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Welcome to the Free Agency Midnight Bonanza!

Hextall will be overseeing his first free agency as a GM

Hextall will be overseeing his first free agency as a GM

Yes, folks, the NBA and NHL free agency periods begin tonight at midnight and noon respectively and Twitter may very well implode as a result.

In general, the start of free agency is so much fun because it’s the closest you get to fan fiction. Among tonight’s story lines you’ll most likely see things like “Carmelo has great talks with Bulls—looking like frontrunner”, “Nashville aggressively pursuing Paul Stastny” and “LeBron James kidnapped by Cleveland, brainwashing inevitable.” There’s so much hope and chaos that it’s nearly impossible to not get sucked in as fans bases live and die by the second, breathless as their teams negotiate with the next franchise savior.

However, as much as LeBron coming to Philly makes sense in my untidy bubble, it’s not going to happen. Nor are the Flyers making any big signings until they can unload Vinny LeCavalier. Instead, the Sixers and Flyers will follow the stars a different way—as scavengers rather than suitors. It’s not glamorous, but it’s for the best.

Let’s start with the Flyers. First off, they’re the only team in the league that is currently over the salary cap. Now, while that’s not illegal at this point of the year it matters in a few months. They’re going to need to reduce salary eventually and throwing lots of money at star players is not going to do that. Plus, Ron Hextall has made it abundantly clear with the Scott Harntell move that the Flyers will be more cap conscious moving forward. There’s young talent on this roster that needs to be cultivated and signed-long term.

So, what moves will they make? Back-up goaltender is the most likely position for the team to make noise with, which in itself suggests that they’ll be dull. In addition to Ray Emery, who backed up for the Flyers last year, Jonas Hiller, Thomas Greiss and a whole slew of others will be available to back up Steve Mason. As we discovered during Mason’s playoff absence, back-up netminders matter.

Outside of that, the Flyers could throw some shit at the wall for 4th line forwards and camp fodder defensemen. Offensively they have too many forwards as is which is in part why LeCavalier has been such a disaster. They’ve also got six defensemen under contract for this upcoming season including Andrew MacDonald, who the team signed through 2020, and Kimmo Timonen’s 39 year-old bag of bones. If they resign restricted free agent Erik Gustafsson then they’re really reaching for talent.

Given the team’s mission to unload LeCavalier and his salary, the Flyers will be waiting for the market on centers to thin out so that a team like Nashville returns to the bargaining table. That is far and away the Flyers top priority heading into this free agency period. Get it done, Hexy.

Sam Hinkie

He’s reading your mind right now…and laughing

For the Sixers, they’re in a tough boat as well with signing players. Specifically, they’re so appallingly bad that even Brett Brown has admitted that no one wants to come here. If the Sixers were to bring any players aboard, they’d have to grossly overpay for their services. Given Sam Hinkie’s track record, there’s better odds that you’re bitten by Luis Suarez.

What the Sixers will do is continue to buy low on players with potential (a la James Anderson last year) and try to work their way into three team deals. The free agent frenzy that GMs are in has hit an all time high as LeBron, Carmelo, Kevin Love, and more could be had. The Sixers conveniently pay bottom dollar and would be able to absorb any and all bad contracts in exchange for picks, projects, and a misfits like Tony Wroten. So while the Sixers won’t be involved in any major rumors, you can guarantee they’ll be sniffing around them.

At this point, the best fit and most commonly tossed around name will be Chandler Parsons of the Rockets. Parsons is a young, talented swingman that has connections with Hinkie from Houston and is likely to be shipped out of town if the Rockets can land a star to compliment Dwight Howard and James Harden. At 26, Parsons length, shooting ability, and likely reasonable contract from a sign-and-trade makes too much sense to ignore. His name will pop up frequently.

