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06-18-2011, 06:59 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Planet Earth
Country: United States
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Blog series 1 - A case for Carcillo

For those of you who don't know I recently joined this message board and am a die hard Flyers fan. While I enjoy making your typical run of the mill posts and debating trades both hypothetical and actual on the trades and rumors forum my posting style is more suited for blog type work as writing has always been both a hobby and semi-profession for me for many years now.

Throughout the offseason I would like to bring you all a blog series discussing anything and everything Flyers related and the first piece I have written is about Dan Carcillo. Thanks.

A case for Carcillo


Saturday June 18th
6:59 am

Another offseason and another set of questions for the Philadelphia Flyers. While the headlines and discussion will heavily revolve around the goaltending position and rightfully so, it is the smaller stories buried deep into the headlines which will ultimately shape the Flyers roster and indentity heading into the 2011-2012 NHL season. As a result of the goalie carousel which hit an all time high during this past season's playoffs it will be easy to forget, ignore, or not even recognize other areas of the Flyers roster which need to improve. With a serious improvement to the goaltending position likely addressed in the way of soon to be 31 year old Russian netminder Ilya Bryzgalov the focus will shift to other areas of need for both the organization and roster.

The obvious next step for general manager Paul Holmgren is to find a way to not only shed the necessary cap space to fit in Bryzgalov, but to do so in a very particular way. Holmgren needs to trade the right pieces, get back the right assets, and re-tool the team in a certain way while getting that massive upgrade in goal. This is sure to be a difficult task. One thing I hope Holmgren doesn't lose sight of is the subtle fact that the Flyers need to add size and toughness to their team this summer, and mainly to the forward position. As each move (starting with the acquisition of Bryzgalov's rights and reported deal which appears to be agreed to in principle) leads to another move like dominos falling one by one Holmgren will need to construct a roster for the Flyers this summer with a careful and methodical approach.

As a Flyers fan for many years who has both seen and is aware of the organization's rish history, it was dissapointing to watch the Flyers out played in the physicality department more often than not this past season, and not only swept by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins in the playoffs, but beaten up physically. I am aware that the game has changed and the need for "goons" and fighting in the NHL isn't what it once was, but size and team toughness is still a major element for success in this league. While I feel that this is an area that needs to be addressed by Holmgren this summer, it is certainly not an area that can be weakened. This is why (in addition to having a NTC) you won't see Scott Hartnell as one of the players dealt this summer to free up cap space. This is why you will likely see Matt Carle and not Braydon Coburn traded away from the defense. This is also why you will likely see prospects Tom Sestito and Zac Rinaldo have an opportunity to earn a fourth line spot in training camp. This brings me to Dan Carcillo.

If you read articles and blogs from the many individuals whose job it is to cover, comment on, and inform the fans of all things Philadelphia Flyers, restricted free agent Dan Carcillo is a name who is either not talked about, or simply dismissed as someone unlikely to be back with the Flyers for next season. I will be the first to say that I was personally dissapointed with Carcillo's 2010-2011 season. As early 2010 progressed, Carcillo found himself a trusted winger of head coach Peter Laviolette. He had earned a spot on a line with captain Mike Richards, and ended the season with 12 goals and 10 asists. This was the second time that Carcillo had shown some offensive potential in his career having put up 13 goals and 24 points in 57 games with the Phoenix Coyotes during the 2007-2008 season. Carcillo followed up that career high season with only 3 goals the following season an ended up traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for Scottie Upshall and a second round pick. Like that Scenario, Carcillo's strong 09-10 season was followed up by dissapointment the following year. Carcillo managed only 4 goals in 57 games last season, was in and out of the lineup for most of the season, and really batteled to find a consistent game both as a hockey player and pest / middleweight enforcer.

Moving forward I can understand why most people see Carcillo leaving the Flyers organization quietly this offseason, but I say not so fast. Carcillo is an enigma, but I think he deserves one more chance to develop into the player he can be with the Flyers both because he is still only 26 years old, and because of the dominos I mentioned earlier. The Flyers need to get bigger and more physical on the wing, not less. Subtracting Carcillo doesn't help in that area. Heavyweight enforcer Jody Shelley is a likely candidate to be waived due to a poor contract general manager Holmgren gave him, and rightfully so. So letting Carcillo go as well may not be in the Flyers best interests. Also, Ilya "cheeseBryz"galov is going to get some serious cheese. Unlike in years past the Flyers will be unable to trot out three lines full of scorers with high cap hits. It will be up to Holmgren to make sure that a couple of complimentary players with lower cap hits are in the mix on the forward group and that they are the right ones. Carcillo has had success in the past playing with Mike Richards. Let's just say for a minute that the Flyers are able to sign unrestricted free agent winger in the 1.5 - 2.0 million dollar cap hit neighborhood. The idea of a line featuring a newly added physical winger who can score 15-20 goals and defend, along with Richards and Carcillo is intriguing to me. Much more so than hoping that an average prospect like Eric Wellwood or Ben Holmstrom having an amazing camp, stealing a roster spot, and carrying that play well into the regular season. A third line of say, Raffi Torres or Chad LaRose, Mike Richards, and Dan Carcillo has the potential to be a shut down type defensive line, be extremely difficult to play against from a physicality standpoint, and produce a fair amount of offense.

Ultimately difficult decisions will need to be made. Carcillo is an enigmatic player coming off of a bad season, and players like Carcillo often have short shelf lives with their teams as their "act" can wear thin over time. If I had to guess I would agree with most fans, beat writers, and bloggers that Dan Carcillo will likely not be back with the Philadelphia Flyers for the 2011-2012 season. He will likely be moved for whatever pick Holmgren can manage to get him, likely a 3rd-5th round pick. That being said I want to make it very clear that due to his physical play on the wing, past success here and with captain Richards, low cap hit, and the flashes that he has shown in the past that that might not be the best move for the Flyers. Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know and with tough decisions ahead and a great challenge to put together a balanced roster that is within the NHL's salary cap with a new high priced goalie in the mix keeping Carcillo might make a lot more sense than the majority of people think.

Last edited by Fulton44*: 06-18-2011 at 07:05 AM.
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