Steve Venuti @Venoot_TheBrute
@davegisaac Rubtsov, Bellows, Kunin, Jones, and Gauthier are on the board at 18. Who do the flyers take? #FlyersMailbag
Dave's answer: Gauthier from a needs standpoint and a skill standpoint, but Bellows because his style of play fits Coach Hakstol's system to a T.
Correct answer: If Gauthier is still there, he's a no-brainer. He won't be there at 18 though, and Bellows is too trendy of a pick for my liking. I'm taking Max Jones and his 6'3" 200-pound self because we need some size.
@davegisaac Does Ron Hextall make a trade to move up in draft? #FlyersMailbag
Dave's answer: A vague mention of possibly maybe trading for Edmonton's 4th overall pick but it's just a possibility so we'll see.
Correct answer: We aren't getting Matthews, or the Fins, or Tkachuk. The price is going to be too high and I'd rather take my chances with a few picks from the first three rounds than put all my eggs into one basket. That said, much like he did to draft Travis Konecny last year, if Hextall likes any of the middle-of-the-first-round guys he should pounce. Personally, I'd do whatever it takes to make sure we get Gauthier.
Question 3, from Downovan McSadd @MattGrumbrecht
@davegisaac what Flyers player is most likely to be moved at the draft #FlyersMailbag
Dave's answer: Probably not Streit, or Read, or either one of the goalies. So... nobody?
Correct answer: I think the most likely outcome is "nobody gets moved" so I guess I shouldn't really jab Dave too much. But the most likely player to move, at this point in time, would be Brayden Schenn. I think the overwhelming likelihood is he gets re-signed to a long-term deal, but if the team and player are too far apart it might make sense to shop him around this summer.
Question 4, from LHD @LHD20
@davegisaac Hexy preaches patience w/young players--look at Pitt w/their young players in SCF. will he change course?#FlyersMailbag
Dave's answer: "No way, (San) Jose."
Correct answer: Racist anti-Mexican jokes aside, this is the biggest question going into the season. We know, for the most part, what this team is going to be. The only roster decisions are Provorov, Sanheim, and Konecny. We've seen the distinction between regular season hockey and playoff hockey, and these kids are going to have to contribute soon enough that Giroux/Voracek are still in their primes. Konecny is small so I would understand another year in the OHL for him, but I can't find a reason for Provorov/Sanheim not to take the place of MacDonald and Streit in the regular lineup.
Question 5, from SketchierFaun @SketchierFaun75
@davegisaac even with draft protection clarification, do you still see the #Flyers buying out Umberger? #FlyersMailBag
Dave's answer: Absolutely.
Correct answer: This is the worst question of the mailbag, so congrats to Sketchier Faun. The Umberger buyout is going to be announced tomorrow at 5pm, literally as soon as they can possibly announce it.
@davegisaac Dave, How do you expect the Flyers to improve the 2nd & 3rd lines? #FlyersMailbag
Dave's answer: The top two lines are going to remain largely the same. Such insight!
Correct answer: I touched on this a few weeks ago. I think Hakstol should take a page from the Penguins, split up Giroux, Voracek, and Couturier, and roll a balanced top nine. Schenn-Giroux-Simmonds carried the load during the playoff push; Raffl-Couturier-Read are a responsible above-average defensive/checking line; Laughton-Cousins-Voracek would certainly be an experiment but those three have a high enough pedigree that I'd expect them to fill the back of the net.
Question 7, from BIG CHEEF @thacheef1
@davegisaac #FlyersMailbag How much cap space do they have , and players they might target ?
Dave's answer: $9 million. Some of that has to go to Schenn. The Flyers should also look to target rookie Jimmy Vesey, who will have his base salary capped at $950k but could (and will) be loaded up with incentives.
Correct answer: $12 million (Dave forgot about Vinny Lecavalier's pending retirement). The bulk of that money is already earmarked for Schenn, Cousins, Gudas, and (maybe) Manning. I know I mentioned above that I'd like to clear out some space for Provorov/Konecny, but capable NHL defensemen for less than $1 million don't grow on trees. The number I calculated for Hextall's cap space after he takes care of his boys was between $3-4 million to split between a pair of forwards. One should be Ryan White, and the other is Hexy's chance to put his name on this Flyers offseason.
