Tag: Philadelphia Flyers

Don Sweeney

B’s GM Sweeney a lightning rod for criticism


If you can say one thing about new general manager Don Sweeney it’s that he’s not afraid to make a trade. Plenty of analysts have chosen to say more though and much of it isn’t nice.

Boston acquired enforcer Zac Rinaldo from the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon in exchange for a third round pick. That’s an awfully high pick to give for a player that averaged 8:55 minutes per game in 58 contests and has had discipline problems leading to suspensions and bad penalties.

It also might be seen as the straw that broke the camel’s back after his recent controversial trades involving Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic. So naturally the reaction wasn’t kind…

And the one that perhaps best summarizes the general consensus:

Joe Haggerty expanded on that sentiment for CSN New England:

One begins to wonder exactly what the master plan is from the Bruins front office over on Causeway Street after witnessing their scattershot method to constructing the Bruins roster over the last few days.

It also makes one wonder where the 31-year-old Max Talbot fits into the picture after he was brought in to be the fourth line center for the Black and Gold following his deal from the Colorado Avalanche at last spring’s trade deadline.

You could make the argument that this is also the first trade Sweeney that had very little to do with former GM Peter Chiarelli. With Hamilton and Lucic, even if you disagreed with the return or the need to move them, an argument could at least be made that Sweeney was responding to the difficult cap situation he inherited from Chiarelli. That’s not applicable to the Rinaldo deal.

All that being said, general managers are critiqued on the individual moves they make, but typically their employment is dependent on the record of their team. Sweeney might be drawing plenty of criticism right now and a lot of it might be justified, but if his version of the Bruins are successful next season, then that will be that.

Related: Sweeney vows to return ‘aggressiveness’ to Bruins

VandeVelde signs two-year extension with Flyers

Chris VandeVelde

The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have inked Chris VandeVelde to a multi-year extension.

The terms of the contract weren’t released by the team, but it’s a two-year deal worth about $1.4 million, per the Philadelphia Daily News’ Frank Seravalli. He was coming off of a one-year, two-way contract that was worth $575K at the NHL level.

Going into the 2014-15 campaign, VandeVelde spent parts of the previous four seasons in the NHL, but he had never logged more than 18 games in a single season. He was able to firmly establish himself with Philadelphia though, scoring nine goals and 15 points in 72 contests. He logged 11:43 minutes per game, including an average of 1:41 minutes in shorthanded situations.

Philadelphia doesn’t have a lot of vacancies left on its roster and its cap position is fairly healthy. That being said, the Flyers still need to re-sign restricted free agent Michael Del Zotto and find an understudy for starting goaltender Steve Mason.

Your 2015 HHOF Class: Fedorov, Housley, Lidstrom, Pronger, Ruggiero

Detroit Red Wings v Philadelphia Flyers

The Hockey Hall of Fame has announced that the class of 2015 will consist of Sergei Fedorov, Phil Housley, Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger, and Angela Ruggiero while Bill Hay and Peter Karmanos Jr. were selected for the builders category.

Even among company like that, Lidstrom stands out. He’s a seven-time Norris Trophy winner and four-time Stanley Cup champion. During his 1,564-game career with Detroit, the team never missed the playoffs and as a result he ranks second on the all-time postseason games played list with 263.

Of course, Lidstrom was a big contributor in the playoffs too, scoring 54 goals and 183 points while being leaned on heavily in terms of ice time. He captured the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2002 while logging 31:10 minutes per game.

The year before Lidstrom started his first run of three-straight Norris Trophy seasons from 2000-03, Chris Pronger captured the award as well as the Hart Trophy. He had 14 goals, 62 points, and a league-leading plus-52 rating in 79 games with St. Louis back in 1999-00. It was the only time Pronger won either award, but it was far from Pronger’s only impact season.

He surpassed the 40-point mark in 10 separate seasons and played a big role in Anaheim capturing the Stanley Cup in 2007. He enjoyed a 1,167-game career, but unfortunately his playing days ended in 2011 due to a concussion. Already locked into a contract that runs through 2016-17, Pronger had the dubious distinction of actually being involved in a trade mere days before he was officially included in the Hall of Fame class.

Housley is the final NHL defenseman included in the players category and unlike Pronger and Lidstrom, he wasn’t seen as a lock. Housley was great offensively, recording more than 80 points on three occasions and finishing his career with 338 goals and 1,232 points in 1,495 games. However, he never won the Norris Trophy or the Stanley Cup.

