The clock is closer to midnight than I expected.
Well the state of this team after two losses on the road, each ugly in their own way, have stirred the anger elixir into a poisonous concoction. As I stated in my inaugural column, “I believe in our Captain and his first mates” Voracek, Simmonds, Couturier, and our youth movement on the back end.
As we finally have the best defense prospects in the league. That being said, as we all know, they won’t all come in and transition as well as the Ghosts’ first year or Provorovs’ impressive rookie campaign this year.
Those odds just aren’t good and if we follow the maturation calendar on d-men about the league. We can assume that 4 or 5 seasons from now, we will support one of the best defenses in the league and Flyer history. (Honestly, not that bold of a statement). Other then Coots, (Couturier), the core group will be early to mid 30’s and stats say about the decline.
Without first round picks in those years as we will be eternally on the playoff bubble and or exit first round team, is this really the plan?
I’m tired of hearing about cap restraints as I’m sure you are, they know every trick in the book to make the numbers work. So the decision lies with Hexy, blowup or put-out. Our top 4 I ‘ve mentioned and Schenn all would retrieve a first or second round pick and a prospect.
This idea worked for Holmgren in 2010, the core we have now all but Giroux were a product of that blowup which I initially was blown away by but in hindsight it was the best move Homer ever made at the helm, but the clock is ticking on this core. It is a viable option, (while testing my 42 year allegiance) but unless you can get a shot at the #1 pick in the lottery, then it would be insane to do.
We are also reminded that Hexy didn’t build this team from the ground up and will for some reason (check GM’s guide to stubbornness) never be happy till he can claim this team as his. If because of cap constraints Hextall can only improve this team one player at a time, then so be it as long as you’re not giving up youth for a rental.
I can’t think of any player(s) in the league that fit this idea better than the two gems in Colorado. Be it Duchene or Landeskog, (the first being my choice because of his skating ability), they both possess the skills though and scoring touch that the Flyers need.
Their ages are a prime fit for, our core, so some unproven, roll the dice prospects( no matter how much potential they have been still a gamble) for some proven scoring depth and foot speed is a step in the right direction and instant improvement.
Beyond the untouchables of every team in this league, who are you going to trade for to replace top face-off/leading point man of the past 6 years, one of the best possession/ play makers in the league and a 30 goal (best and toughest net front presence) scorer with the heart and soul every great Flyer has owned?
The other part of the ticking clock is the coach Hakstol
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Who I believe is in full out panic mode with bad decision after bad decision, (not viewing in hindsight) almost every bad one he’s made I’ve been way ahead of the outcome as I’m sure any astute fan of this team has been. I lost count in last night’s game before it started, from the goalie choice to seven d-men dressed and 11 forwards which turned into 10 after Weals injury at the end of the first.
The change of system I think is the biggest though in the past few weeks. Not playing to our strengths like last year and the start of this year.
That risk reward game plan works for the right reasons, the way the team’s “d” is made up. I think the fan base is willing to live with this and hope for quick maturation from the “d-men” in the minors and some more shrewd moves from the G.M. to better this core.
I’ll go as far to say that Hakstol’s clock is a tick away from midnight and it won’t matter about trades (even blockbuster) will greatly improve this team if he’s lost the faith of his core.
Your vets questioning the direction and the others walking on eggshells (most of the “d” and some of the bottom 6) is not a recipe for success. I think when you add, the worse puck luck, lower than his average shooting percentage, no true sniper to feed and a stifling system.
We shouldn’t be asking ourselves what’s happened to Giroux. But maybe we should remember how bad Crosby’s numbers were last year until Mike Sullivan took over and changed the system….