With Timonen shelved, what’s next for Philly?

19 Comments

On Tuesday, the Flyers announced veteran d-man Kimmo Timonen was diagnosed with blood clots in his lower right leg and both lungs, and is currently being treated for the disorder in his native Finland.

While there’s no timetable for Timonen’s return, GM Ron Hetxall said the club views this as a “long-term” situation, suggesting the Flyers are prepared to start the season without the 39-year-old, and possibly play the entire campaign minus his services.

With that in mind, here’s a look at what Philadelphia faces moving forward.

What’s left

Philly’s new projected top-six defense is Mark Streit, Braydon Coburn, Andrew MacDonald, Nicklas Grossmann, Luke Schenn and former Edmonton/Minnesota/Columbus rearguard Nick Schultz, who was signed in free agency. Even with Timonen in the mix, the group wasn’t exactly awe-inspiring — without him, it’s a trouble area for sure as his impact on the club’s possession and shots-for/shots-against metrics were very impressive. You could also pencil him in for 20-22 minutes a night and 35-40 points a year.

Compounding things is Philly’s lack of solutions within the organization. The team has taken d-men with their first picks in consecutive drafts (Samuel Morin in ’13, Travis Sanheim this year), but neither has played a game of professional hockey and aren’t immediate solutions. Highly-touted college standout Shayne Gostisbehere is a little older (21) and a little more experienced, but still only has two games under his belt with AHL Adirondack.

Speaking of Adirondack/Lehigh Valley, the Phantoms present a few other options as well. RFA Brandon Manning’s been up with the Flyers on a few occasions, as has Olivier Lauridsen. Robert Hagg, a Swedish d-man taken in the second round in ’13, played 10 games for the Phantoms last year and could warrant a look too.

What’s out there

Given all the aforementioned names have such little big-league experience, it’s not surprising that Hextall wants to wade into the free agent and trade market:

Bringing someone aboard via either avenue will prove tricky. The Flyers are currently $3 million over the cap but will get LTIR relief from Chris Pronger ($4.9M) and, possibly Timonen ($2M) — which would give Hextall room to work with, albeit not that much. There have been rumblings about Philly having interest in ex-Rangers and Predators rearguard Michael Del Zotto, who could be a good gamble at a relatively low cost given his reputation is “in tatters,” according to the New York Post.

The rest of the available free agents are… well, uninspiring to be totally honest. Sami Salo, Henrik Tallinder, Ed Jovanovski, Derek Morris, Douglas Murray, Francis Bouillon and Shane O’Brien are a few of the names out there, but they’re out there for a reason.

In the end, this is a tough situation for both Timonen and the Flyers and there doesn’t appear to be a quality solution on the horizon. It’s the first real crisis moment in Hextall’s tenure as GM, and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles it.

Seguin undergoes surgery for torn labrum

Getty
Leave a comment

By all accounts, Tyler Seguin and new head coach Ken Hitchcock can’t wait to start working together in Dallas.

But now, they’ll have to.

On Wednesday, Stars GM Jim Nill announced Seguin had undergone shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum, per the Morning-News.

Nill added that Seguin is expected to be healthy and ready for September’s training camp.

It’s a bit surprising to learn the 25-year-old had an injury of this significance. Seguin didn’t miss a single contest last year, marking the first time in his career he played a full 82-game campaign.

Related: Hitch wants Seguin thinking, playing like a No. 1 center

It’s a battle of red-hot goalies in Preds-Blues series

Getty
Leave a comment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) No goaltender has played better this postseason than Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators, though Jake Allen of the St. Louis Blues came closest in the first round.

Now their teammates have to figure out how to score on these two stingy goalies if they want to advance to the Western Conference finals. (Watch tonight at 8 pm ET on NBCSN or the NBC Sports app)

“We have to try to solve Jake Allen and make life difficult for him,” Rinne said . “It comes down to me trying to maintain and try to be at my best. At the same time, of course, you’re going to look at the other side of the rink and the guy who you play against, you try to outplay him.”

Rinne allowed only three goals on 126 shots faced in helping Nashville to its first postseason sweep in franchise history. He shut out top-seeded Chicago twice on the Blackhawks’ own ice, becoming just the fourth goalie to win four postseason games with a goals-against average of 0.70 or less.

Related: Five impressive stats from the first round

When the Blues open their conference semifinal Wednesday night in St. Louis, they hope to take advantage of some inside information to solve Rinne. Carter Hutton backed up Rinne the past three seasons in Nashville, and the two remain close friends. That friendship is about to take a timeout for the duration of this series.

“He’s one of those guys that he’s a streaky goalie at the same time, so I think we have to do a good job of getting traffic and getting in there,” Hutton said. “But it’s going to be a battle of the goalies. We’ve got two of the best going at it here.”

Allen ranks just behind Rinne this postseason with a 1.47 goals-against average and .956 save percentage in leading the Blues over Minnesota in five games in the first round.

“He’s been our playoff MVP so far,” Hutton said of Allen.

Read more: A remarkable turnaround for Jake Allen

Longtime Habs assistant coach Jodoin resigns

Getty
Leave a comment

There was a changing of the guard in Montreal on Wednesday, as veteran assistant bench boss Clement Jodoin resigned from the club.

“Marc Bergevin and I regretfully accepted the resignation of assistant coach Clement Jodoin, who made the decision to end his long-time association with the Montreal Canadiens,” head coach Claude Julien said in a release. “At our post-season meeting, we offered Clement to remain on our coaching staff, but he indicated to us that at this stage in his career, he would be looking for a change and would like to explore other challenges.”

Jodoin, 65, first caught on with the Canadiens in 1997 as an assistant under then-head coach Alain Vigneault. He spent six years with the club until returning to coach junior hockey in the Quebec League.

In 2011, he returned to the Habs organization as the head coach of their AHL affiliate in Hamilton. One year later, he was back in the bigs in a familiar role — as Montreal’s assistant coach, working alongside Michel Therrien.

Montreal had no immediate word on who will replace Jodoin on Julien’s staff.

2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Wednesday, April 26

Getty
Leave a comment

The second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs is set to begin on Wednesday, and the NBC Sports Group has you covered with wall-to-wall coverage.

After disposing of the Calgary Flames in the first round, the Anaheim Ducks will look to take down another team from Alberta, while two red-hot goalies, Jake Allen and Pekka Rinne, go head-to-head.

Here’s what you need to know:

Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks 

Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online)