Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)
Immediately after trading forward Simon Gagne to the Tampa Bay Lightning for 6’4 depth defenseman Matt Walker, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren attempted to explain his reasoning behind the move.
“When we came out of the Stanley Cup Final loss to the Blackhawks, we had specific objectives in mind,” Holmgren told CSNPhilly.com. “And the No. 1 thing on our list was to improve our defense, and No. 2 on our list was to get a little bigger.”
And he seemingly achieved both this offseason by signing Walker, 6’3 forward Jody Shelley, as well as defensemen Sean O’Donnell and Andrej Meszaros, who both stand at 6’2.
But despite the appearance of greater size and talk from the GM, the truth is in the numbers — the Flyers are no bigger than they were last year.
The Flyers have traded 23-year-old RFA defenseman Ryan Parent to the Nashville Predators for the rights to 27-year-old defenseman Dan Hamhuis and a conditional selection in the 2011 NHL entry draft.
“Obviously it is sad to leave the Predators,” said Hamhuis, who spent six years in Nashville. “I spent some great years with them and it is great organization to be a part of. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the city of Philadelphia and the Flyers.”
The whispers of the re-worked Flyers lineup have finally been confirmed — forward Dan Carcillo will enter the lineup for James Van Riemsdyk and defenseman Oskars Bartulis will play for Ryan Parent. Michael Leighton will start in goal.
“You battle all year with these guys and you want to be in at this time of year,”Carcillo told the media on Monday. “It was hard sitting out those three games. I’ve got a lot of pent-up energy you’ll probably see released tonight.”
Just when Philadelphia became the healthiest its been since the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Bruins — more injuries strike. Continue reading
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.
As if the Flyers’ defense wasn’t shaky enough, third-pairing defenseman Ryan Parent left Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers with an apparent groin injury. He will miss up to 10 days and will be replaced on the active roster by Ole-Kristian Tollefsen.
Parent has suffered groin injuries in the past and has recovered fairly quickly from them.
The new third pairing of Tollefsen and Danny Syvret is a combined minus-2 and both individually have been below average. MA Bourdon will likely be called up from the Phantoms as the seventh practice defenseman. The Flyers will be at home for the next three contests.
Given the circumstance, amateur defenseman turn NHL blue liner for the day, David Sloane, did not have a bad game on Thursday, despite only getting 6:44 of ice time and having one blocked shot. But there is something to say about a Philly guy playing his first game at the highest level, against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, in a playoff-style atmosphere.
“One minute I’m in Albany (with the Phantoms), the next I’m in a rental car coming down to New York,” Sloane said. “It was a total surprise to me.”
Because defenseman Ryan Parent was still feeling the lingering effects of a groin tweak. And Riley Cote was out with a bum finger. The Flyers were stuck with both players’ salary on the books and needed a replacement on defense, while being pressed hard against the cap. The solution — sign an amateur on the Phantoms that hasn’t played a professional game and play him within 24-hours. Signing Sloane meant that for 24-hours, the 24-year old defenseman from Colgate University, wouldn’t count against the cap.
“It’s not an ideal situation to be in,” said Flyers’ general manager Paul Holmgren. “I don’t particularly like playing short-handed. David Sloane is a college hockey player who has never played a pro game. Is he ready for the National Hockey League? Probably not, but he’s going to be put under fire.”
Lucky for the Flyers, Parent will be ready to play on Saturday against the New York Islanders, while Sloane will get sent back to the Phantoms.
Also in defensive news, the Flyers have assigned Luca Sbisa to the Phantoms. Sbisa’s junior season ended Wednesday night, making him eligable to go pro for the rest of the season. Sbisa will join the Flyers once the playoffs start, when the salary cap becomes virtually meaningless.