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Columnist: Flyers need defensemen, not Bobby Ryan

Jul 30, 2012, 12:17 PM EDT

Paul Holmgren AP’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

  1. theawesomersfranchise - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    He’s right, Jay Bo would help the Flyers much more than Bobby Ryan.

    • stevierod - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      Not that this has anything to do with this article, but I give you credit for calling the Preds offer match.

      I still think that its fiscal suicide they are playing with, but we won’t know that for some time, unless they keep winning which is still a possibility.

    • biasedhomer - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      I would agree. JBo is actually underrated defensively. He is not a #1, but he can still play on the top line and shut down the best of them.

      • jpelle82 - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        his contract doesnt reflect a guy who is underrated in any facet of his game. he is making almost 7 mill per season…thats number 1 money

      • theawesomersfranchise - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:33 PM

        You read people saying Jay Bo is overpaid, Carle overpaid, Campbell overpaid.

        Well, it’s not easy finding D-men who can move the puck up ice quickly and efficiently.
        The Hawks missed Campbell on the backend. The Flyers will miss Carle. JayBo is overpaid yes, but I don’t know where you can find solid blueliners on the cheap. And his skill set is underrated imo.

        Why do the Flyers need another top 6 forward?
        Hartnell, Claude, Voracek, Scheen, Couturier is 5 solid guys right there. Then they still have Danny B, Matt Read, Wayne Simmons and Max Talbot.

        They need a guy or two that can get those young forwards the puck in good position to move and create.

  2. hockeyissweet - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    after losing jvr and jagr we need both, but since thats not really possible, defense clearly first.

  3. tmoore4075 - Jul 30, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    No kidding but not many big names available. Bobby Ryan is a lot sexier pickup then some defenseman.

    And just say no to JayBo. I’m not even a Flyers fan and I don’t want them to pick him up. He’s not worth anywhere near what he makes and he has 2 years left of that? Let the Flames deal with that bad deal. People though the Brian Campbell deal was bad…this is much worse.

  4. dougr42 - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Is anyone else concerned that Pannac says a lockout is inevitable? Didn’t think we were at the-sky-is-falling stage yet.

  5. stevierod - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    As per the norm, Tim is trying to play GM. Yeah the Flyers could use D-men, but that probably won’t happen… There isn’t a lot out there. JayBo is not the answer to any of the questions that can be asked of the Flyers. He had a +/- of -21 last season. So he isn’t helping you score or helping you stop the other team from scoring… And it will be a little easier to score on Philly with Bryz back there than it was in Calgary with Kiprusoff.

    I’m fully prepared for the Flyers to try and play a style of hockey much like the Capitals did a few years ago, all offense and hang your goalie out to dry style defense.

    And by no means do I think as a fan of the Flyers that it is going to work. Early round exit in the playoffs is expected.

  6. whlskey - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Here’s the thing about Tim Panaccio… He’s Tim Panaccio.

  7. murtdurt - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    I hope the flames fleece holmgren in a trade with j bo

    • handsofsweed - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:09 PM

      Oh, me too. I would love for my arch-rival to get fleeced. It ain’t happening, though.

  8. bigal5888 - Jul 30, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    It seems like he is saying since Philly needs defense, only go after defensemen and don’t do anything else to upgrade the team. Of course they need defense, but when they couldn’t get the top choices, why not get a top notch forward? I don’t think Bobby Ryan was their number one priority.

  9. birds012 - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    it would be nice to have picked up a weber or a suter, but I’m fine with what we have now. give the young guys a chance to get more ice and make a play at the trade deadline if we need to.

  10. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    But the Flyers’ top priority every offseason is to make some big name acquisition. It doesn’t matter who or where he plays, as long as they’re talked about a lot that’s all that matters. And since they weren’t able to get Suter or Weber, it’s only logical to expect them to do what isn’t logical and pursue Ryan over much needed defensemen.

  11. chrisvegas - Jul 30, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    I couldn’t agree more. Flyers need defensive help. They still will have one of the most potent offenses in the NHL. I think people make to much of the loss of JVR and Jagr. JVR Barely played this season and Jagr was certianly a good player this season, but the Flyers could afford to lose Jagr with the way that Voracek progressed last season. They still are a top ten scoring team in the NHL, but they need to get better on defense. My problem is I don’t think there is anyone out there that is worth trading for right now. Boumeester is a bust. He is overrated and overpaid. Phx wants to much for Yandle, so who else is out there? Personally I think Flyers should let players like Bourdon and Gus develope. Then address def help next year in Free Agency or the draft unless another good defenseman becomes available. I would suggest they don’t waste time trading for an old vet. Invest in someone young who is up and coming. Right now there isn’t anyone avail that I can think of that is worth trading young talent away for.

