Flyers: Readers Questions

By HF Staff

Here are all the questions that were submitted by the readers here at Hockey’s Future.

Q-I’ve been asking about Drozdetsky for weeks, but I have never got a reply. I would like to know as much as possible about him. Let the info flow…

Bill Meltzer- Drozdetsky is very skilled across the board but he still desperately needs to get stronger physically. He also needs to take his game to the next level offensively. At this point, he’s a project in terms of being a potential impact NHLer but he’s still got a good upside. Inge Hammarström’s “next Igor Larionov” prediction was probably a little overstated but there’s still time for Drozdetsky to really take off.

Al Alven- I’ve always viewed Drozdetsky as an intriguing prospect, but the level of interest he seems to generate (particularly from the internet hockey/Flyers community), never ceases to amaze me. Hands down, he is the Flyers’ prospect I get asked about most. He’s one of those guys who has tremendous skills, but it’s hard to predict whether or not he’ll ever become a complete enough player to make an impact in the NHL. First and foremost, it’s important to remember that he’s just 20 years old. The Flyers really want to see him add some weight and muscle to his thin frame, but he is young, and still may grow into his body. Drozdetsky has all the tools – he’s an awesome skater, possesses great ice vision and has very soft hands – but he needs to start producing more in the offensive stat columns. In three Russian Hockey League seasons, he has only 15 goals in 114 games. Granted, he is a young player who is just now beginning to receive significant amounts of ice-time, but sooner or later, he has to make a statement. Early indications are that this could be the year. Through nine games this season, Drozdetsky leads CSKA Moscow in goals with seven (he also has one assist). Word is that he is also working very hard to become a more complete, all-around player and is paying closer attention to the defensive aspects of the game. These are all good signs, and it’ll be interesting to see if Drozdetsky can maintain his early season pace throughout the season. Whether he does or not, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at the Flyers’ 2003-04 training camp. I still think he’s actually a year or two away from playing over here, but a brief cameo before the start of next season is not out of the question.

Jim Segrest- Drozdetsky is a high risk high reward type prospect, he is still very much a project because he will need to put on weight to play professional hockey in North America. But if he puts on weight without hurting his skating and works on his defensive play he is a future top 2 line winger. If Drozdetsky lives up to his potential I could see him as a Demitra/Schastlivy type winger.

Q- I have a question about Pavel Brendl. Is he actually a potential superstar, or will he be very lucky to stick on teams’ second line. In your opionions, will Brendl ever score 50 goals?
David Klann

BM- I tend to make conservative predictions. 50 goal scorers are extremely rare nowadays. If Brendl could get 25 a year, he’ll justify having a job in the NHL. Potential superstar? I don’t think he skates well enough to be a superstar. But with the right linemates, Brendl could be a 50 point a year player if he works hard enough.

AA- No, I don’t think Brendl will develop into an NHL superstar, nor do I think he will ever get anywhere near 50 goals in a season. I’ve been watching him closely since his junior days with the Calgary Hitmen, and the fact of the matter is that he is still the same lazy, underachieving player he was four years ago. Even when he was putting up monster numbers in the WHL, Brendl was getting by on skill alone. He wasn’t very interested in playing defense, digging for pucks in the corner or even keeping himself in top shape. Quite honestly, he didn’t have to do those things to be successful there. Now, I don’t know whether he developed some of his lazy habits in Calgary, or if he brought them with him from the Czech Republic. Either way, he has shown very little dedication to making himself a better player with the Flyers organization. He arrived at training camp in shape for the first time this year, but (not surprisingly), he started slacking off after a strong start. The guy is literally giving poor Ken Hitchcock fits. The Flyers’ coach sees the potential Brendl has and desperately wants him to be a big part of this team. It’s really frustrating because prospects with his level of talent simply don’t come along very often. He’s practically overflowing with offensive skill, but just doesn’t seem to be dedicated enough to make himself any better.

