The NHL Trade Deadline came and went without a move from the Orange and Black.
The Flyers coveted a goaltender, defensemen, and perhaps another scoring forward. None of which they acquired. Not from lack of trying, though.
The Flyers simply didn’t have the pieces to move to get anything they wanted. There was lots of talk of acquiring Dwayne Roloson, Tomas Vokoun, Dan Ellis, or even Marty Turco. There was also talk of acquiring Dan Hamhuis, Colby Armstrong, or Alexander Frolov.
The Flyers had kicked the tires on Tomas Kaberle and Garnet Exelby.
At the end of the day, it was all talk.
GM Paul Holmgren was handcuffed by the cap number he’s built up with the Flyers since taking over for Bob Clarke. He was handcuffed by trading away both his first and 2nd round draft picks for 2010. He was also handcuffed by the no-movement clauses he installed in some players contracts.
Holmgren has no one to blame but himself.
However, the lack of a move at the deadline isn’t always a bad thing. How many times have we seen the most sought after player be traded at the deadline only to underachieve? Breaking the bank to land an aging over-priced goaltender was not the right move for the Flyers. There were no moves to be made out there that would have instantly made them Cup favorites. No reasons to trade away Claude Giroux or James Van Riemsdyk. No players worth mortgaging the future over.
So, now the Flyers move forward with the same team. Included in that team is an unproven, yet successful, so far, goaltender Mike Leighton. A wave the Flyers will try to ride out, as far as it goes, before it pulls back into the sea. How far will it go is the question. 1st round? 2nd? Or will it run out of steam before the playoffs?
Not making the playoffs is something the Flyers, I’m sure, never imagined was possible. However, now, it is a very likely situation and one the Flyers must prepare for.
The contracts that hinder the Flyers now have to be taken care of. And I imagine a few of them will be during the off-season. Which should free up some cap space, space which Paul Holmgren must use wisely this time around. There are no quick fixes in the NHL. And this Flyer team is not without talent, and not without young talent either. A few good concentrated moves for needs during the off-season could make this team a Cup contender once again.
I’m not saying this season is doomed. I am saying this team cannot win the Stanley Cup. In retrospect the smartest thing Paul Holmgren did Today was not making a move. Not making a move to make a move, and not mortgaging the future for what will be ultimately an early round exit out of the playoffs, or worse, with or without a move.
After today the Flyers must ride out the season, and who knows what could happen. Though, one things for sure they must look towards the future. And the future was not going to become all of sudden certain with any move made Today.
About the Author
Written by Mike Santa Barbara
Sports writer covering mostly Philadelphia sports for over 10 years. Work has been featured on RealGM.com, GCobb.com and Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia (CSNPhilly.com.)