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Flyers GM: ‘I think we improved our team a lot’

Jul 6, 2013, 12:33 AM EDT

Paul Holmgren AP

From the net on out, the Philadelphia Flyers will look very different next season. They spared no expense to do so.

Of course, the question is: was it all worth it? GM Paul Holmgren told that he’s very happy with the results.

“I think we improved our team a lot,” Holmgren said. “We added a very good puck-moving defenseman that’s going to bring us more offense from the back end (Mark Streit). We added, in my opinion, still one of the better players in the game in Vinny Lecavalier … And adding Ray (Emery) to bring in along with Steve Mason, I think, solidifies our goaltending position …”

“More importantly, we kept what we think is a real good nucleus together. We didn’t do anything to dismantle anything.”

Some might say that spending all that money for Danny Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov to not play for the team might count as “dismantling,” but that’s in the past now.

Along with questions about the Mason-Emery duo, people wonder if the addition of Streit is enough to turn around a woeful defense. Holmgren explains that some of the ugliness came from a rash of injuries. Even if he’s just saying the right things, Holmgren said he doesn’t expect to make more moves.

Still, he noted “you never say never on anything,” which might as well be the Flyers’ team-building mantra at this point.

  1. aldog83 - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:48 AM

    Good pick ups.

    Not bad for settling.

    I think Flyers had pieces for a better package than Ottawa for Bobby Ryan.

    And Schneider would have been better than Emery.

    • DonkeyStick - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:23 AM

      The only person that wants Boddy Ryan in Philadelphia is BOBBY RYAN. THey don’t need him, they need DEFENSE AND A GOALIE

    • hockeyfan28 - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:02 AM

      Not sold on Schneider watching him in the Vancouver playoff series he looked pretty bad at times this was more
      about finding a compliment to Mason who should get about 40 starts and Bobby Ryan his time will come every GM in the league knows where he wants to play and Ottawa essentially has this year to essentially get him to an extension

    • tdrusher225 - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      If Ryan doesn’t re-sign with Ottawa he could be on the hot track to Philly. At this point the money and the need wasn’t good, but perhaps in a few a years the situation will be better suited for the Flyers.

  2. flyers22 - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    Great pick ups for the flyers landed arguably the best free agent in lecavalier as well as streit and another good goalie in emery to push for the number 1 with mason as long as this team stays healthy they can easily make a cup run as of now there one of the deepest teams in the league coburn or mesz will be dealt but they have some young guys that can make up for that. To everyone saying how Vinny was overpaid how do u feel about Weiss filppula and clarkson do u think those guys are worth more then him ?? Noooo but there getting paid like it. Great moves by holmgren

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:02 AM

      I still think they’re lacking 2-3 defenseman before they can make a serious cup run. Streit gives them a good offensive weapon from the point but he’s -41 (-27 and -14) since the start of the 11-12 season.

  3. phillyphanatic77 - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    I agree with Holmgren that they improved the team a lot. Did they get a stud #1 goalie? No. Did they get a game-changing top-pair defenseman? No. But certainly added players that will improve their glaring weaknesses. I think they want Mason to really take the reins on the #1 job, which is why Emery was such a good pickup. Whether he’s the guy or splitting starts, he’s still a team player (unlike their last goalie). Emery will be an excellent lockerroom guy and he’s cheap.

    Lecavalier provides size down the middle and is an upgrade on Briere. The Flyers were terrible on faceoffs (outside of Giroux) which is one reason, that’s never talked about, why they gave up and failed to score so many goals. They lost plenty of defensive zone draws, which led to goals. And they lost many offensive zone draws, which prevented goals. Lecavalier and Adam Hall make them much better in the dot. And if Couturier improves in that area it will help them a great deal. Vinny also brings scoring and leadership. Meanwhile Streit provides that PP QB that was missing with Carle’s exit. He’s essentially an older Carle, which Im fine with. Holmgren also added Morin and Hagg, two potential building blocks on the blueline. So many players underachieved last season that if they just get half those guys back to form, there’s no doubt they’ll be in the playoffs. I’m very pleased with the moves and I’m positive this team will be one of the top-8 in the East. What happens after that, no one can predict.

