At 22 years old, Flyers’ defenseman Ryan Parent has suffered a plethora of injuries not equal to his age. Shoulder surgeries and groin issues have hampered his young career. But on Dec. 26, before a contest in Carolina, Parent quickly left the ice after warm ups and didn’t return. The prognosis — back spasms.
For all the Flyers’ fans expecting and clamoring for a trade before the holiday freeze on Dec. 19 — don’t hold your breath.
On Wednesday, general manager Paul Holmgren made it clear that he wants more time to observe the team under newly minted head coach Peter Laviolette before making a team-shaking move.
“I’d like to evaluate things under the new coach for a while and see how things go with the guys coming back,” Holmgren told the Inquirer, when asked about making a move.
Blair Betts (shoulder) is set to make his return tonight versus the Penguins, while Simon Gagne (hernia) and Darroll Powe (shoulder) are expected to return to the lineup before the New Year.
Holmgren hopes the influx of fresh bodies and minds helps rejuvenate a sullen Flyers team that has lost 11 of their last 14.
If that doesn’t help, heads are sure to roll.
At one point in the 2009-10 offseason it seemed as if utility center Blair Betts and the Philadelphia Flyers were a match made in heaven. But with Friday’s season opener against Carolina creeping closer and Betts still remaining unsigned, it could very well mean any possible deal could be flat lining.
“I don’t know,” Holmgren told the media when asked if a deal would get done with the 29-year old. “We’ll see how it goes over the next day. If we don’t have anything done by tomorrow, it probably won’t happen.”
According to Betts, it’s the Flyers who are holding up the deal.
“I have no idea,” said Betts, when asked about what’s holding up the deal. “As the player, I honestly don’t know.
“[The Flyers] said they need a little bit more time and we are waiting to hear from them.”
During the second intermission of the Flyers’ final preseason game versus the Minnesota Wild, general manager Paul Holmgren held a small press conference saying that Blair Betts being inactive for the final game was simply circumstantial. He also mentioned ongoing meetings with Betts’ agent that include one and two-year deals.
“The fact they we have been talking is a good thing for us,” Holmgren told the media “We’ll see. The saga is not over.”
For much of the preseason, the major roster question was who general manager Paul Holmgren was going to decide to keep with the big club — James van Riemsdyk, Mika Pyorala or Blair Betts. But according to Holmgren, the Flyers want all three.
“If we were submitting rosters tomorrow, yeah, (Pyorala, JVR and Betts) would probably would be on it,” said Holmgren.
In last night’s 4-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in London, Ontario, the Flyers chased the puck and achieved very little offensively. This, matched with Tuesday’s lifeless 3-1 loss to Detroit, has some of the Flyers’ brass unnerved.
“I think (Toronto) outworked us to be quite honest with you and that’s somewhat disturbing from a Flyers’ standpoint,” Flyers’ General Manager Paul Holmgren told the Fan 590 in Toronto. “Obviously (Toronto) has a lot of guys fighting for a spot and they had a lot of fight and spirit last night.”
With less than two weeks until the Flyers open their 2009-10 training camp, the team has announced the official roster with one curious addition.
Along with many of the regulars assumed to show up, the Flyers have added 29-year old, 6’2, 220 lbs., forward Mark Bell to a pro try-out. Not unlike what the Flyers did with Jim Dowd and Bryan Berard last season, Bell is different, simply because he actually stands a chance to make the team.
According to an overseas source and now this NHL free agency site, the Flyers may have come to terms with 6’2, 225 lbs., Czech forward Lukas Kaspar. Kaspar was drafted 22nd overall in the 2004 NHL entry draft by the San Jose Sharks.
Due to some inconsistency and forward depth on San Jose at the time, the power forward played just 16 games with the Sharks, scoring four points during that span. Primarily an AHLer with the Worchester Sharks, Kaspar verbally agreed to a deal with Dynamo of the KHL after the 2008-09 season in which he tallied 17 goals and 27 assists in 65 games. However, sources say that Kaspar couldn’t deny the offer the Flyers made. Terms were not disclosed and official word could be pending a physical.
As per a rough translation…
“(Kaspar) had already decided to continue a career in Europe and in particular the KHL. But then came to Philadelphia “Flyers’ offer, which Kaspar was unable to refuse.”
Kaspar is known for his ability to use his large frame, as well as possess a decent shot and some passing ability. He isn’t likely in the Flyers’ plans for this year, as he could be another low-risk, high-reward type acquisition that General Manager Paul Holmgren likes to make. However, if Holmgren dares give him a one-way contract, which would keep him from being sent to the AHL without permission, he could be placed on the wing of a scoring line and could potentially be a 15-20 goal guy considering his skill set.
But if the contract is two-way, the Flyers, who do not have a lot of forward size in the system, could use Kaspar as a player who could can step into the lineup in case of emergency.
I’m working to confirm this rumor and will have more hopefully soon.
The Flyers made two administrative moves on Thursday, hiring Jeff Reese as the official goaltending instructor and naming Phantoms’ coach John Paddock the assistant General Manager.
Reese, who was formally with the Tampa Bay organization,was rumored to be offered the job after long-time goalie coach Reggie Lemelin was let go by the team in late June.
“Jeff brings a strong presence,” said Holmgren. “I have known Jeff for many years from our days together in Hartford. I think he is an ideal fit for our team moving forward. He has some fresh ideas and we are excited to have Jeff on board.”
Paddock will stay in charge of the Phantoms’ coaches, but will now help current General Manager Paul Holmgren with duties involving the AHL and entry-level prospects, likely leaving assistant coach Kjell Samuelsson in charge as head coach.
“In addition to helping with the day to day operation of our team, John will oversee the Phantoms in Glens Falls, interacting with the coaching staff there and following the development of our young players,” said Holmgren in the official press release.
Due to the Phantoms moving to Glen Falls, NY, Holmgren needs someone to keep executive tabs on the team, which is likely why John was hired.
“I’m excited to have John, he is a very good hockey man,” said Holmgren. “He has been a General Manager and a head coach in the NHL, and has done a lot of things in the League. His experience and expertise is going to bring a lot to the table for the Flyers.”
After answering a multitude of media questions during his introductory press conference on Monday, Pronger had the room laughing, as he cracked jokes and oozed confidence, saying all the right things in the process.
“I’m very excited,” said Pronger, when asked what he felt about Philadelphia hockey. “The style that they play fits the way that I play. I felt it was a good fit and accept it with open arms.”