Soooo…this has been pretty fun eh? Not even from just the perspective of the Flyers, I mean from the league as a whole. Blockbuster trades GALORE, and some household names changing teams. I absolutely love it; this is what makes the offseason exciting and worth writing about. What a last couple days man.
Anyway, Chuck and the Flyers have been BUSY lately, and I’ve gotta be honest, I’m all here for it. Let’s start with the first one, Rasumus Ristolainen. Now, the general consensus is that the Flyers ridiculously overpaid, sending Robert Hagg, a 1st and a 2nd to Buffalo. Don’t get me wrong…they overpaid, but I don’t think it’s by as much as people think. First, Hagg is nothing more than an AHL player, so it’s not like they lost a roster player that actually contributes.
Second, this is one of the weaker drafts in recent memory, and the Flyers have a really bad history in weak drafts. I have a very strong feeling that the guy the Flyers would have taken in the first round would go the same way as players like German Rubtsov. So if the pick was going to end up being a waste, I have no problem with it going towards getting a player that can help out.
Now, I know a lot of people have commented on how Ristolainen’s play has been rather sub par lately. However, he was playing for Buffalo and they’re…well…Buffalo. He’s also had all the pressure of being on the top pair on a team that cannot seem to keep the puck out of the net, regardless of who’s on the ice. I genuinely believe that giving him a fresh start in Philly and putting him on the 2 pair behind Ryan Ellis will help rejuvenate his game, and then the Flyers have a formidable top 4 pair. Is it a little worrisome that he’s going to be a UFA next year? Yes, but let’s hope he stays.
From a cap perspective, shipping out Hagg and adding Risto’s $5.4 million cap hit does pretty much offset the amount saved from dealing Ghost. However, if Risto can play anywhere close to how the Flyers think, then it’s a big upgrade as the Flyers got bigger, and got another right handed blue liner. So at the end of the day, the trade as whole is a positive.
THEN Chuck decided he wasn’t done, and sent Jakub Voracek to Columbus in exchange for Cam Atkinson. In the words of the great Bob McKenzie, the trade is one for one. I absolutely love this trade. The last time there was a full 82 game season, Atkinson scored 40 goals. Is he going to get 40 again? Tough to say, but you got to think no just based on statistics. Either way, he’s got a phenomenal shot, and knows how to put the puck in the net. He’ll fit anywhere in the top 6, and gives either line a great goal scorer.
Another reason this is huge though, is that the Flyers give up a guy with a pass first mindset and pick up one with a shoot first mindset, something they have desperately needed for a long time. What’s even better is that it comes with some cap savings. Voracek comes with a $8.25 million cap hit while Atkinson only brings in $5.87 million. Saving money while getting a player that will help change the identity of the team for the better is always great in my book. Now the Flyers can re-sign Hart and Sanheim while adding a backup goalie. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a Voracek guy. And I still am. That being said, it appears it’s best for his career to get a fresh start in Columbus, and I wish him nothing but the best.
With the acquisition of Ellis, Risto, and Atkinson, I genuinely believe the Flyers are a better team than they were two weeks ago. I’m not over the moon about what it took to become a better team, but they are a better team and I’m excited about it. If Carter Hart can return to form, this Flyers team is actually going to be filthy. I need it to be October NOW so I can start watching this team tear up the Metro. I cannot wait.
One more thing. As always, LET’S GO FLYERS.