With the resent re-signings of Erik Gustafsson and Oliver Lauridsen the Philadelphia Flyers currently have nine players for only seven spots on defense. The list includes: Kimmo Timonen, Mark Streit, Luke Schenn, Braydon Coburn, Nicklas Grossmann, Andrej Meszaros, Bruno Gervais, Erik Gustafsson, and Oliver Lauridsen. The number goes up to ten if you take Chris Pronger into consideration. Now everyone knows that Chris Pronger will be put on the long-term-injury-list so his contract only matters for one game until they can officially add him to it. Which leads back to the aforementioned nine players. Someone or more than one player has to go.
The Flyers are slightly over the cap at the moment but getting below it before the start of the season could be done with the roster as it currently stands. It will take some clever maneuvering for the first game of the year, but it could be done. It is also of popular belief that the Flyers would love to re-sign Simon Gagne at a discounted rate but to achieve that now would put them further over the cap. So his contract will have to wait for the moment.
Now who should go??? Timonen is most likely playing his last season in the NHL so he is a lock to stay. Meszaros would be the best candidate, but he is currently injured so no other GM in their right mind would do a deal for him even if the return was a bucket of pucks. Grossmann might garner some interest, but also highly unlikely. Luke Schenn is going nowhere in the foreseeable future. They could dump Gervais to the Phantoms but his contract is not high enough to give the Flyers any real salary cap relief. Plus dropping him to the minors would still count against the fifty player roster limit. Which I believe is at 47 at the moment. That leads to Braydon Coburn.
Regardless of how you feel about Coburn in a Flyers uniform the fact remains that he will generate the highest return and give them the biggest in cap space. So that is why he is the most logical to be moved.
The Flyers have built a reputation over the years of being major players in the trade and free agent market. So one could speculate that they are working on making a big move as we speak. Maybe one that would not only include Coburn but another player as well. A move that would not only give cap space but one that could mount a descent and much needed return. Alex Pietrangelo name is on a lot of Flyers fans wish list. Truth is I just don’t see any way the St. Louis Blues could part with him. Not saying its impossible; just extremely improbable that he gets dealt. Add to that the trade they made yesterday to free up some of their own money problems it wouldn’t surprise me to hear a new deal for him is in place relatively soon.
Philly no doubt will be making a move on one, if not, two defensemen in that not so distant future. They don’t have to be in a rush though. That would only drive any leverage they have in any sort of deal down. Which is also why many believe Gagne is not signed already. Nonetheless a move is coming, and even if they could move both Meszaros and Corburn and get little in return their top six on defense would look like any combination of this:
Timonen – Schenn
Streit – Grossmann
Gustafsson – Lauridsen
That might not be a great defense, but it really wouldn’t be all that bad either. And unlike any time before in resent memory their farm system isn’t totally bare of blue-line talent.
***Wanted to add a long overdue congratulations to Fred “The Fog” Shero on being inducted to the Hockey Hall Of Fame***
It’s a shame when those that are inducted aren’t alive to see it.