  4. chazxcore - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    They have had a productive offseason. They cut ties with Bryz and Briere which both needed to happen for locker room issues and cap space. They drafted two big Dmen. They got a puck moving Dman which was one of the major issues of their defense last year with all the turn overs. They upgraded from Briere with Vinny. He’s bigger, younger and cheaper. He has better stats, better defense and better at faceoffs. They got a goalie who is coming off his best year for a bargain deal. May not be the long term answer but they will see. They locked up their captain and best player for the next 9 years. They signed a solid forth line center. They aren’t done. They still need to shed some money. Would have loved to have Ryan but I assume that the Ducks wanted way too much. It will be interesting to see how the defense response after basically being injured all season and a new goalie.

  5. schuckme - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    Right now the Flyers look impressively decent right now.. On paper… However I believe that will remain the case three months from now on opening night but one thing I’m a little concerned about is of course on defense which has its fair share of offensive D men but the lack of a big snarling crease clearing bulldozer which they have been searching for since prongs custard went extra creamy that might also explain their defensive selections at the draft especially their first pick Morin whose probably gonna be pushing for Chara size in a few years.. Love the goalie tandem wit mason/Emery these two guys are just gonna be really challenging each other but I think it’s Masons job to lose fully expect him to run away wit a breakout season now that he’s got a fresh clean slate (again, if you include the few games he played in Philly post trade) now that he’s out of the land of lost careers in Columbus..

    • 19to77 - Jul 6, 2013 at 3:24 AM

      Somewhere, Sergei Bobrovsky is polishing his Vezina Trophy and laughing. “Land of lost careers, indeed,” chuckles the man Holmgren thought was too poor to even be Bryzgalov’s backup.

      In seriousness, the Flyers made some big improvements in the offseason, but I’m still skeptical about that D corps – Streit’s never exactly been great in his own zone for the Isles (atwater had the truth of it – he’s -41 over the last two years) and Coburn is predictably still a Flyer since no-one wanted to take that contract. Still, having a goalie who can actually stop pucks will count for a lot. Emery won’t post numbers quite as crazy as he did in Chicago, but he’ll be way better than Spaceman Bryz.

  6. stakex - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    I think its fair to say the Flyers will be a better team next year. Thing is though, they were terrible last year… so being better doesn’t necessarily mean they will be good. Their defense hasn’t seen the major upgrade it desperately needed. Streit is a good addition, but he’s far from the silver bullet… and I don’t know if they have any prospects that will make a huge impact quite yet.

    In net, who knows what to expect from Emery/Mason. Emery had a decent years with the Blackhawks, but its worth asking if it was his play, or the play of his team, that was responsible for that. Aside from last season, Emery hasn’t had a good year in the NHL since 06-07… so he is a crap shoot. Mason on the other hand has never been able to live up to the expectations he created when he won the Calder Memorial Trophy his rookie year. He looked good in a handful of games with the Flyers last year, but it was just that… a handful of games.

    So with a still suspect defense, and two large question marks in net the Flyers are unpredictable at this point. Everything might click and they could be very dangerous…. or their defense/goaltending could collapse causing them to be bottom feeders. Its anyones guess a this point.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 6, 2013 at 2:05 AM

      As bad as they started last season, they still finished above .500. In a normal, 82-game season they would’ve made the playoffs, they just ran out of track to make up for their horrid start. It was just one of those seasons where everything goes wrong. It was a comedy of errors (although it wasn’t funny to Flyers fans). Almost every player underachieved. And even when they started rolling someone would get injured. Plus they ran their inconsistent goaltender into the ground with no backup. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have talent. Their talent just didn’t play up to their potential.

      If the young guys play like the year before, their defense plays up to their ability, and the new guys step in seamlessly, this team has a chance to be very good. Mason is unproven and has had his share of struggles, but so did Corey Crawford. Not saying the Flyers will win the Cup, but I think it’s safe to assume this club will be back in the playoffs. There’s too much talent not to.

  7. mrpinkca - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    I’m not convinced.

  8. thedavesiknowiknow - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:58 AM

    I think he meant- “I’ve turned this organization into a dumping ground for has-beens”.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 6, 2013 at 2:13 AM

      Has-beens? Emery went 17-1 last season. Streit captained a playoff team and put up 27pts as a defenseman. While Lecavalier had 32pts in 39 games and was probably the best FA forward on the market. Most experts would agree that Holmgren reeled in the top forward and defender available. Now they’re not in their prime, but they’re hardly “has-beens”.

