Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Knuble to Caps

Perhaps the most steady, unassuming Flyer of the past four years, Mike Knuble, is now a Washington Capital.

Knuble signed a 2-year contract to join Alexander Ovechkin in the nation's capital worth $2.8 million per year. I feel the way I'm sure every Flyers fan is feeling today — sad to see Knuble go. In his four years in Philadelphia, Knuble played the best hockey of his career, coming out blazing in 2005-06 with 34 goals and 31 assists and scoring at least 10 power play goals each season in the Orange and Black (13, 10,15, 11).

His departure will surely be felt. Knuble was a mainstay in front of the net, playing the role John LeClair perfected in the 90s for the Flyers. He was a hard-nosed player, great locker room guy and he really seemed to enjoy playing for Philadelphia. But with the acquisition of Chris Pronger bringing more money into the fold, Knuble, who really wanted to come back to the Flyers, knew the money probably wouldn't be available for him to return. At 37, he needed to get the best deal in the best situation possible. He did, joining another elite Eastern Conference team, a team the Flyers will see plenty of next season.

As currently constructed, the Flyers have a pretty solid team, but there are holes to fill. First, they need a backup netminder, and after that, they desperately need a strong face-off guy. And now, it wouldn't hurt to find another player who can step in to fill the void Knuble's departure has left. Although with the team already dangerously close to the salary cap, finding room for three more players won't be easy.

Looking at the roster right now, it should be interesting to see what John Stevens does with his lines. Of course, there will be more changes to come, but it looks like the door is wide open for James van Riemsdyk to be a part of the Flyers' plans in 2009-10. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Update: The Flyers signed Brian Boucher to a 2-year, $900,000 per year contract.

I like this move a lot. I was at the playoff game in Jersey where Boucher made that incredible save as his helmet went flying. Glad to have him back. Solid backup netminder who can start for stretches if Ray Emery goes nuts again.

BallHype: hype it up!

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