JS- Pavel will never score 50 Goals in the NHL, at this point I have serious doubts Brendl will ever become a legit scoring line player in the NHL. Brendl has no ability to create scoring chances on his own, if he does make it as a scoring line forward he is going to need to be paired with a very good playmaking center to take advantage of his sniper shooting ability.

Q- Is Antero Niittymaki really the goalie of the future?

BM- Too soon to tell. Give him a season of pro hockey in North America. However, he brings over very impressive credentials and comes from a top-notch development program.

AA- Given the Flyers’ recent track record with their “goalies of the future” (i.e. Brian Boucher, Jean-Marc Pelletier, Maxime Ouellet), I’d have serious reservations about counting on Niittymaki to one day become the team’s starter. Then again, having dealt away so many prospects in such a short time, maybe the organization will finally get serious about hanging onto one. The question then becomes, “Is Niittymaki good enough?” He proved himself to be a quality starter in the Finnish Elite League with TPS Turku, so the AHL is the next logical step. He has qualities that suggest he could be a future NHLer, but we won’t have an idea about his standing as a prospect in the organization until he completes a full season with the Phantoms.

JS- I believe it is very possible he could be the goalie of the future but it is too early to say. Wait till after he gets his first season of Professional North American hockey under his belt before you burden him the with the Goalie of the Future title.

Q- Will there be any more foward prospects brought in?

AA- The only prospects that will see time with the organization this season are the ones who are already here. Obviously, Pavel Brendl, Patrick Sharp, Radovan Somik and Dennis Seidenberg will start the season with the big club. I would also expect current Phantoms Guillaume Lefebvre and Bruno St. Jacques make at least cameo appearances as well. Beyond that, there really isn’t much out there for the Flyers to choose from at the current time.

Q- Why was Pletka released and not traded?

BM- He wasn’t released. He was sent home. Technically, he’s still Flyers property.

AA- Technically, the organization still owns Pletka’s rights. He went back to the Czech Republic after his falling out with the organization last year and, apparently, he’s staying there. I suspect that if some other NHL team really had an interest in Pletka, Bob Clarke would have pedaled him off in a heartbeat. That didn’t happen, and it’s really no surprise. Though Pletka showed some skill in his two seasons with the Phantoms, he did a lot more complaining than he ever had any right to. He was always upset that he never made the Flyers’ roster, but he just wasn’t willing to earn a spot the old fashioned way. He simply wanted it to be handed to him.

Q- Will Divisek be traded?

AA- Divisek signed with Pardubice of the Czech Extraleague in July and, thus, isn’t even on the continent at the current time. Again, much like Pletka’s situation, if another NHL team had interest in Divisek at some point, some kind of move would have been made. In all likelihood, he’s back in his homeland to stay.

JS- Unlike Pletka, I think a couple of teams might actually make offers for Divisek because of his two way style of play. I think Clarke will cash in as soon as someone makes him a legit offer so it is very possible you could see him traded.

Q- Will the Flyers look into underdeveloped countries like they have started to do in the draft (examples: Seidenberg–Germany, Bruckler–Austria) aka will they look at countires like Norway, Latvia, Belarus and France?

BM- Yes… there’s an increasing focus on players from the “B” countries, especially in light of the fact that Seidenberg is now here and could play all or part of the season in the NHL.

AA- The Flyers, along with the other 29 NHL teams, will surely be paying closer attention to some of the less-renowned hockey player producing nations in the coming years. They’d be crazy not to. However, there is only so much scouting you can do, and you certainly want to continue to focus on the nations that are proven hockey hotbeds (i.e. the Czech Republic, Russia, Finland, Sweden, etc.). The Flyers have one of, if not the best European scouts in the business in Inge Hammarstrom. If there’s a prospect floating around somewhere on that continent (even in some remote crevasse), chances are, he will find him.

Q- When will Alex Drozdetsky and Konstantin Rudenko hop over?

BM- Drozdetsky potentially could be over next season. Rudenko is a longshot at this point.