Fedorov is the only forward to make it this year. Over the course of his career, he won the Selke Trophy twice and captured the Hart Memorial Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award in 1993-94. He also won the Stanley Cup three times with Detroit.

During his career he surpassed the 100-point mark twice, recorded more than 50 goals once, and finished with 483 goals and 1,179 points in 1,248 career games.

Ruggiero is a four-time Olympian for Team USA. She won the bronze medal in 2006, silver in 2002 and 2010, and helped the United States capture the gold in 1998. She claimed an additional four gold medals on the World Championships stage over the course of her career. In 2005, she became the first woman to participate in a regular season contest in a professional United States league in a position other than goalie. More specifically, she aided the Central Hockey League’s Tulsa Oilers.

Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder

Zac Rinaldo, Andy McElman

The Boston Bruins continued their baffling offseason by adding some brute force, sending their 2017 third-round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for rough winger Zac Rinaldo.

Fans of the Bruins’ “big, bad” side may like this move, as Rinaldo certainly throws his body (and fists) around. Others probably aren’t so happy, as it continues a trend of puzzling moves by new Bruins GM Don Sweeney (while Flyers GM Ron Hextall looks more and more like a maestro).

Of course, the beauty of the trade is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, as some will cringe and others will shrug their shoulders at a far-off third-rounder being the price.

Rinaldo, 25, carries both a salary and a cap hit of $850K in 2015-16 and 2016-17, so even detractors shouldn’t be too concerned about the financial impact (if nothing else). He obviously brings grit and hustle to the table, so again, there are likely to be some proponents of the move.

Rinaldo scored six points and generated 102 PIM in 58 games last season. During his NHL career, he has 24 points and 572 PIM in 223 regular season contests.

Even after flurry of trades, goalie market is far from settled

Antti Niemi

There were seven different trades over the course of Friday and Saturday that involved a goaltender, but even after that there are teams that still need to address their situation between the pipes. With the free agent period just around the corner and the trade market now in full swing, the pieces are likely to continue to fall into place rapidly. While we have a breather though, let’s take a look at where we stand.

Has Dallas addressed its goaltending needs?

Kari Lehtonen failed to live up to expectations last season so the Dallas Stars would naturally like to hedge their bets going forward. They’ve already taken a step towards that end by acquiring the rights to Antti Niemi from San Jose, but it remains to be seen if they can sign the netminder before he become an unrestricted free agent.

If they do sign Niemi, that might not settle their goaltending situation. He has spent the better part of his career serving as a starter and while his last two seasons haven’t been amazing, it’s likely that he’ll expect a significantly bigger salary than your typical backup. Which isn’t an issue by itself, but Dallas is still tied to Lehtonen for another three seasons at $5.9 million in cap space annually. That means Dallas will be dedicating a lot of its cap to goaltending and that’s something that may complicate matters for the squad unless it’s addressed.

What’s next for San Jose?

Meanwhile, San Jose still needs someone to work with Alex Stalock. The 27-year-old netminder had a 2.62 GAA and .902 save percentage in 22 games last season, so ideally the Sharks will want someone that can at least seriously challenge him for the starting job.

There are some noteworthy pending UFAs out there including Viktor Fasth, Karri Ramo, and Michal Neuvirth, but it’s also possible San Jose will make another trade.

“We’ve been exploring things for quite awhile, a lot of it in the trade market obviously,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson told CSN Bay Area. “As we’ve looked at it, we think there’s probably more goalies than there are teams. There’s more people that are available or could be available in discussions than you guys probably hear about.”

Who will be Steve Mason’s backup in Philadelphia?

With Ray Emery’s contract set to expire, the Flyers are in the market for a backup goaltender. They didn’t want to take part in the flurry of goaltending trades though.

“I didn’t want to give up an asset for a backup, quite honestly,” Flyers GM Ron Hextall told CSN Philly. “Did I talk to anybody? People called and I found out the prices.”

With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Philadelphia find its number two netminder on the free agent market.

Anaheim has created something of a logjam

When the Anaheim Ducks acquired Anton Khudobin from Carolina, it led some to naturally wonder if 21-year-old goaltender John Gibson was on the block. Ducks GM Bob Murray’s response was not family friendly, but the short version of his answer is: No.

So we can only assume that this issue won’t be addressed this summer, which makes it unique among the goaltending situations discussed here. Even still, it is awkward as this likely means that Gibson will be expected to spend the 2015-16 campaign in the minors after posting a decent 2.60 GAA and .914 save percentage in 23 games with Anaheim last season. This might just be a short-term setback for him though as Khudobin only has a year left on his contract before he can test the unrestricted free agent market.