  12. hockeyfan28 - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Timmy P is one of the guys who drove Mike Richards out of town and was none to happy to see him win the cup so I take what he says with a grain of salt, but as to his point the flyers have not had a legit 30 goal a year power forward since the days of John Leclair. Bobby Ryan fits that and has always wanted to be a Flyer. The team plays a run and gun system that’s Laviolette’s style the reverse is true for Ken Hitchcock who took an underachieving Blues team and made them one of the best defensive teams in the league just on his system alone come on did anyone see Brian Elliot as franchise goalie last year? If they tighten up their system they’ll be fine but 30 goal power forwards do not grown on trees.

  13. eyeh8goodell - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    That Chris Pronger would never play again should’ve been obvious almost from the beginning.

  14. chazxcore - Jul 30, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    I thought the term “the best defense is a good offense” doesn’t apply? As much as the Flyers “need” defense, I don’t think their defense is as bad everyone is painting it to be. When they are disciplined, they are very very good. You can only assume that Bryz will have a better year than last year. They lost Carle which was not much of a loss. He was basically mediocre/poor once Pronger went down. They pick up Luke Schenn who is still very young and a huge upside. Timonem is old and they will need to replace him next year (most likely) but the FA pool is better than this year but still no franchise defense players.

    JBo is a good defender but it depends if it would be cheaper to get Ryan or JBo. If it’s cheaper to get Ryan, I go after Ryan and win high scoring games.

    • chrisvegas - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:43 PM

      I would agree with you that the defense has the potential to be solid. There are three big question marks in my eyes though. 1) Luke Schenn. How will he play? 2) Can Timonen stay healthy? 3) Can Mezz stay healthy? If these three things work out I think this unit can be good, not great. I still think they need to start looking for a replacement for Timonen, but they have to be smart about it. Don’t trade young talent for an aging Vet and don’t overpay for someone like Yandle. I think they have enough depth to get by this season with what they have, but I don’t think their current unit is good enough to win a cup.

  15. handsofsweed - Jul 30, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    And am I the only one who notices that this is a Flyers thread with no empty Soup Cans rattling around in it? Kinda refreshing.

  16. kingjoe1 - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    Perhaps the Flyers wait to see what happens with the CBA and see how their young d-man do this year. Nest years Restricted class of d-man is pretty strong. Three who are with small market teams are Alex Pietrangelo Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Zach Bogosian. AP and Zb would be a great fit to replace Kimmo after next season and are possible worth the 3 or 4 picks you have to give up.

  17. icdogg - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    They should sit tight and see what they need once the season gets going, unless a good opportunity presents itself. They don’t need to flail around and make moves just to make moves.

  18. phillyphan83 - Jul 30, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    what about some more rfs’s to try to sign to offer sheets just like Weber? better than a trade and losing guys we don’t wanna lose.

    • kingjoe1 - Jul 30, 2012 at 10:28 PM

      Pk suppan

  19. jnealsmeatymember - Jul 30, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    What about Filly sucks so bad that they cant pay anybody enough $ to play in that sh!thole. The Franchise and SCA has spoken on this matter, time to put up an article on Soup Can so we can discuss a relevant topic.

    • holeecowman - Jul 30, 2012 at 10:34 PM

      ok first off nobody wants to know what the sca is doing 2nd we already know that their practicing low/high blows ie knee shots and head hunting the cheapshot artist will cry every time the get mugged and in turn dish it out im hoping the new cba makes the ice chickens vulnerable to every rule in the book and their untouchable status disappears they already opened some eyes during the playoffs on how they are rying to end a rookies career on more than 1 occasion get real sca your time has come feel the wrath of the league i bet the owners are really talking that up as well poor cindy i bet he retires after his next concusion he used to be a great player then showed his true colors lol have fun rebuilding sca nobody wants to play for you either and i cant believe it still hurts you guys that much this late in the summer build a bridge and get over it

    • hockeyissweet - Jul 31, 2012 at 3:05 AM

      j neals meaty member? its obvious why you hate philly then you can get enough of neals meaty member. sucks i guess that a team that “cant pay anybody enough” knocked you out and almost swept you

    • babykaby - Aug 4, 2012 at 5:18 AM

      Your name reveals just what you are. Grow up.

  20. jnealsmeatymember - Jul 31, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    “Build a bridge and get over it”…how old are u, 90! Isn’t ur free dial-up computer time over fir the night at the retirement home? Time for u to take ur fiber supplement & stool softner and call it a night old man, the early bird special starts @ 4AM. And use sum punctuation next time so its a lil coherent. Make sure u put on ur over-night Depends so u dont shat urself pops.

    • babykaby - Aug 4, 2012 at 5:22 AM

      You do realize you are calling yourself a di*k, and not jus a di*k, but someone else’s di*k. I think you might need mental health counseling.

  21. holeecowman - Jul 31, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    yes keep bringing up 1975 i love it its awesome you a$$clowns keep talking about it how many times did the flyers need to be saved from bankrupticies and how many times were the ice chickens bailed out because of bankruptcies take your 6-7 yr old fan base frauds elsewere shipdit the real reason their fans don like our fans is because we have been around the entire time not 6-7 yrs and they know very little about the sport

    NOT 2005

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