The Flyers may have kept primarily silent on NHL trade deadline day, however, they did make one depth move that could pay dividends.
With time running out on the 3 P.M. deadline, general manager Paul Holmgren acquired 6-foot-5, 228 lbs. brute force winger Tom Sestito from the Columbus Blue Jackets for the Flyers 2010 third-round pick Michael Chaput and 26-year-old center and AHL regular, Greg Moore.
Sestito will be immediately assigned to the Adirondack Phantoms.
Sestito, 23, a Columbus third round pick in 2006, played nine games with the Blue Jackets this season, earning a pair of goals, assists and 40 penalty minutes. Big, mean and physical is Sestito’s game. A willing fighter and role-player, the native New Yorker could be used as a net presence and physical entity.
Certainly a project if the Flyers want more than specialized duty from him, Sestito could work as a depth call up or “black ace” come playoff time. Although Sestito might not be the ideal choice to play any post-season games, considering the Flyers’ vapid depth pool, he is an upgrade at 14th or 15th forward.
Late in the third period of Thursday’s 4-3 overtime win against the New York Islanders, Flyers’ defenseman Chris Pronger blocked a shot with what appeared to be his left wrist. The 36-year-old waited until the play stopped before going directly down the tunnel to the locker room. He did not return.
Update: According to general manager Paul Holmgren, x-rays on Chris Pronger’s wrist were negative. He should be OK.
Pronger has four goals and 20 assists in 46 games this season.
The news is as expected for Oskars Bartulis.
According to general manager Paul Holmgren, as a result of a late hit by Phoenix Coyotes forward Scottie Upshall on Tuesday, the Flyers’ seventh defenseman will undergo shoulder surgery to fix “instability,” and will miss 10-12 weeks.
According to TSN, the Flyers have placed forward Nik Zherdev on waivers.
The move comes three days after Zherdev’s agent Jay Grossman and Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren met in New York on Sunday.
After leaving with a knee injury in the first period of Sunday’s 4-2 win over the New York Rangers, Flyers defenseman Sean O’Donnell said he could have returned to play and that holding him out was simply precautionary.
However, upon further review, the injury might have been more serious than expected
According to general manager Paul Holmgren on Monday, O’Donnell, who skipped practice, will miss 10-14 days with a knee sprain. Seventh defenseman Oskars Bartulis is expected to fill in during that time.
O’Donnell, 39, has one goal and 11 assists, and is a plus-7 in 59 games with the Flyers. Not accustomed to missing time, O’Donnell has played 75 games or more in 11 of his 14 seasons prior to this year.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Monday, the Flyers have traded a 2011 first and third-round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Kris Versteeg.
Considered a solid two-way forward, Versteeg, who has 14 goals and 21 assists in 53 games this season with Toronto, gives the Flyers’ already deep lineup even more potency. The Alberta-native will likely take the place of Nik Zherdev or Andreas Nodl as a top-nine winger. With little cap space and next to no young talent coming through the prospect pipeline, this move solidifies the Flyers’ intention of going boom or bust to bring home the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Although it was a Tuesday to forget for the Flyers, who fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning, there was something that should make the Philly faithful smile.
At some point during the Washington Capitals – Montreal Canadiens game, Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin hip checks Canadiens’ rookie PK Subban in the open ice. Subban flies up in the air and almost lands directly on his head. The rookie then went after Ovechkin, only to receive a penalty.
Earlier in the season, Flyers’ captain Mike Richards prognosticated that Subban would eventually receive his on-ice punishment for running his mouth in excess as a rookie.
Stick tap to @MLSE and @crashthecrease
Yes, they are, according to a CBCSports.ca and NHLPA.com players poll.
Of the players surveyed, four-percent said the Flyers are the most overrated team in hockey. The vote ranks them fifth behind the San Jose Sharks (10%), Montreal Canadiens (11%) Vancouver Canucks (12%) and the Washington Capitals (35%).
At the All-Star break, the Flyers are tied for first in the NHL in points with 71, while also leading the league in wins with 33.
However, Philly did get some respect. Also ranked was Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, who brought in 20-percent or third place, as the toughest defenseman in the league to play against. He fell behind Nick Lidstrom (20.3%) and Zdeno Chara (34%).
And in a poll that should make everyone happy, when asked if fighting should be abolished in the NHL, 98-percent of the league said no.
Sovsport.ru PHOTO by YEGOR KIPRINA
As rare as a prized rookie goaltender is in their organization, the Flyers might want to do more to help Sergei Bobrovsky be happy.
According to Dmitry Chesnokov in a translation of a Sovsport.ru article, Bobrovsky is traveling to Toronto during the All-Star break, in order to see his girlfriend, Olga, who has been refused a visa to stay within the United States.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie on Thursday, the Flyers have placed 30-year-old defenseman Matt Walker on waivers. If he clears, Walker is expected to join the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL.
Walker, acquired in the offseason from the Tampa Bay Lightning as the key return in the Simon Gagne trade, was set to make $1.7 million per season for the next three years. The move could act as a precursor for a roster addition, as Walker’s cap space, matched with the space received from waived goaltender Michael Leighton, gives the Flyers around $3 million of free space.
Joining the Flyers prior to training camp, Walker was hampered with hip injuries which began toward the end of the preseason. The tough blue liner with a right-handed shot needed two separate surgeries on both the left and right hip, which kept him out of the line up for much of the season. Walker played his first game of the year on Jan.18, then played three more after that, before the return of Chris Pronger forced Walker back into a depth position.