Holmgren continued to stay busy after the defense-heavy draft by acquiring even more defensive help. The Flyers traded Triston Grant and a seventh round pick in 2009 for Finnish offensive-defenseman Janna Niskala from Nashville.
Monthly Archives: June 2008
#178 – Sixth round – Zac Rinaldo, C – 5.11, 169 lbs.
Rinaldo’s stat line says it all, 63 games, 7 goals, 7 assists and 191 penalty minutes for Mississauga St. Michaels of the OHL last season. He hits like a maniac and is as tough and scrappy as they come. Typical Philadelphia style pick and fan favorite for his mean streak. Not a heavyweight by any stretch, Rinaldo has a propensity for misconducts.
This video shows Rinaldo KO’ing a Battalion player.
#196 – seventh round – Joacim Eriksson, G – 6.01, 189 lbs.
Flyers go goalie again, this time picking up butterfly goaltender Joacim Eriksson, from Brynas Jr. in Sweden. Eriksson is said to have excellent reflexes and isn’t easily rattled. He was a backup for Jacob Markstrom on the u18 Swedish team. Eriksson is a pure potential pick here, a low risk – high reward venture like most goalies drafted in the later rounds.
#208th – seventh round – Traded to Anaheim for late round draft pick in 2009.
With most of the top goaltenders taken in the second round, the Flyers are forced to pick from potential. Holmgren selected standup style goaltender Jacob Deserres, from Seattle of the WHL with their 84th pick.
General Manager Paul Holmgren continues to amass defensive depth by selecting QMJHL defeseman of the year Marc-Andre Bourdon, 67th overall from Rouyn-Noranda.
Looked at as a possible sleeper pick in the first three rounds, 6-foot, 206 pound Bourdon has a knack for scoring with 12 goals and 47 assists in 69 games last season.
Built like a tank, he plays a tough game. He loves to hit and drops the gloves, but still has the skills to be effective on both sides of the puck. The only knock on him may be his skating and the fact that he plays in an offense-first league. When asked about playing “Flyers’ hockey”, Bourdon responded by saying he had no problem doing that. Should be an entertaining player to watch.
Well by the end of the first round, the Flyers got their puck moving defenseman.
In a move that screams win now, the Flyers traded the 27th overall pick to the Washington Capitals for 24 year old quick, puck moving defenseman Steve Eminger and Washington’s 84th pick. Eminger, a former first-round pick and Kitchener teammate of Flyers’ forward Mike Richards, is loaded with talent but struggled to translate his scoring touch with the Capitals. He was rushed into the NHL by the Caps at the age of 19 and struggled out of the gate. The struggles soon turned mental and Eminger found himself stuck as a 6-7 dman, making many trips between the NHL and AHL. Many believe in the 2007-08 season Steve showed glimpses that he was on his way to breaking out of his mental slump. Experts say a change of scenery will do wonders for him, and hopefully for the Flyers — allow him to reach his high potential.
Eminger’s game peaked in 2001-02 with Kitchener when he scored 19 goals and 39 assists. If he can use the change of jersey to re-inspire his game, this transaction could give a legimate talent (and economic) boost to the Flyers’ blueline.
After acquiring the 19th overall pick by trading RJ Umberger to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Philadelphia Flyers selected defenseman Luca Sbisa.
Sbisa write up from Flyers draft preview…
“Luca is a Swiss defender with good vision and makes very good break out passes. He is a smart working-man’s defenseman with untapped offensive potential and good shot blocking capability. Unlike many European defenders Sbisa is very tough and does not shy away from physicality. This is proven by his multiple fighting majors during his time with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL. He is projected to become a top 4 defenseman and power play qb.”
Sbisa would be considered a mild steal at 19th overall.
As the 2008 NHL Entry draft ticks closer, the rumors are heating up. The latest one is involving Flyers’ forward RJ Umberger reuniting with his collegiate state of Ohio.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Blue Jackets are interested in acquiring Umberger’s rights before the July 1st RFA deadline, which would allow RJ to hear offers from around the league.
The Dispatch however, doesn’t say who or what picks would be coming back to Philadelphia, but it would likely not be the Blue Jacket’s sixth overall pick that they have been eagerly shopping — but more like the CBJ’s 19th overall which they received from the Colorado Avalanche in the Adam Foote deal.
Columbus is just the latest team to be rumored in the race for 26 year old Umberger, who after an average year, destroyed the playoffs with 10 goals and 5 assists in 17 games. Ottawa, who owns the 18th pick was thought to be interested, and so was Nashville, who owns the 15th pick.
According to sportnet.ca, 23 year old Flyers’ forward Jeff Carter has come to terms with the Flyers for 3 years – $15 million. The signing is not a surprise as it was reported on philabright days ago that a deal was all but inked and would be announced closer to the draft.
Carter scored 29 goals and had 24 assists in 82 games last season, and also showed his potential by hittting another gear when the injury bug bit the Flyers late in the year.
For those of you with a TV in the vicinity and time to spare, should check out the Euro ’08 quarterfinal matchup between Portugal and Germany at 2:45 PM EST on ESPN. Portugal has dominated the tournament so far but Germany has had its number in the past few years. Should be a good one.
- Minnesota Wild forward Brian Rolston is set to become a UFA after denying the latest offer from the Wild. The 35 year old Rolston said he loves playing in ‘Sota and wants to stay there to finish his career which — makes one believe that the offer from the Wild was insultingly low. He is looking for an offer for 3-4 years at around 4-5 million a year. The Wild likely offered him 3-3.5. In a statement by Rolston, he emphasized all he was looking for was “market value”.
- Columbus continues to be the eye of the trade storm. Possessors of the sixth overall pick, the Bluejackets have been rumored to be entertaining offers from San Jose for Patrick Marleau and Florida for Olli Jokinen. Remember, Columbus has a boatload of money under the cap and is looking for real deal forwards, so don’t rule out Ottawa, Montreal or Boston as dance partners.
- The Evgeni Malkin rumors refuse to go away. The Kings are the name most mentioned when it comes to a draft blockbuster. Eklund of hockeybuzz said the Kings would be willing to part with Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and two first rounders for Malkin.
- The New York Rangers ownership is in hot water with the league after accusing the NHL of violating anti-trust laws. Commissioner Gary Bettman is furious and doing whatever it takes to give the ownership group the boot.
Reminder: The draft takes place tomorrow at 7 P.M. EST in Ottawa. It can be seen on Versus in the states, don’t miss it – it could get very interesting with big names moving all over the place.
Oh yeah… Go Bastian Schweinsteiger!
After renting UFA to-be Vaclav Prospal from the Tampa Bay Lightning at the trade deadline, the Flyers have traded the 33 year old forward’s rights back to Tampa for a seventh round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry draft and a conditional pick in 2009.
The connection between Prospal and Flyers’ center Danny Briere was undeniable. Prospal’s presence helped Briere up his production and was a big reason the Flyers got past the Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadians. But a sudden disappearance by Prospal at the end of the Montreal series and all of the Pittsburgh series soured many on his return. General Manager Paul Holmgren was not one of the soured however, and viewed Vinny as a legitimate offseason signing as an insurance policy to a concussion Simon Gagne.
“Vinny really didn’t express much of an interest in coming back and playing for us next season,” said Holmgren. “His heart is elsewhere.”
Prospal, who tallied 29 goals and 28 assists before joining the Flyers was looking for a contract somewhere in the 3-5 million per year range, a price too high for the Flyers regardless. If Vinny signs with the Lightning, the conditional pick will turn into a fourth rounder in ’09.