It's been pretty quiet here so a little something to pick up discussion.
Since 1994 the Philadelphia Flyers have had an average of 1.67 players turn into actual NHL regulars. I've got to admit though that I didn't use an exact guideline for which players I felt would become players. The numbers become even more inexact when I counted the more recent drafts which really hurt the average. All things aside which prospects drafted do you think will have a shot at making the team and what role will they fill? Assume that if the player hasn't been traded/sign already they will not be, for the sake of making things easier.
Maxime Ouellet-no.1 goaltender for the Washington Capitals
Rejean Beauchemin-backup goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers
Antero Niittymaki-no.1 goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers
Jeff Woywitka-top four defenseman for the St. Louis Blues
Dennis Seidenberg-bottom 2 pairing defensman for the Philadelphia Flyers
Joni Pitkanen-top 2 pairing defensman for the Philadelphia Flyers
Joey Mormina-bottom 2 pairing defensman for the Los Angeles Kings
Alexandre Picard-bottom 2 pairing defensman for the Philadelphia Flyers
Simon Gagne-first line winger for the Philadelphia Flyers
Justin Williams-top six winger for the Carolina Hurricanes
Patrick Sharp-third line right winger/center for the Philadelphia Flyers
Jeff Carter-first line center for the Philadelphia Flyers
Mike Richards-second line center for the Philadelphia Flyers
Colin Fraser-third line center for the Chicago Blackhawks
Rob Bellamy-"battery" fourth line right winger for the Philadelphia Flyers
Triston Grant-"battery" fourth line left winger for the Philadelphia Flyers
Steve Downie-"battery" fourth line center for the Philadelphia Flyers
Obviously after looking at this projection I'm looking at a couple different things. First off, assigning Mike Richards Captaincy early on might make Keith Primeau expendable later. If Primeau retains the letter then the "third line" center position will be occupied, and I feel more comfortable with Branko as the "third line" right winger. This leaves Sharpie for traid bait, a cheap utility player in the Jon Sim mold just with more upside could help sweaten a deal. Next, after I read interviews with Hitchcock I can't help but think that he will have an aggressive fourth line that was similar to the Phantoms' "battery line" last year. A line that consistently establishes the forecheck while chipping in a few goals once in a while.
And now for the complaints. Stefan Ruzicka left out? Yea, I know. The Flyers are already short in the wing but he has had consistency issues and difficulties playing defense in the juniors. This is a type of player that Hithcock will obviously not hesitate to sit out which is not something we can afford in a salary cap world. Beating him out will probably be Umberger who has been a younger version of Brendan Morrison IMO which will eventually compliment Gagne and Carter very well. The prospects for other teams are just a guesstimate since I don't follow every team close enough to make an educated guess.
Last edited by Roger's Pancreas*: 08-26-2005 at 10:32 AM.
I think all of those projections are reasonably accurate, PY; although, I would assert that Pitkanen has number one defenseman potential, but that's probably just semantics.
I don't know what Ruzicka's future will hold. He seems to be a very interesting mix of pure skill and inconsistency - where have we heard that before? I won't compare him to any maligned players that have passed through the Flyers system in recent years, but I will say that inconsistency is often the death knell for young prospects trying to make their big clubs.
I like Umberger as well. He had a great regular season with the Phantoms, and was successfully able to change roles in the playoffs; versatility is a sought after asset for a young player to have. He seems to be in great shape (actually, he's a monster) and works hard as well, but he still has his natural talent, which is quite high. Overall, I'm very glad he's part of the Flyers' system now, and I don't think he's that far off as an NHL player. He seems to play a fairly mature game already, and I believe he'd be one of the first call ups this season in the event of injury.
Ouellet is another interesting situation that I'll be watching. Washington is going to be a very poor team this season, so I imagine he'll see quite a few games this year, with Kolzig there as his "safety net" of sorts. Perhaps we'll actually see what he's made of, and if he can become the player everyone thinks he can.