But like I said earlier, the Sixers have more cash than Scrooge McDuck so I’m going to dream for now too….#LeBronToBrotherlyLove

 

Around the Cooler 6/29/14: Tip Not Included

Payton MCWHere’s what we’re talking about:

  • NBA insider Derek Bodner stops in to talk Sixers draft with us.
  • The Flyers hosted a draft too! How much do we like Hextall so far?
  • Cab fares, tipping, and the Wooder Cooler wooder cooler

Follow us on our iTunes Stream, Right Click to Download, or play on your mobile device!

What are you talking about around the Wooder Cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Theme done by the amazing Matt Schwalm

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Follow our crew: @ItsVnceQuinn     @BoydOnSports    @Turtle94     and Special Guest  @DerekBodnerNBA

 

Broken Up From Trading Hartnell? Nah.

So long, Hartsy

So long, Hartsy

Scotty Hartnell has been dealt to Columbus for R.J. Umberger and a 4th round draft pick in 2015. It was a surprising move, something most fans didn’t expect to see, but I’m certainly not too broken up about it.

Hartnell was frustrating to watch because he performed well during his tenure, but was very inconsistent. That is not the type of play you need from a top-line winger. You also have to consider that his lack of skating ability made him a liability on the ice and that he often let his emotions get the best of him, which led to costly and unnecessary mental errors.

As a result, I think Hartnell would have been better suited as a third line winger. In that case, he would have complemented Matt Read and Sean Coutourier instead of bearing the responsibility of a top line containing two of the most talented forwards in the league.

Interestingly enough, it’s been said that Umberger is the same player as Hartnell, but with less skill. I’m not sure how that can be said when he’s so much more versatile than Hartnell. I think a more fair comparison would be a player like Max Talbot, but with more talent. He can play any forward position, and, more importantly, he can play the penalty kill. With the likely departure of Adam Hall, Umberger will probably fill that role as a defensive forward on the PK to support Giroux, Coots, and Read.

In the long run, the Flyers shaved two years of salary and added a draft pick, which makes the move more appealing. When Umber’s contract expires in 2016 Brayden Schenn, Coutourier, and Michael Raffl will be free agents. Not to mention we have young guys that will be playing for the Orange and Black in the next few years that hopefully develop into solid NHL players—guys like Scott Laughton, Sam Morin, and Shane Gostisbehere.

Hextall said from the start that his goal was to build the team with young talent through the draft and player development. This move fits that mentality and puts us in a better place to build a long-term contender.

Overall, it’s worth it.

Around the Cooler 6/8/14: African American Studies

McCantsHere’s what we’re talking about:

  • Rashad McCants and educating college athletes
  • The Phillies draft, Ken Giles, and the basement of the MLB
  • A Fan Question, the Cup, the NBA Finals, and team dynamics.

Follow us on our iTunes Stream, Right Click to Download, or play on your mobile device!

What are you talking about around the Wooder Cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Theme done by the amazing Matt Schwalm

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Follow us on Twitter: @TheWooderCooler

Follow our crew: @ThePartyLobster     @Dj_Raydio    @Turtle94WIP

 

Want to See Every Flyers Pairing from This Year?

Giroux could win the Hart (USA TODAY IMAGE)

 (USA TODAY IMAGE)

Then you’ve gotta check out this article over at Broad Street Hockey! They have a breakdown of every offensive and defensive pairing for your viewing pleasure and it’s absolutely fantastic!

Some quick takeways:

  • Assuming Kimmo Timonen is retiring, the likely top pairing of Braydon Coburn and Mark Streit played a total of 39 shifts together.
  • The top line of Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek was better with Michael Raffl than with Scott Hartnell.
  • I may get fired from my job for staring at this list all day

Flyers Gettin’ Hexy with New GM

Am I winking? I can't tell. It's hard.

Am I winking? I can’t tell. It’s hard.

Because this is the Flyers and of course, Paul Holmgren has been promoted. However, it’s not to award Holmgren but to promote Ron Hextall to GM.

