Tag: Philadelphia Flyers

Robin Lehner,

Under Pressure: Robin Lehner


If you want a hockey example of “be careful what you wish for,” look no further than Robin Lehner.

He’s getting what he likely pined for during his time with the Ottawa Senators – the No. 1 gig – yet he’ll face a challenging situation in Buffalo.

It doesn’t help matters that Sabres fans cringed at the cost of acquiring Lehner.

Lehner cost a first-round draft pick in a loaded draft while the Senators also managed to unload David Legwand’s contract. The 24-year-old may need to do a little convincing early on.

A bumpy 2014-15 season

Whether it was crafty veteran Craig Anderson or fast-food sensation Andrew Hammond, Lehner couldn’t snare the starting gig in Ottawa, and things only got worse when concussion issues ended his season altogether.

It’s easy to forget that Lehner sports a perfectly respectable career save percentage (.914) because his 2014-15 season was so unsightly: 9-12-3 with a mediocre .905 save percentage.

Long story short, Lehner has plenty to prove after a bumpy start to his NHL career.

source: AP
Via AP

A big opportunity, but a huge challenge

That said, he’s definitely getting a fair shot with the Sabres and GM Tim Murray. Murray was nothing if optimistic about acquiring the big Swede, as the Ottawa Sun noted after the trade.

“I think Robin needed a change of scenery,” Murray said. “I think he’s a very talented, big strong, young man that is just scratching the surface and, hopefully, we can bring the best out of him.”

Some might roll their eyes at the idea of a change of scenery making a difference, yet it’s not without precedent. Steve Mason’s resurgence in Philadelphia argues that a struggling netminder can thrive after a career Etch-a-Sketch shake.

Granted, it won’t be easy; Lehner’s essentially going from a holding pattern in Ottawa to a trial by fire with Buffalo. What do you think: will he sink or swim?

Flyers’ Hakstol flew 4,000 miles to have dinner with Voracek

Dave Hakstol

Even though Dave Hakstol is now in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers, it doesn’t mean he’s shelved his recruiting ways.

The former bench boss at the University of North Dakota, who was named the 19th head coach in Flyers’ history in May, recently jumped on a plane and flew 4,000 miles to have dinner with Jakub Voracek.

“I talked to him over the phone and he told me that he would like to see me in the middle of June,” said Voracek who signed an eight-year contract extension this week. “I was like, ‘Yeah that’s perfect, but I’ll be still in Czech.’ He was like, ‘Yeah I know, I’m just going to fly to Czech to have dinner with you.’”

According to the Daily News, Hakstol and the right-winger met prior to contract talks between the Flyers and Voracek’s agent started heating up.

The two discussed the upcoming season, Hakstol’s coaching style and what was expected of Voracek and his teammates.

“When he came down, I asked him what was his next plan, if he’s staying for the week or going somewhere else,” Voracek said. “He was like, ‘No, no. I’m flying back tomorrow morning.’ I told him that’s a long trip for one dinner, but it meant a lot to me and it was great to talk to him eye-to-eye.”

Voracek had a team-leading 59 assists and 81 points to go along with 22 goals in 82 games last season.

Related: No extension on the horizon for Flyers’ Brayden Schenn

No extension on the horizon for Flyers’ Brayden Schenn

Brayden Schenn

Flyers’ GM Ron Hextall has been busy handing out contract extensions this week inking both Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek; however, one player who won’t be getting an extension any time soon is Brayden Schenn.

The 23-year-old is heading into the final year of his two-year, $5 million contract and is set to become a restricted free agent next summer.

“I’ve spoken with Brayden’s agent a number of times over the summer about different things and the subject’s never come up,” Hextall said per CSNPhilly.com. “It’s not something we’re in a hurry to do and I’m assuming they feel the same way.”

Schenn, who scored a career-high 47 points to go along with 18 goals in 82 games last season, is headed into his fifth season with the Flyers.

A natural center, Schenn was used on the wing at times by former coach Craig Berube last season.

“From my perspective, he’s played a lot of games and he’s a young player that is growing and developing,” Flyers’ coach Dave Hakstol said. “I think I am going to allow that proof to be decided in his performance. I’m not making any decisions on anything that’s happened in the past. I think it’s about what you do from this point forward and that will be the case in this situation.”

In four seasons with the Flyers, Schenn has 58 goals and 132 points while appearing in 265 games.

Related: How do Voracek, Giroux compare to the most expensive duos?

How do Voracek, Giroux compare to the most expensive duos?

Carolina Hurricanes v Philadelphia Flyers

How would you rate Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux compared to the other elite duos in the league?

Once Voracek’s new eight-year, $66 million extension begins in 2016-17, the Flyers top two forwards will cost a little over $16.5 million annually in cap space. There are just three duos that are currently more expensive: Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews ($21 million combined), Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby ($18.2 million), and Anaheim’s Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf ($16.9 million).

That’s some pretty tough company to be compared to. Toews and Kane have led Chicago to three Stanley Cup championships while Malkin and Crosby have also won the Cup and combined for three Hart Trophies. Perry and Getzlaf have their names on the Cup too and while that was back in 2007, Perry is also a Hart Trophy and Rocket Richard Trophy winner while Getzlaf has ranked fourth in total points over the last three seasons.

By comparison, over the four seasons since Voracek was acquired from Columbus, the Flyers have only won one playoff series and neither Voracek or Giroux have claimed a major award. The closest either came was when Giroux finished third in the Hart Trophy vote in 2014.

That being said, even if the top items of their resumes don’t measure up to some of the other elite duos, they certainly compare favorably in other ways. Over the last three season, Voracek and Giroux have combined for 396 points, putting them behind Malkin/Crosby (419), but ahead of Perry/Getzlaf (379), and Toews/Kane (370). On top of that, at 25 years old (26 in August), Voracek is the youngest player of those listed, so he’s had the least amount of time to work on his resume.

Finally, there’s the matter of the team built around each set of elite forwards. Philadelphia over the last few years has suffered under the weight of bloated contracts to older players. Part of that has come from a need to use band aid solutions defensively to compensate for a lack of desirable homegrown blueline options. With some promising defensemen now developing in the Flyers’ system, perhaps that will change.

Because at the end of the day, it won’t be about how many points Voracek or Giroux accumulate in the regular season. That’s certainly is relevant, but they will ultimately be judged on what happens in future playoff runs.

Voracek turns monster season into massive eight-year deal

Jakub Voracek

After two strong seasons, Jakub Voracek firmly established himself as a top-tier forward in 2014-15 and now he’s going to get paid like one.

The Philadelphia Flyers have inked Voracek to an eight-year, $66 million contract extension, per the Philadelphia Daily News’ Frank Seravalli. He still has a season left on his four-year, $17 million deal, so that means he’ll carry a $8.25 million annual cap hit starting in 2016-17 and through the 2023-24 campaign.

The 25-year-old forward (26 on Aug. 15), had 22 goals and a career-high 81 points in 82 games last season. That’s after he recorded 108 points in 130 contests over his previous two campaigns.

He was originally acquired in 2011 from the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of the Jeff Carter trade. Philadelphia also got the 2011 eighth overall selection in that deal, which the Flyers used on Sean Couturier. The two forwards now seem set to stick with each other for a long time as Couturier signed a six-year, $26 million deal just a few days ago.

In addition to those two, Philadelphia also has Claude Giroux inked through the 2021-22 campaign at roughly $8.3 million annually. It seems safe to say that the Flyers hope those three will serve as the team’s core for years to come.