Interesting story here from NHL.com’s Gameday Skate Blog on Joffrey Lupul, the former Philadelphia Flyer that will face his old team tonight as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Lupul wore the black-and-orange for two seasons (2007-09), scoring 45 goals while advancing to the 2008 Eastern Conference finals with teammates Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Scottie Upshall and R.J. Umberger.
Those particular players have two things in common. One, they were all 25 or younger during that playoff run. And two, none of them play for Philadelphia anymore!
“The only guy (from Philadelphia) I keep in touch with is (Scott) Hartnell,” Lupul told NHL.com “I played with (Claude) Giroux and those guys but just for a short period of time. It’s a completely different animal over there now.”
A different animal indeed. Philly’s highly-publicized summer makeover (dealing Richards to L.A. and Carter to Columbus) was the biggest and final phase of the project — other 25-and-unders jettisoned from the 2008 roster included Steve Downie, Ryan Parent, Ben Eager and Riley Cote. It’s almost like the Flyers were upset with the direction the core of youngsters was taking them or something.
(*cough* Dry Island *cough*)
That said, GM Paul Holmgren deserves a lot of credit for successfully rebuilding on the fly. Most rebuilds involve a complete tear-down and laying a new foundation of draft picks (see: Edmonton) — the ones that try to do it on the fly are usually a disaster (see: Toronto). Yet Holmgren’s moved and managed assets while keeping the on-ice product highly competitive. Since he took over from Bobby Clarke in 2006, the Flyers have won six playoff rounds, advanced to two Eastern Conference finals and one Stanley Cup.
Holmgren also deserves credit for having two of the three 2000 Hart Trophy nominees (Jaromir Jagr and Chris Pronger) on the same team — 11 years after they were nominated. Which is just insane to think about. To put it in perspective, the Vezina nominees in 2000 were Curtis Joseph, Olaf Kolzig and Roman Turek. The last one of those guys to play was CuJo, and that was two years ago. You don’t even wanna know what happened to Turek.
Now, if Holmgren could find a way to coax Pavel Bure out of retirement…