June 27th, 2014 at 11:11 PM
By Tyler Ruby
In front of their home fans at the Wells Fargo Center Friday night, general manager Ron Hextall took the stage to announce the Philadelphia Flyers' first pick of the 2014 NHL Draft. It was Travis Sanheim, a defenseman out of Elkhorn, Manitoba.
It's a name that many Flyers fans may not be familiar with, but he rocketed up draft boards as he continued to get better and better with each season that passed and each game he played. He played for the Yellowhead Chiefs in the Manitoba Midget Hockey League, and he tallied a total of 74 points in two seasons with them. This past season Sanheim spent time with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL,, and he recorded 29 points in 67 games.
He is only going to get better, and he certainly has the time to develop into a top-four defenseman in the NHL. He measures in at 6'3" and 181 pounds, so he does need to grow into his frame a bit, but once he does, he could be a real steal of the draft for Flyers. He has been praised for his excellent skating and puck-moving ability as an defenseman.Read more... Join the Conversation...
June 23rd, 2014 at 4:29 PM
By Tyler Ruby
There is just something about the date June 23. Three years ago, then-general manager Paul Holmgren traded Mike Richards and Jeff Carter after they flamed out in the playoffs, and now, Ron Hextall follows suit as he traded fan-favorite Scott Hartnell to the Columbus Blue Jackets for R.J. Umberger and a fourth-round pick.
It's a curious move to say the least, but what makes it most interesting though is that Hartnell had a no-trade clause, and he has always expressed is love for Philadelphia and the fans have reciprocated. So what happened there? Also, while Hartnell had a down past two years compared the his lofty standards that he set for himself in the first few years with the team, he is still a valuable piece offensively, especially on the power play.
Umberger and Hartnell are the same age, and Hartnell has earned more points than Umberger in the past five seasons. Yes, Umberger is an ex-Flyer, but may be most-known for getting blown-up by Brian Campbell in the 2006 playoffs. He doesn't possess the same speed that he once did, and he doesn't provide the physicality that Hartnell does, so this move doesn't make much since. But maybe it's a sign that there is more to come as there have been rumors of the Flyers moving up to the top of the NHL Draft in a week.Read more... Join the Conversation...
June 13th, 2014 at 7:26 PM
By Tyler Ruby
One of the Philadelphia Flyers' biggest questions entering the offseason was answered on Friday as Kimmo Timonen signed a one-year extension with the Flyers for the 2014-15 season
The 39-year-old defenseman had a very solid year with the Flyers as he played in 77 games and tallied 35 points. Although his speed has decreased as he has gotten older, he still remains a good defenseman with great positioning. This will be his seventh year with the club after being acquired in 2007 from the Nashville Predators. In that time, he has won the Barry Ashbee Trophy, given to the team's best defenseman, five times.
In all, the 2013-14 season was a great season for the Timonen. He helped the Flyers erase an abysmal start to reach the playoffs after missing it the previous season, and he won the bronze medal in the Sochi Winter Games with Finland. If he would have walked away from the game and retired, nobody would have blamed him. He's a true professional, and he is one of the best Finnish players to ever play in the NHL.Read more... Join the Conversation...
May 16th, 2014 at 12:23 PM
By Tyler Ruby
Erik Gustafsson, one of the better Philadelphia Flyers defensive prospects, left the Flyers to sign a deal with Avangard Omsk of the KHL.
Gustafsson was severely underused and underappreciated as a member of the Flyers organization. Gustafsson played 31 games this past season with the Flyers, which was the most he ever played at the NHL level. For most of his time in the NHL, he was third-pair defenseman, but he always provided speed, quickness and a puck-moving ability to help the offense.
Gustafsson was snubbed before Game 5 of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the New York Rangers in favor of Hal Gill, a player who only played in six games all year. That may have been the final nail in the coffin for Gustafsson and the Flyers organization. It became clear that the Flyers didn't really see Gustafsson in their future.
So Gustafsson will be taking his talents to Russia, presumably to get more playing time. Gustafsson was never going to be able to improve and reach his full potential with the Flyers because of the lack of playing time. Gustafsson is scheduled to become a restricted free agent at the end of the hockey year, so the Flyers do have the rights to him if he signs a qualifying offer, but chances of that happening are slim. Read more... Join the Conversation...
May 7th, 2014 at 10:07 PM
By Tyler Ruby
The Philadelphia Flyers made some news on Wednesday as they named Ron Hextall their general manager and Paul Holmgren president.
Hextall is the seventh general manager in team history, and all indications are that Hextall will be the architect of the roster makeup, as he is in charge of the day-to-day operations. Hextall was named the assistant general manager in July 2013, and before that, he was with the Los Angeles Kings organization in a similar role.
The Flyers certainly have a lot of faith in how Hextall can build a team from the ground up, and that is exactly what Hextall stressed in his press conference today. Hextall wants to build from within and avoid trading young, talented prospects for older, more established players, and that is a breath of fresh air to Flyers fans because Holmgren was quite the opposite. With Hextall now general manager, he will focus on building up their minor league system to become a stronger organization overall. Read more... Join the Conversation...