AA- I would not be surprised to see Drozdetsky at camp next year, but he’s still probably at least two years away from crossing the pond for good. Rudenko is an offensive prospect who is coming along slowly, but steadily. In five games with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the RHL so far this year, the Kazakhstani left winger has one goal, one assist and 20 penalty minutes (tied for team lead). I wouldn’t expect to see him in training camp until 2004-05.

JS- Drozdetsky and Rudenko will both probably be over for the 2003-04 training camp. Alex will probably play the year for the 2003-04 season with the Phantoms where Konstantin will go back to Russia for atleast one more season.

Q- What is in store for Roman Malek, Jim Vandermeer and Dan Peters?

BM- Peters has some of the things you look for in an NHL defenseman but probably won’t get out of the AHL because he’s small and not enough of a point producer. This is a big year for Malek-he signed a three year deal last summer with his Czech team but he could exercize an out-clause after this year. I could see a scenario where Malek would back up Cechmanek next season. Vandermeer had his share of growing pains as an AHL rookie last year. He needs another full minor league season.

AA- For now, Malek will continue to ply his trade in the Czech Republic with Slavia Prague. At age 24, he is considered to be one of the top netminders in the Czech Extraleague, but the Flyers have shown no willingness to bring him over up to this point. I think that Jim Vandermeer will develop into a solid defenseman at the AHL level, but he just doesn’t have the talent to be considered a future NHLer. If he ever makes it, it will likely be as a spot seventh defenseman at best. The same can pretty much be said for Peters, though his chances of one day making the Flyers are practically nonexistent.

JS- Malek will be over for training camp next year but I do not expect him to stay in North America for the season, I think he will play out the final year of his contract in the Czech Extraleague. I do not see him having much chance of making the Flyers next season having to beat out Esche and Niittymaki for the spot. Dan Peters is a good AHL defenseman, but shows me nothing that says that he has any future of playing in the NHL. Jim Vandermeer will be a good AHL defenseman, I think he could be a replacement for Chris McAllister at some point as the teams 7th defenseman.

Q- what unsigned prospects will be signed over the coming year?

BM- Pitkänen and potentially Drozdetsky, Malek, or Pavel Kasparik. There could be surprises of course.

AA- Other than Joni Pitkanen (who will undoubtedly be in the running for a roster spot next year), the Flyers really don’t have any urgent priorities with regards to their unsigned prospects. Thus, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Flyers go through the season and into next summer before inking their next prospect to a contract.

JS- Priorities are Pitkanen and Drozdetsky and possibly Malek, Timonen and Shields

Q- I’m looking for insight into brendl’s situation. specifically, if he has a legit shot at sticking this year, and if so, how that might affect justin williams’ position on the depth chart.

BM- There’s room for both Brendl and Williams. If Brendl doesn’t stick this year, he probably doesn’t have a future in the organization.

AA- I wouldn’t consider Brendl any kind of a threat to Justin Williams’ spot in the Flyers’ lineup/depth chart. In his two years in the NHL, Williams has already shown a strong work ethic and the ability to play a reliable, two-way game. He’s an up-and-coming player with a very positive upside. Brendl, on the other hand, has proven nothing thus far. He has a good shot at sticking only if he scores goals early in the season and shows a willingness to play some semblance of an all-around game. In theory, if the enigmatic Czech does manage to avoid another demotion, it will force coach Ken Hitchcock to juggle his lines to accommodate another offensive winger. Thus, it is conceivable that such a scenario could result in us see Williams experimented with on different lines. Then again, Hitchcock is probably going to play Dr. Frankenstein with the line combinations all year, so anything Brendl does probably won’t have a major impact on where and with whom Williams plays. (Man, I think I just confused myself.)

JS- I don’t think Brendl poses any threat to Williams, Brendl better watch out he doesn’t lose his spot to Sharp or Lefebvre.

