Paul Holmgren

Columnist: Flyers need defensemen, not Bobby Ryan

32 Comments’s Tim Panaccio thinks all the Bobby Ryan talk is a waste of time. If GM Paul Holmgren really wants to improve his team, he should go out and get a defenseman, not another high-scoring forward.

They don’t need 35 more goals as much as they need 35 less on the back end. Ryan (plus-1 this season) is not on par with other two-way defensive-conscious forwards such as Mike Richards, Claude Giroux or Sean Couturier. He won’t save them 35 goals.

Yeah, they’re centers and Ryan is not, but the point is: the Flyers still have a gaping hole on the blue line and Ryan isn’t going to fill it.

And if the cost of obtaining Ryan is to further weaken the blue line – Ducks GM Bob Murray reportedly wants defensive help – then such a trade makes even less sense.

Not that Holmgren hasn’t tried to address his blue line. He pushed hard to get Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, only to fall short in each attempt.

Writes Panaccio: “That Holmgren tried so hard to get the best two defensemen out there is an acknowledgement by management that Chris Pronger will never play again in Philadelphia.”

Holmgren would vehemently disagree there (at least publicly.) And he did acquire Luke Schenn in a trade with Toronto for James van Riemsdyk.

Besides, even if Holmgren does still want to add another defenseman, his options are limited. The free-agent pool is dry, save for the likes of Michal Rozsival, Pavel Kubina, Scott Hannan, Jaroslav Spacek and Carlo Colaiacovo.

Jay Bouwmeester could possibly be pried out of Calgary, but not for free.

Related: Pronger’s health represents other big question for Flyers’ D

Derek Roy signs in Swiss league

Derek Roy, Jeremy Smith, Chris Kelly
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Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.

Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.

The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.

A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.

With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.

Lehner’s injury ‘doesn’t look like it’s short term’

Robin Lehner
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Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.

Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.

When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.

“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”

It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.

While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.