The NHL trade deadline is creeping up and Paul Holmgren may be feeling hard-pressed to make a move. But should he make a trade to make a trade?
Perhaps this is just not the year for the Flyers. Maybe being patient with this promising crop of rookies is the course to take. With viewing the play, this fan does not think that is a bad idea—I am not big on trades, this time of year in the season and honestly enjoy the trade deadline the least overall. It can work for a team—just as much as it can work against them and the Flyers may be beginning to feel that way some about the recent goalie acquirement of Bryzgalov over the last off season. It simply was a lot of cap for a net minder that may just not have the level of self-confidence needed to stop a puck—especially within a one-on-one shootout position.
It is definitely possible, though, that they just may be missing that one piece to spark the inferno of a championship run.
Even with looking good (not great) against the Red Wings (I do at least feel they were up to the challenge and played solid hockey for a full 60 minutes), the Flyers showed that they need help on the blue line and the penalty kill. As has been the same song for years and the recurring injuries to Pronger are not helping at all.
In order to fix these areas, the Flyers might only have to spend some low draft picks or prospects in Adirondack—much like the way they picked up Ilya Bryzgalov last summer. I do not feel the ‘cost’ of Bryz came in the area of ‘prospects’, as I do more in the area of how much was invested in him for a nine year haul.
To put it simply, the Flyers could use some help on defense and with the trade deadline coming up, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is ‘on the prowl’, as has been reported as of late.
“Everybody is looking for defensemen,” Holmgren said. “Even the teams that have it try to load it up this time of year with defensemen.” Holmgren also added: “There’s still a lot of teams deciding what to do and which way to go.” “You look at the standings that is easy to understand.”
Who’s out there to try and grab and who are the best prospects for Homer to look at?
Montreal Canadiens’ Hal Gill andDallas’ Nicklas Grossman as possible targets. Gill has a winning pedigree after being a key part of the Penguins’ defense in their 2009 Stanley Cup run. With Gill, you know even if he doesn't re-sign, he will be a rock in the playoffs. Even though he's 36 years old, Gill has plenty of hockey left in him. Acquiring him fromMontrealshould not be too expensive.
Given that the Flyers have a third defensive pairing consisting of rookies, Grossman could be a perfect fit. He's making under $2 million per year and is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.
Since Grossman is likely to be a free agent this summer and the rising premium that defensemen suddenly command, the Flyers might be able to pluck him from Dallas inexpensively.
Holmgren says he doesn’t pin the Flyers’ defensive woes on the youngsters. “They’ve continued to play well,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we’re not looking around to try and improve ourselves. It’s no different than any other time.” “You are always looking to improve if you can and then you weigh the cost of it and whether it makes sense. Then go from there.”
James Van Riemsdyk has been a long chattered prospect for the Flyers to move since the Classic. Personally watching this kid play and the potential he has and has exhibited up until his injury—I do hope this is not who they bargain. But only time will tell.
Young, big and skilled, JVR has been in the rumor mill withTorontofor a while. It’s no secret that Brian Burke covets the American forward, and their have been multiple reports about discussions revolving around him and Leafs defender, Luke Schenn. Both are young, with some untapped potential, and bring a need to the respective clubs who would acquire them, however their would likely be some pieces needed to be added on either side.
Also, unfortunately with JVR not back in the line up to play, he is either and easy trade target for moving him...or he may be too difficult to move if not making progress on his injured status.
More rumblings have surfaced recently, that Shea Weber or Ryan Suter could become available. Suter would be more likely to be traded before Weber. If the Flyers were to make a deal, they’d want assurance that he would sign a long term deal with them. Other potential blueline targets for the Flyers could be Tim Gleason and Bryan Allen (Car), Luke Schenn (Tor), Hal Gill (Mon), and Mark Eaton (NYI).
Schenn (the older brother of Flyers' forward Brayden) is capable of filling the Flyers' needs and is signed to a contract through the 2015-16 season. His cap hit is a pleasant $3.6 million, very manageable for the Flyers. The player rumored to be on the move is concussed left winger James van Riemsdyk.
Another player that is tightly tied toPhiladelphiarumors fits this description perfectly. Earlier this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs extended the contract of defenseman John-Michael Liles, leading some to believe the team was on the verge of trading another defenseman—Luke Schenn.
However, the team needs a third-string net minder they can rely on. Bryzgalov's recent illness showed just how serious the issue is. The Flyers needed to call up Jason Bacashihua from the AHL as a backup. Michael Leighton, who spent time as the starter in the 2009-10 season, would have had to clear re-entry waivers in order to come up from the AHL. This fan though does feel a little better about the Leighton option as opposed to Bacashihua—mainly just being familiar with Leighty’s potential shown in the Cup run against the Hawks.
If the Flyers run into a situation where Bryzgalov or Bobrovsky are injured in the future, they could be without a solid backup. Leighton might not clear waivers and Bacashihua is not exactly a player Philadelphia would feel confident using at the NHL level.
One rumored option is veteran Evgeni Nabokov of the New York Islanders. Nabokov is an upcoming free agent. This option would be a God send if it could be worked out. Nabokov looked amazing and basically played that net like a brick wall against the Flyers as of late.
Paul Gaustad is a name the Sabres are considering moving. If that is the case, the Flyers should consider obliging them.
Gaustad's numbers aren't like that of Giroux or Danny Briere, but that's alright. That's because Gaustad is a hard-nosed penalty killer and checking center—something the Flyers need badly. Lord knows this would only help the Flyers and their net minders in the crease—an area that solid and hard hitting play has been lacking.
A player like Gaustad would definitely impact the Flyers' outlook on defensive play and penalty killing.
Surely more updates and even prospects may still pop up prior to the deadline. Only time will tell which way the Flyers and Homer will go with this. Fans are just hoping for a solution deal to be made and bring the squad back to the level of potential we are all accustomed to.