Paul Holmgren and the Philadelphia Flyers didn’t waste any time getting busy in the offseason. The Flyers acquired unproven puck-moving defenseman Danny Syvret from Edmonton for center Ryan Potulny.
5’11, 200-pound Syvret recorded two goals and 18 assists in 63 games last season with the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. The former third-round pick is a smart 22 year old, who can make a good first pass and has untapped offensive potential. He is a strong skater and minimizes mistakes, although he has not looked comfortable in his limited time with the Oilers. His lack of size and physicality could be a problem at the NHL level. Syvret played along side Jeff Carter and Mike Richards in the 2005 World Junior Championships for Team Canada and could flourish if mentored by smallish defender Kimmo Timonen, who is roughly the same size.
Giving up on Potulny was not easy for the Flyers, as he scored 21 goals and 26 assists in 58 games with the Phantoms. Potulny was hampered by odd injuries all season, but has the offensive talent to crack an NHL starting line up. The Flyers however, are as deep as any team in the league at center, which left Potulny out of the loop for the forseeable future.
The best case scenario for both parties is that Potulny becomes an everyday starter for the Oilers and Syvret fulfills his potential of becoming a satisfactory top-4 dman for the Flyers, a position that is highly coveted in the league.
The worst case scenario would be for Potulny to turn in a Patrick Sharp type performance for Edmonton, and Syvret turns into a flash in the pan, who can’t hack the NHL.
Either way Holmgren started off the offseason active and we can expect more to come.