With Primeau, Handzus, Roenick, Sharp, Zhamnov, Carter and now Umberger all completely capable of being centers for the Flyers roster, which 4 players do you see most likely actually making up the 4 center roles for the team whenever the next season starts up?
Primeau and Zhamnov are pretty much locks as far as I'm concerned. I definately see both coming back. Roenick may be better off on the wing. I would deal Handzus for some help on the wing. That being said, they'll probably be either: Zhamnov/Roenick/Primeau/Umberger-Sharpe or Zhamnov/Zus/Primeau/Sharpe-Umberger. With Umberger being out of competitive hockey for a year, it may be difficult for him to get into playing shape and he'll probably need a year in the AHL.
As for Carter, he's the unknown. It he fills out and puts on some weight this summer, he's NHL ready and sending him back to juniors may stunt his development a little. He could see time on a scoring line either as a winger or playing center with JR on the wing.
I'm thinking it's only a matter of time before LeClair is bought out, and Amonte is gone somehow. Shouldn't be a doubt. Zhamnov's chances of staying probably just decreased as well unless he want to take a paycut (since he enjoyed actually having some success for once).
Unless Umberger blows stuff up in preseason, he will start in the AHL
I still say that the Flyers, looking to trim payroll under the next collective bargaining agreement, won't be signing any more big contracts other than Keith Primeau (and even that won't be that big). Zhamnov, I think, will be gone. I think Roenick and Kapanen will retire. The lines will be centered by Handzus, Primeau, Carter, and Sharp.
Tons of options now at the center position for the Flyers.
Zhamnov-will he be resigned?
Handzus-could he be trade bait?
Roenick-If he doesn't retire, I think he is now a Right wing
Primeau-He will play center for sure.
Sharp-could he move to wing?
Carter-Is he ready? Could he move to RW?
Richards-Is he ready? Could he move to LW?
Umberger-Is he ready? His defense has been questioned, is it good enough for 4th line duty?
Lapointe-will not be back.
I think Zhamonv and Primeau are the only 2 givens. Clarke may be positioning himself to move Handzus if the negotiations get nasty.
It seems like they want Zhamnov signed and if he does that almost guarantees JR to be a RW in 04-05 if he plays. Primeau is gonna take the 2nd line role and Handzus will be given another 3rd line role. I highly doubt Handzus gets traded because he is not only part of our future but huge and Clarke loves 'em big. I think Sharp gets the 4th line center job because he earned it big time. Carter will probably go back to juniors for another season which may not be best. Richards might make the club to play a defensive role on the LW. Umberger unless he amazes will be sent to the AHL.