While Hextall is well-respected, the main concern is that Holmgren is still with the team and Ed Snider isn’t getting enough marlocks to live forever. Nothing is going to change until Snyder dies. I don’t buy it.

Teams wanted to get hot and heavy with Hexy and the Flyers knew it. Vancouver and Washington specifically were mentioned as teams that were possible destinations for the former Flyers goaltender.

However, he worked with Holmgren and Snyder this year. He lived through a season that included major free agent signings and the firing of a coach. He’s aware of what he’s getting himself in to. So why would Hextall—a man in demand—settle for a job where he’s constantly overridden by upper management when he could have total freedom somewhere else?

So, assuming that Hextall will actually have say over the team what is there to expect?

Primarily, Hextall is known for his role in building the LA Kings into a winner with the help of guys that Holmgren traded away. Now he’ll bring a development-based mindset to an organization that took pride in annually rubbing their junk on antique lamps in hopes of finding a genie.

What does that mean in non-disturbing terms? I’ll explain!

Remember trading James van Riemsdyk? Remember all of the trade rumors surrounding Brayden Schenn, Sean Coutourier, and Scott Laughton? Those are done. This team will build up with their youth instead of adding players in their 30’s and hoping for the best.

It’s a new direction for the Flyers, which is all you could ask for.

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Around the Cooler 5/4/14: Lint Rollers

nfl_draft_14

High expectations, young kids.

Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • What character concerns mean during the draft, and how that impacts the Eagles
  • Paul Holmgren and Ron Hextall’s relationship
  • We try some new segments–you’ll have to see for yourself!
  • The NBA playoffs

Follow us on our iTunes Stream, Right Click to Download, or play on your mobile device!

What are you talking about around the Wooder Cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

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Follow us on Twitter: @TheWooderCooler

Follow our crew: @VQuinn_TWC     @Dj_Raydio    Special guest: @CaesarGramenzi

 

Steve Mason and Sisyphus: A Story of Impossible Odds

steve-mason-nhlThe dark clouds have gathered in Philadelphia as the Flyers return home with a 3-2 deficit to the rival New York Rangers. The captain has performed poorly, the team seems out of sync, and my arm makes this weird clicking sound when I move it. It’s getting ugly.

So what will it take for the Flyers to sneak into the next round? Steve Mason.

Yes, the Flyers goaltender, who had a fantastic game four in which he allowed one goal in 38 shots, is going to need to repeat that performance two more times in two consecutive nights for the Flyers to win this series.

Why? Because at this point in the series I feel as though the effort is there, but the Flyers are struggling to truly figure out the Rangers scheme and get quality chances. I just don’t buy any offensive explosion unless the Flyers get a high number of power plays (and even then…).

So basically, I don’t think that the Flyers odds of pulling this off are great. But if Craig Berube hopes to make it to the next round, that’s the most likely scenario. What do you think?

 

 

Around the Cooler 4/27/14: Movin’ On Up!

Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

Donald Sterling and his arm candy

Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • The Flyers’ playoff hopes are growing dim. Can they pull it off?
  • What’s truly the best time of the year in sports?
  • Just how bad is this Donald Sterling situation?

Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 4-27-14

What are you talking about around the Wooder Cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

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Follow us on Twitter: @TheWooderCooler

Follow our crew: @VQuinn_TWC     @Dj_Raydio     @Turtle94

 

Flyers make 2 key signings hours apart

The Flyers made some noise today just before the playoffs begin on Thursday in New York.

First, they extended pending free agent, Andrew MacDonald to hefty new deal. Reportedly worth 30 million over a 6 year span. The 27-year old was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The second move made came just moments ago.

After speculation about him returning for his Senior year, Union defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, signed his entry-level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. Gostisbehere will report to the Phantoms this coming weekend.

The signing comes a few days after Gostisbehere’s monster performance in the NCAA National Championship against Minnesota. Posting a +7, a goal and two assists in the 7-4 victory.

What are your thoughts on the signings Flyers fans? Overall positive?

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