      • fbothharbaughs - Jul 6, 2013 at 10:14 AM

        Streit was the best d-man available? & there’s a reason Emery hasn’t been a starter for some time…

      • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 6, 2013 at 2:58 PM

        Yes it was a very weak class. Who’s better? Andrew Ference? Rob Scuderi? Jeff Schultz?

    • hockeyfan28 - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:16 AM

      Well if the flyers are a dumping ground for has beens what are the 12-14 teams that wanted to sign Vinny? Including the likes of Detroit, Boston, Montreal, Toronto, and Anaheim guess welcome to the land of never was

  9. crazemastercraze - Jul 6, 2013 at 5:39 AM

    Awesome job upgrading the defense, getting under the cap and towing the company line “everything is great here in Philadelphia”. Idiot.

  10. chrisk61 - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    i think mason/emery will be sufficient in goal. they will be an upgrade from bryzgalov and importantly their teammates will RESPECT them and WANT TO PLAY for them, unlike some guys with bryzgalov.

    defense is still a question mark. coburn and maybe meszaros have to go. clear those spots. defense took a big hit with pronger injury and struggled afterward. and coburn and meszaros playing so poorly only made it worse.

    last some of the young core have to step up. in particular, couturier, b schenn and read have to have good season.

    overall i think flyers fans are feeling pretty good after the streit, lecav and emery deals.

  11. pastabelly - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    The Flyers are a long shot to make the playoffs, but chose an older guy in Vinny Lecavlier. That’s a head scratcher.

    • hockeyfan28 - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      They had winning records against 5 of the 8 playoff teams this year when they stunk including the Bruins
      If you think there is 7 other eastern conference teams that are better then Philly then you’ve been watch Pierre
      McGuire to much

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jul 6, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      The Flyers are not a longshot to make the playoffs. One bad season where everything goes wrong and suddenly we’re the California Golden Seals. This is the same core that was a top eastern conference team a little more than a year ago. They’ve added size down the middle, offensive ability on the blueline, and a stable presence in net… this team will not repeat last season’s debacle. Last season was just one of those years where the team got off to horrid start, couldn’t find any consistency, and when they’d start to pull it together someone would get hurt. And our nutjob goalie fell apart with no backup. Just ridding themselves of Bryz will improve the lockerroom, as will the addition of two former captains and Razor. I’m very confident in this roster.

  12. leafs2013 - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Still a million over the cap right now

    • greenkeeper15 - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      Pronger still has to come off , then they will be under

  13. davidpuddy720 - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    I understand why you might not be sold on Schneider due to his recent playoff performance, but he was coming off injury and is definitely the real deal. I would much rather have him than either emery/mason in net for the upcoming future. As for Streit, he is good on the PP and is def a puck mover. Much like all defenseman on the the flyers, he stinks in his own zone. Plus, he got a 4 year deal and he’s on the back 9 of his career. I would consider goalie an upgrade, but mason/emery will be real busy just about every night next season. The flyers can and prob should get into the top 8 next year; however, you win cups with defense. Until Holmgren figures this out, expect disappointment.

  14. Habib Marwan - Jul 6, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Will they add to the D anymore?? maybe be safe and pick up Hal Gill for a cheap price?

  15. modellforprez - Jul 6, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Holmgren is a Joke. just like everything about the team and city he works for and in

    • laxman1944 - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:24 PM


  16. matthewmacisaac - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Briere only played well in the playoffs (still no help on defense),so they replaced him with Vinny for $2mil less. Picked up a very solid goalie, whose style actually fits the Flyers, and wants to come to Philly. The goalie tandem costs a few million less than the starter they gave up. They picked up a decent defenseman, although he probably overpaid for him, that should make Timmonen’s retirement after this year seamless. They have their best player locked up long term and are in position to keep their talented young core intact. Yeah, these are the moves of a real idiot. This idiot made moves that should lead to a 100 point season, good playoff seed, and solid playoff team. Yeah, he really needs to be fired.

  17. officialgame - Jul 6, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    So what. My sister makes $3,000 a night without getting out of bed.

  18. bdawkins2 - Jul 6, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    That might be the best comment ever! You win the internet today.

  19. drone501 - Jul 7, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    your killing me lol

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