Free-agent winger Chad LaRose re-signed with Carolina Thursday _ and that wasn’t good news for the Flyers.
LaRose scored 19 goals last season and had looked like he would be a nice fit for the Flyers. He was relatively inexpensive and would have given the Flyers some needed scoring punch at right wing, a position that has been decimated by the departure of Mike Knuble (27 goals last year) and Joffrey Lupul (25).
GM Paul Holmgren is still investigating the thinning free-agent market.
As it stands, some of the Flyers’ lines have been weakened because their projected right wingers scored a combined 27 goals last year _ the same total as Knuble, who signed with Washington.
Though it could change, it’s possible the right wingers will be Ian Laperriere (7 goals last year), converted center Danny Briere (11 in an injury-plagued season) Arron Asham (8) Andreas Nodl (1).
LaRose signed a two-year deal for $1.7 million per season; the Flyers have about $2.3 million in cap space, so they would have been able to sign LaRose.
Without Knuble and Lupul, the Flyers’ lines will look drastically different. Coach John Stevens has lots of options and will probably try numerous combinations. Here is how they might look:
1. Gagne-Giroux-Briere _ The Flyers’ version of the French Connection. Could be sensational.
2. Hartnell-Carter-Laperriere _ Lappy replaces Lupul.
3. Carcillo-Richards-Asham _ The CAR Line is loaded with scrappy, hard-working players. But would Carcillo and Asham be good enough finishers to work with Richards?
4. Cote/van Riemsdyk-Powe-Nodl/Kalinski _ Cote’s roster spot could be in jeopardy. Jared Ross could also fit into the mix.
The defensive pairings could look like this:
Timonen-Coburn _ Will they be reunited?
Pronger-Carle _ Carle supplies the speed, Pronger the physicality.
Parent-Jones _ Would be a good duo if Jones has recovered from hip problems.
Send me the lines and pairings you think would be the most effective.
In Friday’s Inquirer, Flyers chairman Ed Snider tells why the Flyers mortgaged the future to acquire Pronger, who is expected to help give the Flyers one of the league's top defenses.