• July 2, 2022

So Far, It Looks Like Flyers GM Paul Holmgren Was Right

Is Flyers GM Paul Holmgren a genius? The new additions and familiar faces are coming together much faster than most of us could have imagined. The Philadelphia Flyers are off to a 3-0-0 start for the eleventh time in franchise history.

The chemistry of the team is definitely making Holmgren look like a genius in this early portion of the season. Most fans and even some players thought it would take at least 20 to 30 games to establish that chemistry with all the new faces on the roster. It looks like this team has been playing together a lot longer than just one month.

The new faces have stepped up and delivered early on. Jake Voracek and Sean Couturier, who were acquired in the Jeff Carter deal, are playing major roles on both the power play and the penalty kill. Voracek is playing on the second power-play unit with forwards Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk. He has two goals in the three games, but both were when the team was at even strength.

Couturier is logging major minutes killing penalties along with free agent Max Talbot. Wayne Simmonds, acquired in the Mike Richards trade, has a goal and an assist. He is playing on the first power-play unit with Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr. Simmonds is the big body in front of the net that the orange and black lacked on last year’s power play.

Jaromir Jagr, who was acquired in free agency, had been out of the NHL for three years. The chemistry between him and Claude Giroux is something special to watch, and Jagr sure doesn’t look like he’s missed a beat yet.
The two young guys that are now the faces of the franchise have also stepped up their game. They are living up to the high expectations placed on them by the fans and the organization.

Those guys are Jagr’s linemates, Giroux and James van Riemsdyk. JVR is playing more on the power play this year, but as a forward, not on the point like last year. He has one goal and one assist, while Giroux has a total of five points and has scored a goal in each of the team’s first three games.

Ilya Bryzgalov, the best free-agent goalie available in the off season, has done his job. He makes the saves that need to be made as well as some of the more spectacular saves. The Flyers finally have a legitimate number one goaltender, who is proving he’s worth the money.

It’s early in the season and only time will tell if Holmgren was really a genius in making the moves he did in the offseason. It looks like the trades and free-agent signings are paying off right now.

Kate Formica

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  • No doubt Kate that the Flyers are off a Great Start, but the NHL is a very long season (too long I believe) and the 1st 50-60 games are merely that, just regular season hockey.. Let’s see how the Flyers are looking and playing in late Feb/March as they tune up for a deep Stanly Cup run… 2 weeks into a 6 Month Season is not a time to make any definitive analysis of anything other than the Flyers look good out of the gate but Holmgrem does appear to have made some good moves and I think most fans felt that the Locker room last year wasn’t right all season and that many players & coaches did not particularly care for Richards/Carter as percieved leaders.. This is about as good as Start as the Flyers could have hoped for but in 2-3 months time, no one is going to probably even remember how they played out of the gate.. A nice article from you and keep it up… ..

  • The start has been very good, but this team has not remotely peaked in their “game” having not yet developed the identify of who they are. The young guys have helped so much because they see the importance of defense and taking care of their own end. I see a more “quiet” humble and diligent attitude with these new & younger ones, right now. Holmgren was careful in filling holes with character guys, ones who lead by example: Jagr, Lilja and Talbot, and continued to bring in promising youth. Having beaten the Cup champ and the other finalist, along with perennial Devil rival, all during opening night ceremonies in emotionially-charged atmospheres, speaks highly to the composure this team has shown so far. Wouldn’t call Holmgren a genius but one has to remember the Holmgren who played with the likes of Clarke, Barber, Watson, McLeish, Leach, Kindrachuk, Van Impe, the Hound, Schultz, Parent, etc and though he himself without great talent, knew that a team that stuck together and played their hearts out for 60min could achieve an awful lot. He played in two Cup finals so he’s still got a raging fire in his belly to see this team get one even though not able to suit up himself. There was nobody who gave more for the Flyers as a player than Holmgren… one of my favorites of all time. And incredibly gritty, determined player, who as GM will stop at nothing to get the right mix together! It’s still the pitbull nature of Paul you see, more than genius.

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