Question 8, from Jon Matty @Jon_Matty
@davegisaac which kids make the team from camp. Does anyone get called up and stay up. #FlyersMailbag
Dave's answer: Provorov out of camp. Konecny out of camp if he blows the doors off. Morin at some point this season.
Correct answer: Dave nailed it. I'd also add Sanheim in with Morin as an injury/trade replacement at some point during the year.
@davegisaac do you think the flyers will be able trade Streit, free up enough cap space and in turn take a run a Stamkos?#flyersmailbag
Dave's answer: No and absolutely not.
Correct answer: Thanks to Broph for asking the important questions. No, the Flyers will not be able to trade their 38 year old deteriorating defenseman with a broken penis and a $5.25 million cap hit. And no, they will not be targeting the most expensive free agent in NHL history with their $3-4 million in cap space.
Question 10, from R F Carp @IM_A_Carp
@davegisaac #Flyers need scoring NOW. Scott Hartnell waives no trade clause. Do the Flyers make a move? #FlyersMailbag
Dave's answer: No, with a funny joke about Hartnell falling down a lot thrown in for some entertainment.
Correct answer: The mailbag is now complete, because we have mentioned both a huge free agent and a Former Flyer. I'd also like to amend my previous announcement of the Worst Question Award - this has to be the worst Flyers Mailbag question ever.
We sat through two goddamn years of RJ Umberger instead of Scott Hartnell so we could move that money off the books this summer. And now, after dealing with a far inferior player for two seasons, we're going to bring back Hartnell's $4.75 million cap hit until 2019 anyway?
I mean, maybe, MAYBE if Columbus ate half of his money I could see him fitting into the top nine. But if you are suggesting that we basically just negate all of the benefits of the Hartnell-Umberger trade and I wasted the last two years watching RJ Umbeger in a Flyers jersey then you are the worst fan in the world.
Question 11, from Flyers @shanemoretuzzo
@davegisaac Who are the Flyers top 6 dmen at the end of the 2016-17 season? #Flyersmailbag
Dave's answer: MDZ-Ghost, AMac-Streit, Provorov-Gudas, Schultz
Correct answer: MDZ-Provorov, Ghost-Streit, Gudas-Schultz, Manning (Manning will be the 7th defenseman in my heart until the day he retires). To critique Dave's logic, I don't think the MacDonald-Streit pairing is a good idea. I actually think it is a really really bad idea. In my mind, Streit is no longer capable of being The Puck Mover on his pairing and MacDonald isn't capable of Playing In The NHL. I like Ghost and Streit together.
I also had a tough timing figuring out what to do with Provorov, because he's going to require some shelter and it's tough to do that by pairing him with one of the horses (MDZ, Gudas, Schultz). I would, however, worry about a sheltered uber-attack pairing of Ghost-Provy just because of their youth and lack of physicality.
Thus, I'm sticking Provorov with MDZ and hoping he's developed into that role by the end of the year. I'm sticking Ghost and Streit together because I like that pairing a lot. And Gudas and Schultz are going to get buried in their own end a lot, but hopefully balancing the top three forward lines will help alleviate that.
Question 12, from flyguys30 @Flyguys30
@davegisaac what are the chances they land eriksson, and if they do what are the contract terms? #FlyersMailbag
Dave's answer: No way.
Correct answer: I rag on Maple Leafs fans in this blog quite a bit because they are largely Dumb Fans. This is a stark reminder that every team has Dumb Fans. No, Hextall is not going to commit hit up-and-coming team to a 30 year old scoring winger who's going to be 32 or 33 by the time our prospects all come to fruition.
Question 13, from Maximus Chaos @Guppies97
@davegisaac who do you think would be more valuable to Flyers, Brayden Schenn or Sami Vatanen & why?#FlyersMailbag
Dave's answer: Schenn because the Flyers already have blueline prospects and they need forwards that can contribute.
Correct answer: This one's a bloodbath, folks.
@davegisaac What are Hextall's expectations of the team for next season after making the playoffs last spring?#FlyersMailbag
Dave's answer: Take the next step forward. No word on what the next step is, but they're going to try to take it.
Correct answer: Make the playoffs (not via the Wild Card) and advance to the second round.