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05-02-2013, 02:20 PM
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Join Date: May 2010
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Meltzer: 2013 Off-season: Upgrading Top D Pairing Is Easier Said Than Done

Nice cogent write up by Bill as always..I doubt Bryz was including Bill in his criticism of what reporters should or shouldn't do.

Anyway, I mentioned in one of my earlier posts in a thread my concern that Holmgren would pull another pipe dream attempt like he did with Parise and Suter by trying to poach Pietrangelo...looks like Bill has the same concern.

Also, looks like Flyers options to upgrade the D through free agency are pretty lame as Bill notes.

Options through a trade seem limited too....good points on big Buff and Yandle.

In short, looks like it's going to be a slow process or Holmgren can panic with the D like he did with the goalie and make some ill-advised moves.

Given all this it seems that barring some exceptional season from our current crop of D men (vets & prospects/callups) we are really going to need exceptional goaltending to erase mistakes and the team will really have to focus on the "extra layer" of defense that Lavi tried to institute and which according to Hartnell they just weren't used to and inhibited their offense out of the zone.

Holmgren has got a big conundrum to work out with personnel to support Lavi and Bryz who he is doubling down on.....

Good luck, Lavi and Bryz got a lot riding on this D upgrade riddle

The more I look at the NHL's likely off-season marketplace, the more firmly I believe that it going to be exceptionally difficult for this team to immediately satisfy the need to upgrade the top defense pairing and come up with an immediate succession plan for Kimmo Timonen as the team's most pivotal blueliner.

There is not a single top-pairing upgrade candidate out there on the unrestricted free agent (UFA) market this summer. Teams leaguewide have taken to locking up their top potential UFA candidates before they ever hit the open market. Most of the notables out there are over age 35 (Sergei Gonchar, Mark Streit, and several others), do not suit the team's primary need (puck-moving, two-way D) or have reputations for inconsistency.

If the Flyers go the UFA defenseman route this summer, they will be looking more at middle tier second-pairing candidates or specialists. There are players who could offer varying degrees of help in addressing team needs but none who will individually be major impact players likely to positively stand out even when the team as a whole isn't playing well.

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