Second station for the August 12 STH Town Hall for me was General Manager Paul Holmgren. Homer started out by saying missing the playoffs was disappointing. That he still believes anything can happen once you get in.
Mostly he just answered questions about personnel, which makes a great deal more sense than asking President Luukko about personnel.
He said bringing back Ray Emery is a good addition.
And Vincent Lecavalier kind of dropped out of the sky for the Flyers.
He’s excited about the young players and the overall health of the team moving into the season. He believes health will repair more of last season’s woes than will Mark Streit. But addition of Streit will help the power play and generate attack, just what the Flyers needed. The Flyers defensemen are good and the addition of Streit just makes them better.
When questioned about Andrej Meszaros he said he’s 27 and just went through a rough patch of injuries.
Lecavalier is going to fall in behind Cluade Giroux at center and will be a huge factor in the development of both Giroux and Braydon Schenn.
Laughton’s status is wait and see. If he makes the club, it’s great, but if he can’t he’ll go back to junior. If he plays one game it eats a year of his contract.
On defense, you can never have too many defenders.
On offense, it is easy to switch position. You need as many scorers as you can get in order to advance.
To say Cousins or other young players are ready to play every day is a stretch.
On Simon Gagne, the Flyers won’t do anything this summer. If you had $30 million right now you could get a lot of good players at a good price. But the cap decrease to $180 million out of play in the league. The Flyers are talking with Gagne and his agent weekly and it will likely be a timing thing.
Extending an offer sheet is, “Out of the question.”
The team starts the season with a lot of angry players, which is not a bad thing. They want to make amends for last season.
Sean Couturier is a good young player who had an off year and will improve.
He’s not holding his breath about Chris Pronger playing again. He won’t play again. His health even gets in the way of other things the Flyers want him to do. Pronger would like to do more, but he still suffers from some bad spells.
The Flyers plan to let the current group mature and develop here. The core of players has been identified and the team is trying to keep them together.
As far as competitiveness is concerned, the gap between top and bottom teams continues to contract. There are some teams that look stronger than the Flyers on paper, but a lot can happen.
At goaltender he likes the Flyers’ situation. Ray is an older experienced guy. He was really good for the Flyers the first time around until he had “that horrific injury.” To do what he is doing is terrific.
He said Steve Mason got “fat in his head” after his early success. But he’s lean and athletic. He and Emery have worked out together and built a good relationship.
Eric Wellwood is not doing well and it not expected to play until January.
Max Talbot will be ready to go.
Hextall started August 5. He is not yet familiar with a lot of the Flyers players. Once he’s moved here he’ll be in charge of the minor league team and player development.
Eric Gustavson played tremendous down the stretch. Then he played the most minutes of any guy in the World Championships and he flourished. Homer was glad to re-sign him but wishes it had been for more than a year.
As for who plays where during the season, the players decide (with their play) where they fit in.
Asked how he felt about buying out Danny Briere he said it was very hard to let him go. “I cried,” Homer said, and when the crowd laughed, he said, “No, I really did.”
Asked about the Coburn to Edmonton rumor he deadpanned, “Probably not gonna happen.” Then he said he had no idea where that rumor came from.