Finland Wins World Championship
On Sunday, May 26 the World Championships wrapped up with a rather shocking conclusion. Team Finland upset Team Canada in the Final to win their third gold medal in the tournament’s history. Led by 18-year-old phenom Kaapo Kakko, veteran captain Marko Anttila and Chicago Blackhawks goaltender prospect Kevin Lankinen, the Fins beat the Canadians 3-1 in the gold medal game. Russia finished in third place, beating Team Czech Republic in a shootout.
Flyers lighting it up at World Championships
There were nine Flyers representing five different countries over at the IIHF world championships in Slovakia this year.
The tournament concluded Sunday May 26th with Finland defeating Team Canada by a score of 3-1. Newly acquired Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault was behind the bench for the Canadians. It seems he has no problem getting to the big game, but he can never seem to win it. Let’s hope that ends here in Philly.
Now to grade the Flyers who represented their respective countries.
Jake Voracek – Czech Republic
Jake put up the best numbers in the tournament compared to the other Flyers, but it wasn’t enough to help his team get far. In 10 games played he had four goals and 12 assists. He was also a +12.
Radko Gudas – Czech Republic
Gudas had a great goal from the red line in the tournament, that’s right the RED line. Other than that he had a rather quiet performance with one goal and three assists in 10 games played. He was a +10
JVR – USA
JVR didn’t have his best tournament, considering he was on a line with Jack Hughes and Alex DeBrincat. In JVR’s defense neither were on their top game either, in fact Hughes may have hurt his draft value. JVR ended the tournament with two goals and three assists in eight games played.
Robert Haag – Sweden
Hagg had a bad tournament and didn’t crack the scoresheet. However it was a good experience for him.
Oscar Lindblom – Sweden
Lindblom had a productive tournament with three goals and one assist. He also visited the sin bin more than any Flyer with 12 penalty minutes.
Michael Raffl – Austria
Raffl was a big surprise in the tournament in my opinion. I feel he really took the experience to the next level for himself, which will help him grow going forward. In six games played he had four goals. He was also a -5 but then again he was playing for Team Austria.
Sean Couturier – Canada
He had originally told his new head coach, and head coach of Canada, Vigneault that he would play defense if needed. However he played his normal forward position and had ok numbers in 10 games played with one goal and three assists.
Philippe Myers – Canada
He was a late add to the team but in seven games played he had one assist and four penalty minutes.
Carter Hart competed for Team Canada as a backup goalie behind Matt Murray but did not play. All in all he has experienced a lot in his young career.
The Flyers combined for 15 goals and 23 assists in the tournament, and our new head coach came close to winning the gold. Let’s not hope “oh so close” is not something we get used to with the Flyers and their new head coach.
By: Kevin Thaete (@bigkt23)
Phil Kessel Trade Rumors
As the playoffs drag on and summer is on the horizon, there is usually a lull in juicy trade rumors around the NHL this time of year. That changed last week when rumors emerged out of Pittsburgh that the Penguins are shopping forward Phil Kessel. The early rumor was that they were looking to deal him to the Minnesota Wild along with defenseman Jack Johnson for a package involving Jason Zucker. Then word was Kessel vetoed that trade stating the Wild were not legitimate contenders. The Penguins probably realize that their Stanley Cup window is starting to close and are desperate to keep it open as long as possible. Kessel has three years left on his current deal paying him $8 million a season.
Now, I’m not saying it is likely, but I referenced a trade rumor in a BPW a few weeks ago involving Jake Voracek that would see him dealt to Nashville for PK Subban. If that trade became reality, they could then swing a deal with the Penguins to acquire Phil Kessel and it’d be an improvement all around. Kessel is on a cheaper, shorter contract than Voracek, plus the Flyers still get a top d-man in Subban for a few years as well.
This would mean both of their contracts would expire in the summer of 2022. This should keep the Flyers competitive in the short term and also give time for the top prospects to get their feet wet at the NHL level without having to carry the full offensive load yet.
Kessel is making $250,000 less than Voracek for two less years, plus the addition of Subban for three seasons at a $9 million cap hit, which would be less than paying a top defenseman in free agency this summer, would be a way of adding two top guys without long term, big money commitments. This could be just the spark the Flyers need to turn the corner and start winning some hockey games, and wacky string of moves Fletcher needs to assert his dominance as the GM in Philly.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)