHL Playoffs. There is a ton to look forward to in the future for this Flyers franchise, and I have no doubt that there is plenty of success in the future for this team, as long as Hextall doesn’t trade all of them away this offseason.
The prospects like Stolarz, Laughton, Ghost – all of them – are what will make this offseason exciting. That is why I hope there wont be a big move this offseason – even if it is a free agent signing. I want to see our prospects come up and play in the NHL and help this team compete for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and play for the Cup. That is of course, if they are ready to come up and compete at the professional level. If they need to develop more, let them develop. I emphatically do not want to trade away these prospects. I said it at the trade deadline and I will say it again now: I have seen too many great players get traded away before they peaked and it is one of the most frustrating things to watch as a fan. Patrick Sharp has won 2 Stanley Cups with Chicago and is one of the most underrated forwards in the league – and we traded him away before he reached his potential.
The Flyers’ front office cannot make this mistake again. The team right now is a young team, if they can grow together and then gain the prospects that are working their way through Juniors and the AHL, this team will become one of the best in the league. I personally cannot wait to see these young guns compete for a roster spot with the Flyers. The Blackhawks didn’t win 2 Cups by trading for everyone on their team – most of the players on their roster were drafted by Chicago. This Flyers team will be better off and will achieve much more success if they allow their team to grow together and not trade away any of their top prospects – that includes if Shea Weber is on the table. To anyone who disagrees with that, would you rather have a past-his-prime defenseman, or 2 defensemen with tons of potential that can hit, play solid D, and move the puck on the team in a year or two? Do you want a few good seasons, or 5+ great seasons? Either way, this offseason will be anything but dull.