Flyers: 3 offseason storylines
1 Who minds the pipes?
The Flyers haven’t had a legitimate goaltender since Ron Hextall. Will they finally address this glaring need? One name to keep an eye on is Phoenix free agent Ilya Bryzgalov. He won’t be the second coming of Hextall, but his numbers are respectable — 36 wins, 2.48 GAA, seven shutouts — and the Russian can break the language barrier and play mentor to Sergei Bobrovsky, who the Flyers are still very high on.
2 Is there a failure to communicate?
Mike Richards is too quiet. Chris Pronger is irreplaceable. Peter Laviolette is wearing out his welcome. These factors have been cited as reasons for the Flyers’ collapse — 7-7-6 in their final 20 games — but don’t buy the hype. Richards and Pronger were hurt and are waiting for medical reports, while Laviolette is still the best man for the job. For this team, it all starts with being healthy and managing the cap. Here are three guys that should find new homes: Dan Carcillo, Nikolai Zherdev, Brian Boucher.
3 Sky is the limit
Rewind the tape of that all-world, Game 2 performance by James van Riemsdyk and you’ll see the future is very bright. After that OT loss, some were comparing the 22-year-old to Alex Ovechkin. JVR had seven goals in 11 playoff games, while leading the NHL in shots on goal (70). He’ll look to take it to the next level by competing with the 2011 U.S. men’s national team.