For Flyers, size matters in free-agent market
Talent was the main reason Washington ousted the Flyers in six opening-round playoff games.
But the Capitals also wore down the Flyers with their size.
"It was a factor," general manager Ron Hextall said the other day. "Part of getting to the net is really, really wanting to get to the net. We can probably do a better job of that, but I think if you look at the five-on-five play, we weren't that bad. I think we could've won this series if some things went our way or if we would've been a little sharper in some areas, obviously special teams. In saying that, I'm not kidding myself and saying we're a better team. There's a difference between saying a series was winnable and you're a better team."
Added Hextall: "They were the best team in the league. I'm not ready to say we're a better team. It's not right, it's not fair. But again, it was a winnable series and those are the things you got to learn from. You're touching on the size, yeah. I think I said that a year ago. We've got to get bigger. Part of getting better is getting bigger and getting a little more skill and a little bit more depth."
In the series against the Caps, Flyers forwards, on average, were 6-foot, 197 pounds, and their defensemen were 6 foot, 198.
The average size of Washington forwards: 6-2, 205.5, and their D-men stood 6-2 and weighed 207.5.
Here are some interesting free-agents forwards and their sizes: David Backes (6-3, 221); Kyle Okposo (6-0, 217); Milan Lucic (6-3, 233); Andrew Ladd (6-3, 200); Loui Eriksson (6-2, 183); and Mikkel Boedker (6-0, 211).
Hextall doesn't expect a massive makeover from a team that went 41-27-14.
"We lost out in the first round, so our focus this summer is getting better. I don't see a big roster turnover -- it's not going to happen," he said. "We have pieces in place that we like. Would we like to get better in a couple of places? Yes, we would. And if we can, we're going to do it. Again, I don't anticipate a massive change here."
That said, he does have enough cap room to add a forward who should upgrade the offense.
And give them more size up front.
Crystal ball. Caps over Penguins in seven in a Stanley Cup Final-worthy series; Blues over defensive-challenged Stars in six; San Jose over surprising Nashville in six; Isles, fortunate to not face Pittsburgh or Washington (yet), over Tampa Bay in six.