Q- What is going on with Alexander Drozdetsky? From what I understand and what I’ve read, he wasn’t in Philadelphia this year for the prospect camp. I’ve also read that the man doesn’t get much ice time in Russia and he’s having problems putting on weight. Why don’t the Flyers organization bring him over to North America where they can monitor his weight gain problems and to give him much needed playing time? I mean, if he’s supposedly the second coming of Igor Larionov, wouldn’t it make sense for the organization to closely monitor his progress and guard him and ensure he’s getting proper playing time? It seems like they’re forgetting about him.
Jeff Gruntz

BM- Part of it is Drozdetsky himself-he has said that he wants to play in Russia until he feels ready for the NHL. Secondly, there’s nothing wrong with a player being brought along slowly. The RSL is a very skilled, fairly low scoring league. In terms of strength and conditioning, however, I agree that Drozdetsky is better off here in the AHL than in the RSL.

AA- The Flyers aren’t forgetting about Drozdetsky. In fact, they’re still quite high on him. The organization is closely monitoring his progression, and he is coming along steadily in an environment that he is quite comfortable in. Think of him almost as a young North American junior prospect at this point. You don’t want to rip him away from his element and throw him into the fire too soon. Instead, you want to nurture him, bring him along slowly. He has tremendous skills, but is still raw. Just as he beginning to put on weight and muscle as his body naturally fills out, he is beginning to develop into a better, all-around hockey player. Additionally, he is likely to get all of the ice time he can handle this season. He plays for a bad CSKA Moscow team, and is already being viewed as one of the go-to guys on the roster. The Flyers will watch him more closely than ever this year, and may even bring him over for training camp next fall… if they feel he is ready.

Q- What are the organization’s plans with regards to the development of Colin Shields? He was tearing it up in NCAA College Hockey and becoming a prolific goal scorer. Now, he’s got a ticket for the Phantoms. Are they going to spoonfeed him ice time or is he going to get a lot of playing time down there? He’s versatile and could probably become a very effective player if given an opportunity. I just don’t feel that by having him come out of school and play where he might get very little ice time is detrimental to his progress.
Jeff Gruntz

BM- About Shields-the Flyers seem tempered in their optimism about him. There apparently are questions about his size, skating, puckhandling and play away from the puck. Nothing is going to be handed to him but he’s got a great touch around the net and a very heavy shot.

AA- Actually, Shields will not be playing with the Phantoms this season. Rather, he is about to enter his second season of NCAA hockey with the University of Maine. This is exactly where the Flyers want him to be at the current time. As one of the Black Bears’ go-to guys, Shields will see plenty of ice time in all game situations throughout the season. At age 21, this is very important to his growth as a player, especially when you consider that he already lost a full season of development (2000-01) due to an NCAA ineligibility ruling. Shields sure did tear it up last season, notching 29 points (20 goals, nine assists) in 26 games. He’s likely to put up even better numbers this year, and that will only bolster his confidence as he prepares to embark on a professional career.

Q- With Jeff Woywitka and Joni Pitkanen as our top prospects on defense, where do they stand in terms of playing time. I mean, Therien has a long term contract, Weinrich has a long term contract, Desjardins will probably be resigned to a new deal, Dan McGillis is signed to a long term deal, Kim Johnsson is signed to a long term deal and so is Chris McAllister. If these two are going to get playing time, do the Flyers plan on moving any of the above guys? If you take a look at it, you never know what you’re going to get from Therien game in and game out. Eric Weinrich is getting up there in age and you could see his play dramatically curtail in the second half of the season. Desjardins is done. McGillis is so inconsistent that it’s infuriating. Kim is a great defenseman and McAllister is basically a pylon. Is it safe to assume that the Flyers will go with two rookie D-Men next year and have to second year D-Men in St.Jacques and Seidenberg? There are some serious questions that the organization will have to answer in terms of defense and would they be willing to miss the playoffs and let these kids develop or would they deal one or both just to ensure a quick term solution to make the playoffs?
Jeff Gruntz

