Any coach or general manager will tell you before, during, and after the preseason they have a lot of tough decisions to make. Everything from naming a starting goaltender to debating whether or not to keep a rookie on the roster will cause those in charge to lose some sleep.
With a farm system that was ranked best in the NHL by ESPN’s Corey Pronman, Ron Hextall and Dave Hakstol will be looking for ways to start plugging these prospects into the roster. Here’s two players they should get rid of in order to get younger players on the team:
Matt Read (2016-17: 10 goals, 9 assists, 63 games)
There’s nobody I want to see off this team more than Matt Read. Read has done nothing but regress as a player over the past four seasons. His point total at 47 during his rookie year in the league was somewhat impressive and led us to believe he could evolve into a top contributor on the team.
Since his rookie season, Read has never reached that point total again. In the last four years, his point totals have declined from 40 to 30 to 26 to 19. Maybe it’s me, but all I see from him is poor neutral zone passes and low percentage shots from the boards into the goalie’s chest.
He does helps out on the penalty kill once in awhile, but it’s nothing Oskar Lindblom couldn’t do. This is the 31-year-old forward’s last year on his contract, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Hexy spare a few million and buy him out.
Dale Weise (2016-17: 8 goals, 7 assists, 64 games)
This probably won’t be too popular of an opinion, especially because the Flyers just gave him a four-year contract last offseason, but I just don’t see it in Weise. I understand every hockey team needs their role players, but I need more productivity.
Upon signing Weise, Hextall said Weise gave the team some size and speed, and has an edge to his game. Are these all attributes you need in a hockey player? Absolutely. But you can more than likely find these qualities in a lot of guys on that played on the Phantoms last season.
Why sign a 29-year-old grinder to a four-year deal when you have a platoon of younger players itching to get their shot in the NHL? I’m sure someone like Mike Vecchione could step in, put up more goals, and play with the same grit Weise does.
The NHL has evolved into a game where everybody on the team needs to be showing up on the score sheet in order to compete with the best. The team’s biggest problem last year was putting the puck in the back of the net.
Obviously not every prospect in the system is not ready to jump and play at the level the NHL demands; But I just don’t see the point of putting guys on the ice that have already hit their ceiling when there are plenty of talented players waiting to get their name called. If this “youth movement” is really a thing, it’s time to trim the fat and put some orange and black sweaters on these kids.