Originally Posted by Blue Brigade
That is what I read as well but I came across an article in one of today’s papers stating that the last few times Keith has skated he suffers from "crazy eyes" causing the similar symptoms as motion sickness. Also taking into consideration that it took about 15 month for him to recover from the last one he suffered. :dunno:
If you believe what's coming out of Philadelphia, Primeau will eventually be back. Assuming that is true, then the Flyers would have no need to acquire another center.
If it turns out that Primeau will not return this season, then yes, I think the Flyers would be in the market for a checking line center to fill the gap that Primeau left behind. Granted, Handzus, Carter, and Richards are all fine center man, but of the three, Handzus and Richards are important parts of the scoring lines, and Carter is nowhere near the defensive player that Primeau was. Eventually he too will be on a scoring line.
At this point, we're still only a 1/4 of the way through the season and the Flyers are doing fine. They're a bit inconsistent, but they've had a rash of injury troubles which has caused all sorts of problems. If the team could get healthy for a bit and get some chemistry going, with some consistent Goaltending, I think they'd be pretty good. There are some areas where the Flyers will definitely be targeting IMO before the deadline, but not yet. They need more games in order to see if those problem areas are real or just temporary struggles.
Originally Posted by Patty Ice
Nabokov + for Pitkanen? Not likely but I love to dream.
It would take a lot. Pitkanen is definitely the Flyers best defenseman, and without him, I think the entire D corps would go in the toilet. He and Rathje make up the best pairing the Flyers have, and the only one that is consistently good. Johnsson is a very good defenseman, and Desjardins has been playing well, but they're more inconsistent and prone to screwing up then Pitkanen. Hatcher has been good he last few games, but he struggles with not being able to manhandle forwards. Therien is just crap.
With Pitkanen's skating ability and good positioning, he can do things that the other Flyers' defenseman can't. He can skate with any forward, will not get burnt by speed, and won't get beat one on one. IMO, he has the best defensive skills of any Flyers defenseman. Offensively, he's obviously the best. As I said, if he were to be dealt, the Flyers defense would be in trouble. From San Jose's side, they'd have to include one of their big defenseman, and I don't think they'd want to do that either. At 22 years old, Pitkanen is only going to get better, and as JFF alluded to, there are very few players I'd trade him for straight up. It would take a big overpayment.
Originally Posted by Stanley
I believe their goaltending is just fine. I think that at present, Nabokov is better than Esche or Niittymaki, but I don't think by that much. Certainly not by enough to warrant considering a trade of their best young player. Esche led them all the way to Game 7 of the Conference Finals last year, and while he's not looked consistently sharp this season, I don't think that there's reason to worry.
I disagree. I am not really comfortable with either Esche or Niittymaki as this team's number one goaltender right now.
Niittymaki is just not ready. I still believe he has a ton of talent and will develop into a very strong starting goaltender in the NHL, but he's not there yet
. We have to remember that he's still a rookie and he still has a long way to go before he develops fully. He's just not ready for a number one job.
To put it bluntly, I just don't believe Esche is good enough. In my estimation, he's an average starting goaltender in the NHL. In today's game, with the parity of the league and how tight playoff battles are, I don't think you can win with a goaltender who is just "average." At least in the Flyers case, their team defense does not appear to be good enough to make up for Esche's blunders.
Last season, the Flyers could cover up some of Esche's mistakes with a heavy defensive system, and just collapsing down low in front of the net with their defenseman. They could simply cross check any opposing forwards out of the way. With the new rules, they can't legally do that anymore; the forwards have a much easier time going and picking up his big time rebounds. Esche's weaknesses have become more apparent. At the 1/4 mark, I'm starting to think that Esche wasn't in a "slump," but rather we need to realize that this is what we're going to get. IMO, it's not enough.
If Esche's play hasn't picked up a lot by the deadline, I'd be completely in favor of looking elsewhere for a goaltender. I would hope Clarke would too.