AA- One thing is for sure – you can NEVER have too many good young defensemen in your system. It’s simply a luxury that the Flyers have not enjoyed at any point in recent memory. Thus, having the likes of Pitkanen, Woywitka, St. Jacques and Seidenberg around is a breath of fresh air. As for how things will shake out over the course of the next year, it’s difficult to say. Pitkanen will be at camp next year, but still is not a lock to make the team right away. I actually think that Woywitka will spend at least one full season with the Phantoms before making it to the NHL and, therefore may not occupy a spot on the Flyers’ roster until 2004-05. St. Jacques is a real wildcard. In many ways, I think he became overrated over the past year simply because the Flyers’ organizational depth chart was so thin on defense. He didn’t particularly have a strong training camp, so we’ll have to see what he does with the Phantoms this season. As for Seidenberg, he looks to be a real-deal NHL player, and will presumably be with the Flyers next year. If that indeed does turn out to be the case, he could be the only one of the aforementioned four prospects that the team will have to make room for in 2003-04. Again, it’s really a tough thing to project. Obviously, Pitkanen and Woywitka figure into the Flyers future plans in a big way. There’s always the possibility of a surprising trade (we learned that the hard way with the Adam Oates/Maxime Ouellet deal), but the assumption is that both of those players will be with the big club within the next few seasons. Naturally then, that means that some player or players currently on the Flyers’ roster will have to be moved to make room for these prospects. However, because their NHL arrivals still might be a ways off, predicting who’s staying and who’s going in the short-term is an almost impossible task.

JS- I believe Desjardins is gone after this season which allows them room for Pitkanen. If St. Jacques shows during training camp that he is ready to be a top 6 D-Man they could dump McAllister and move Therien to the #7 D-Man. Just a guess at this point you never know what the coming months will bring.

Q- Do the Flyers have any plans in bringing over Roman Malek anytime soon? He seems to be a great goalie in the Czech Republic and could turn out to be a real keeper.
Jeff Gruntz

BM- Potentially after this season, depending on how Malek plays and what happens with the other guys in the system.

AA- Malek really has developed into a fine netminder for Slavia Prague in the Czech Extraleague, prompting many international critics to wonder why the Flyers are not in more of a hurry to bring the netminder to North America. I haven’t had the chance to see much footage of his games from last season, but I have been told that he is rapidly improving in almost every aspect of his game. In the Czech capital, he is also beginning to develop quite a following. Perhaps the Flyers like Malek where he is and feel that being a starting netminder in a major European league is the best thing for his development right now. Maybe they do plan to bring him over soon, as early as next year even. It’s difficult to say, because the organization has been relatively mute about the subject. There was some speculation early in the summer (shortly after Brian Boucher was dealt to Phoenix) that Malek would be brought over to backup Roman Cechmanek this season, thus creating an all-Czech goaltending tandem. Instead, the Flyers opted to stick with Robert Esche for the time being. Realistically, Malek could wind up here next year, two years from now, or never. Only time will tell what the future holds for him in the Flyers’ organization.

Q- Is there one prospect in the system that’s a real diamond in the rough? While the Flyers have been fairly good at taking players in the first round, we haven’t had any real impact in taking players in the second (the last second round picks I remember us taking were Jason Beckett and Ian Forbes) and later rounds (Cechmanek shouldn’t be considered a steal because he was 29 when taken). Do any players really stand out that can be impact players and top players in the league or do we have just a bunch of role players in the wings?
Jeff Gruntz

BM- My picks would be Drozdetsky and Pavel Kasparik. Neither is a sure bet, however.

