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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

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

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

 

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 3/11/14: Can you Smell?!?!?!

the rockHere’s what we’re talking about:

  • FREE AGENCY! Woo!!!!!! (0:00)
  • In a word, the Flyers are _______ (20:00)
  • Nerlens Noel, Tanking, and Inventing the NBA Wheel (28:35)
  • WWE is changing the game in media as we know it! You gotta check this out! (49:20)

Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 3-11-14

What are you talking about around the wooder cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm.

From the Bench: I Survived Three Weeks Without the Flyers

[Note from Vince: This is the first article from Flyers addict Chris Imbrogno, who will be gracing us with his hockey thoughts from time to time. As a contributor, Chris gets the privilege of doing the first installment of our contributor piece From the Bench! Give him a round of applause (in the comments…because he can’t hear you)]

 

With the end of the Olympic break and the last 23 games of the Flyers schedule looming (as well as nothing to do at lunch since I finished Game of Thrones), I wanted to write a bit about my take on how the Flyers have looked so far this season.

masonNeedless to say, the start to the season was as bleak as could be. For fans, it caused a mix of anger, disappointment, and confusion. Confusion as to how a team that manhandled one of the best teams in the league, the Pittsburgh Penqueens, in the playoffs just a short time ago could be doing so poorly.

However, the way the Flyers have turned the season around is nothing short of miraculous. I could only imagine in the first 8 games, it’s what it feels like to be a Florida Panthers fan (do they exist?). What Berube and the other coaches have done to turn this struggling team around is extremely impressive. They still have a lot of work to do, and the defense is clearly still lacking, but they’re moving in a very good direction.

Some credit for the turnaround has to go to Steve Mason. Let’s be real, Mason has stolen games for the Flyers that they’ve had no right winning. The man has surely earned the nickname Stonewall Mason.

When we first acquired Mason, watching him play excited me. It excited me to see someone who would come out of the net and play the puck. It excited me to see someone who was not only big, but extremely athletic and, at this point, he has my exceeded expectations by far.

If the offense can keep putting up the points they were generating consistently going into the break, then, paired with Mason’s play, the Flyers have a very good chance to get into the playoffs.That’s where the captain comes into play.

Read the rest of this entry

Is Steve Mason’s Extension the Right Move?

mason

Steve Mason signed a new deal with the Flyers to the tune of a 3 year 12 million dollar extension. I know Mason is a bit polarizing so I’d like to point everyone to an article Broad Street Hockey that does a great job of examining Mason’s value and what could be another blunder from the front office.

Check it out here!

 

Around the Cooler 10/16/13: Dallas week!

Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • Nick Foles was beastly against the Bucs. But is he the right quarterback for the rest of the season? Also, it’s Dallas week! (0:00)
  • We’re talking the Flyers coaching change and the team’s abysmal record, Holmgren’s hot seat, Hextall, and a surprisingly good start from Steve Mason. (21:30)

Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 10-16-13

What are you talking about around the water cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm.

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