Five questions that remain for the new-look Flyers


Thursday, June 23, 2011
Posted: 5:48 p.m.Updated: 8:58 p.m.

Wow, what a day in Flyerdom. When your head stops spinning for a second, take some time to ponder these five questions that remain unanswered:

1. What are the Flyers going to do with their new cap room?
The Flyers just spent 51 million to lock up Ilya Bryzgalov for most of the next decade, but they saved more than 100 million long-term by trading Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. The top unrestricted free agent on the market is Stars center Brad Richards, who had 28 goals and 49 assists last season and is a former Conn Smythe winner with the Lightning in 2004. Some of the Flyers money will likely be spent on Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracekboth of whom were acquired in Thursdays deals and are set to become restricted free agents on July 1. And of course Ville Leino figures to be a high priority for Paul Holmgren. Leino, an unrestricted free agent-to-be, had 19 goals and 34 assists last season.
2. Who is going to be the new captain?

Update: Sources tell that Chris Pronger will be the next captain of the Flyers.

The answer almost certainly will be Chris Pronger, right? Other candidates are Kimmo Timonen and Danny Briere, but Pronger seems like the obvious choice. Pronger was an alternate captain with the Flyers last season and served as captain for the Blues from 1997-2003 and also with the Ducks later in his career. And as far as many Flyers pundits are concerned, Pronger was basically the captain the last two seasons anyway.

3. Are the Flyers done dealing?
There have been rumors of Scott Hartnell and, more recently, Kris Versteeg being dealt in the last week. Other names have been floated around, as well. And what about Sergei Bobrovsky? What is his future in Philly? The Flyers certainly dont need to clear any more cap space, but anytime a team trades two of its five best players in between lunch and dinner, its fair to assume that anything is possible from that point on.

4. Can Bryzgalov live up to the contract?
Ilya Bryzgalov has the worldnot to mention the Flyers Stanley Cup hopeson his shoulders. Youd have to think that if he leads the Flyers to a championship at any point during the next nine years, hed be worth the money. But given the goalie nightmare that the team endured in this past postseason (and in many, many postseasons before that), all eyes will be on Bryzgalov for the next decade. Or at least until he wins the Cup.

5. Are the Flyers better today than they were yesterday?
Right now, its hard to say yes. But of course, so much depends on what they do with their remaining cap space, not to mention how they employ their draft picks this weekend. Some would say the Flyers needed to get a little bit younger, though the cap flexibility is the much bigger issue. Also, theres a likelihood that the team will benefit from having a true, vocal leader with the C on his jersey. From a leadership standpoint, the team will be turned over to Pronger and Timonen. And from a first-line standpoint, its Claude Girouxs show. And that might be the best news of all.
Related: A look at the three players acquired by the FlyersFlyers trade Carter & Richards, then sign Bryzgalov

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