AA- A diamond in the rough? Well, there are a few “obvious choices” here, guys who clearly have skill and could conceivably turn out to be NHL players. I’d lump Mathieu Brunelle, Alex Drozdetsky, and Colin Shields into that category. However, just to be different, I’m going to go with Nikita Korovkin as a player who I believe could turn out to be pretty good. The 19-year-old Russian defenseman had a big year with the Kamloops Blazers last season, quietly emerging as one of the best defensemen in the WHL. He finished third in the entire league with a plus-33 rating, and was ranked 44th among North American skaters by the Central Scouting Bureau in its last report before the draft. However, Korovkin’s stock fell rapidly due to an undisclosed injury that kept him out of the playoffs. The Flyers always scout Western Canada hard, and they feel that they may have drafted a good player who wasn’t on most team’s radar screens. Korovkin is already off to a good start this season, with three assists and a plus-four rating in five games for the Blazers. He could turn out to be the classic example of a prospect that fell between the cracks.

JS- Drozdetsky definately has a shot at being a real diamond in the rough. Korovkin and Brunelle were two of the Flyers best players in the prospect camp they are definate possibilities along with Jussi Timonen who like his brother is an excellent puck moving defenseman.

Q- Why was colin shields, Alex Drozdetsky, Pavel Kasperik
not invited to camp? where the hell is Vaclav Pletka and whats his status?
Ryan Millitaire

BM- The Euro seasons begin earlier.

AA- In the cases of Drozdetsky and Kasperik, the Flyers’ training camp would have interfered with the starts of their respective seasons in Europe. At this point, the organization wants both of these players to get in as much developmental playing time as possible before eventually making the jump to North America. Colin Shields’ situation is somewhat similar in that camp conflicted with the beginning of the school year, and he would have had to leave his classes at the University of Maine behind to train with the team in Voorhees. Obviously that wasn’t going to happen, but it is the reason why college players rarely attend NHL training camps before turning pro. As for Pletka, he will play in the Czech Republic this season, but technically remains Flyers property for another season. However, don’t expect him ever see him in a Philadelphia uniform again. His tenure as a player with this organization is over.

Q- Could you give me some information on Radovan Somik?
[email protected]

BM- Somik seems to get better every year-he’s come a long, long way over the last three seasons. He’s made himself into a good two-way player, whereas he was once an offensive player who didn’t score consistently. I don’t think he’ll be a big scorer in the NHL but he can play a role.

AA- I don’t know if I can add anything about Somik that hasn’t already been said. However, I do want to point out how rare it is for such a late-blooming prospect to develop so nicely. It’s hard to image that the 25-year-old Slovakian was drafted by the team seven (!) years ago, way back in 1995 (the same year the team drafted Brian Boucher). Though we have not yet seen Somik play in a regular season NHL game, he already looks like a player who can make an impact with the Flyers. He seemed poised and played a mature game throughout the preseason, and has already developed a strong chemistry with fellow countryman Michal Handzus. Once Somik recovers from his groin injury, it should be interesting to see those two operate together on the Flyers’ third line.

JS- Somik is a smart player who over the last 7 years has worked on everything the Flyers have asked him to work on and now is getting his time to make the jump to the show. He is a good two way player who has some offensive upside.

Q- Is Matt Zultek considered now to be still a potentially late-blooming power
forward, or is he more likely to be a career minor-leaguer?
[email protected]

BM- I’d be shocked if Zultek makes it. He’s never been the same since wrecking his knee in junior hockey.

AA- If Zultek does manage to eventually forge a decent pro hockey career for himself, it will not be in the NHL. He is nothing more than a project at this point, and really has not shown an ability to rise above (and avoid) the injury problems that have plagued him throughout his young career. So, if I had to guess, yeah, I’d say he’s a career minor leaguer in the making.

JS- At this point the question is more will he ever make the AHL not will he ever make the NHL. Zultek was BAD in the Trenton games I watched last season, he was playing below average in the ECHL which is not good.

Q- How can the organization have none even close to cracking the roster?
[email protected]

BM- How so? Brendl will start the year in the NHL. St Jacques and Seidenberg could play all or part of the season in the NHL. Lefebvre is knocking on the door for a roster spot. Woywitka and Pitkänen are both within a year of challenging for an NHL job. That’s not a bad pool.

