When Simon Gagne spent the 2007-08 season on the shelf with concussion issues, many downplayed the impact of healthy return. 74 points later, Gagne ranked third on the Flyers in points and was an large part of the team’s success in 2008-09.
For similarly damaged scorer Danny Briere, the same road looks set to be traveled.
Just one year after drafting 2008 QMJHL Defenseman of the Year Marc-Andre Bourdon, 67th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the two-way blue liner is going pro. On Friday, the Flyers inked Bourdon to an entry-level deal, in which terms were not disclosed.
“Marc-Andre turns pro after an outstanding 2008-09 season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he was honored for his play during the regular season and in the playoffs,” said Flyers’ General Manager Paul Holmgren. “We believe Marc-Andre has tremendous potential to develop into a solid defenseman at the next level.”
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy, managed a Q&A sit down with former Flyer and new Washington Capital Mike Knuble. And although Mike didn’t discuss his time in Philly much, he still hit on what reaction he hopes to get upon his return to the Wachovia Center on Oct. 6.
“I don’t know,” Knuble said, when asked if he would be booed. “Maybe there’d be a smattering of boos. I hope not. I think I gave Philly a few good years.”
Knuble was the consummate professional in his four years in Philly. He wasn’t the fastest skater, nor did he have the best hands, but he brought it every night, played through injuries and was consistent. There is no doubt the 37-year old played the game the way it was meant to be played. And for that, there is nothing but respect from Flyers’ fans.
Mike left the flyers with no ill-will. He gave General Manager Paul Holmgren every chance to match any offer received from other clubs. But with the Flyers stuck in limited cap space hell, it made it impossible to match Washington’s offer of two ears, $2.8 million per.
Philly fans may not have the best reputation when it comes to treating opposing players with respect. But Flyers’ fans especially respect the game and the people who play it right. Because of that, not only will Knuble not be booed upon his return, but will may very well receive a nice ovation.
That is until he scores.
After 1332 NHL games, 513 goals and countless memories made with his demeanor on and off the ice, former Flyer and all-time great Jeremy Roenick, appears to be riding off into the sunset. But he’s not quite ready to admit it yet.
“I’m really not on the fence,” Roenick told Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic. “I really know what I’m doing. I’m just not going to announce it yet.”
After weeks of speculation, the Flyers have made it official with former San Jose forward Lukas Kaspar. The former first-round selection in2004 was let go by the Sharks after underachieving and spending the majority of his pro career in the AHL. Kaspar played just 16 games with the Sharks, scoring four points in the process.
The 23-year old has the size to be a force at 6’2, 225 lbs., but doesn’t play like a power forward. Despite having a sniper’s shot and decent hands, Kaspar is inconsistent and plays a shy game. He has signed a two-way contract and could see some time with the Flyers, if his performance in training camp and his time with the Phantoms are productive.
With the signing of Kaspar, the Flyers continue to load up the AHL-NHL tweeners. With Krys Kolanos, Mika Pyorala, Jason Ward and now Lukas Kaspar in the mix, the Flyers have incredible forward depth in the system. Not to mention if one of these players finally hits their potential, they could quickly become an everyday NHLer.
After much deliberation, the Flyers’ 2009-10 preseason schedule is finally released. The Orange and Black start off at Joe Louis Arena to take on the Detroit Red Wings on Sept. 16. The opener is followed by the yearly visit to the John Labatt Centre in Jeff Carter’s hometown of London, Ontario, as the Flyers take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sept 17.
The Flyers finish the preseason with a home-and-home against New Jersey, followed by a rare match up with the Minnesota Wild.
||Joe Louis Arena
||John Labatt Centre (London, Ontario)
||Air Canada Centre
||@ New Jersey
Courtesy of THN
Notorious playboy and underachiever Joffrey Lupul, has been traded three times since being drafted seventh overall by Anaheim in 2002. But after two growing years in Philadelphia, Lupul finds himself back in his old stomping grounds of California. And this time, he is carrying a much different mindset.
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” Lupul told Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register. “I want to make a breakthrough. I’ve always been the secondary scorer, the guy who’s been pretty productive but hasn’t really taken a lead role. I want to change that this year, to go up a notch.”
Despite clear interest by the Flyers’ organization, prospects Mario Kempe and Denis Bodrov will not attend any sort of training camp this season.
The Flyers kept the depth forward signings rolling on Saturday, by inking right winger Jason Ward to a one-year, $500,000 deal. The contract is two way.
Ward, the 11th overall pick in the 1997 NHL entry draft, has played 336 NHL games with four teams in his career and has 36 goals and 45 assists in that time. Ward is a capable depth forward, with a suitable a two-way game and an ability to use his 6’2, 210 lbs. frame to his advantage. The 30-year old journeyman has also been touted as an excellent teammate and hard worker.
Ward will likely be the 13th forward on the team, traveling with the big club and playing as an injury call up. Outside of some younger players, the Flyers don’t have much as far as NHL capable forward depth goes. Last week, Philly signed defensive forward Mika Pyorala and AHL standout Krys Kolanos to similar deals.
According to Bill Meltzer of hockeybuzz.com, the Flyers have signed Krys Kolanos and Mika Pyorala each to one-year contracts for $500,000. Although the Flyers have not officially announced the signings, they are complete. Both players were inked days ago as possible depth forwards, with Pyorala having a better chance of cracking the everyday lineup for the Flyers.
Pyorala comes as one of the top-billed Finnish players not in the NHL. At 28-years old, he comes as an established two-way forward in the mold of former Flyer Sami Kapanen. Kolanos is an established AHL scorer, but lacks the consistency to get serious time in an NHL lineup. However, Kolanos could prove to be a decent short-term call up.