By Ryan Gilbert @RiskyBryzness on August 22, 2014
After an early playoff exit for the Philadelphia Flyers, there were many questions to be answered. The 2014 NHL offseason helped answer a few of the questions for the Flyers. These moves changed the direction of the team and perhaps the franchise.
The Philadelphia Flyers re-sign backup goalie Ray Emery to a one-year contract on July 1. This move by the Flyers showed that they were satisfied with the result of the goalie competition last year. Emery helped push Steve Mason to the limits, forcing him to be the best he could be. Emery also supplied plenty of heart and toughness, shown by his season-changing fight on November 1, 2013 against the Washington Capitals.
Drafting three defensemen just goes to show how the Flyers' focus is shifting from offense and scoring goals to defense and goaltending in the new NHL. The Flyers used their first, third and sixth picks to draft Travis Sanhiem, Mark Friedman and Jesper Pettersson. The Flyers currently have a great offensive core and with these new defensive prospects they are looking to become a complete team in a few short years.
The Philadelphia Flyers trade Scott Hartnell to the Columbus Blue Jackets for RJ Umberger. This trade was one of the biggest trades of the whole NHL this offseason, and not just for the Flyers. After a disappointing season, the Flyers' upper management wanted to bring in more speed and get rid of expendable players. Not only does this move help the Flyers in the skating department, but for salary cap reasons as well.
The news of Kimmo Timonen's injury hit the Flyers hard. Kimmo Timonen is one of the most underrated defensemen in the game and a cornerstone for the Flyers. With Timonen out indefinitely, the Flyers signed Michael Del Zotto in an attempt to put together some sort of defensive corps. Timonen was already thinking about retirement and this might push him to it. It is important to think about Kimmo Timonen the person, not the hockey player.
The change in the upper ranks was a direct result of the Philadelphia Flyers' failures over the past couple of seasons. Upper management could not have been happy with the team’s performance this past year or in the last few recent years. Ron Hextall helped build a Stanley Cup winning team in Los Angeles and the Flyers hope he will do the same in Philadelphia.
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