AA- My best guess would be that Pavel Brendl, Guillaume Lefebvre, Patrick Sharp, Radovan Somik, Dennis Seidenberg, Bruno St. Jacques and Antero Niittymaki (not to mention Joni Pitkanen and Jeff Woywitka) would beg to differ.

Q- I have put alot of stock in Brendl for this years pool. Our pool is goal
scorers only. Who has he been playing with? How is he progressing?

AA- Mark, you might as well have drafted a bag of pucks to play for your fantasy team. My condolences in advance. Should Brendl wind up putting together a decent year, I want everyone reading this to call me out on the carpet at the end of the season. Send nasty e-mails telling me how wrong I was, and I’ll post each and every one of them right here.)

JS- How can I add anything to that? Very well said Al.

Q- I would like some more info on Pitkanen and Nittymaki.
About the only thing I’ve seen so far about Pitkanen other than the normal,
height, club, etc is that he is Phil Housley with a mean streak? Is this
true? Is Pitkanen expected to be a PP guy with an edge?
Does Nittymaki still fit into the clubs plans? It seems that there is a
never ending uncertainty around Cechmanek but with the movement of Boucher
and Ouellet who is being groomed??
Any info would be helpful
[email protected]

BM- Pitkänen is bigger and stronger than Housley with a lesser offensive upside. Niittymaki is still in a development phase. Currently, he’s the top long-term prospect.

AA- Again, we’re going to have to see Niittymaki play a full season of AHL hockey before being able to accurately determine where he stands with regards to his development. At best, he’s still a year or two (probably two) away from seeing any time in the NHL. Niittymaki proved that he could be a quality starting netminder in the Finnish Elite League, but let’s see how he does with the Phantoms before we draw too many conclusions. As for Pitkanen, yes, he does project to be an powerplay weapon who also happens to come equipped with a mean streak. I understand the Phil Housley comparisons, but he actually reminds me a little bit more of Brian Leetch in terms of style.

JS- I don’t see the Housley or Leetch comparison’s, I see him more as a Wade Redden/Rob Blake type style. Not comparing him to those two because he has a long way to go before he is Wade Redden or Rob Blake but he is more that type of defenseman.

Q- Are the Flyers eligible to get Compensatory picks for Oates and Richardson. Somebody said that if a teams salary is high they may not be eligible to get compensatory picks. Also is Pavel Kasperik still in the Flyers plans for the future.

AA- To my knowledge, Oates and Richardson were free agents of the most unrestricted kind. Therefore, no, the Flyers are not be eligible to receive any kind of compensatory picks due to their departures. As for Kasperik, he is indeed still in the organizations’ plans. The 22-year-old forward made big strides with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraleague last season, recording 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) in 50 games. He will look to improve upon those numbers this season, and is likely to attend his first NHL training camp next September.

JS- If you lose an Unrestricted Free Agent there is only compensation picks for teams that payrolls fall under the average payroll per team. So because of the Flyers high payroll they would not be eligible for any compensation picks for losing a UFA.

Q- How are Bernd Bruckler and Roman Malek doing? I have seen Niittymaki play actually already, but the other two are mysterious to me. Anything about them would be greatly appreciated.

AA- I touched on Malek earlier, so I will focus on Bruckler here. The Austrian-born netminder is getting set to start his sophomore season with the University of Wisconsin. A member of the WCHA all-rookie team last season, he finished fifth in the conference in save percentage (.917) and seventh in goals against average (3.08) while appearing in 18 games. Badgers’ head coach Mike Eaves is hoping to increase Bruckler’s workload this season, much to the delight of the Flyers’ organization. Though the 21-year-old goaltender is considered a longshot to make it to the NHL, he has shown some promise. Unquestionably, this will be a key season in his developmental process.

JS- Bruckler was one of the best players at the rookie camp, at most points during the camp it was a draw who was playing better Niittymaki or Bruckler. I think his chance of some day making the NHL is a lot better than some people think, he could be a late blooming goaltender in the mold of Hedberg and Nabokov.