With the NHL trade deadline over a month away it would be a nice time to look at possible moves the Flyers could make.
Internet rumors have the Flyers involved in "major trades" and involved with names like Jarome Iginla and Tomas Vokoun, but the reality is the Flyers won’t be making any major moves. According to Capgeek, the Flyers have less than $1.3M in cap space which means the likes of Iginla and Vokoun are out of their price range. They would need to move major salary in return to make such a deal, but a team that is contending for the Presidents’ Trophy isn’t going to risk messing with chemistry by moving a high salaried player or two to bring in another high salaried player.
More importantly, a team contending for the Presidents’ Trophy simply does not need to make any major deals.
Their roster has been good enough to get them to the top of their conference. Paul Holmgren and other top brass could decide not to make any moves and feel completely confident going into the playoffs. It wouldn’t surprise me if that is exactly what happens in the end. With that said, that doesn’t mean there aren’t areas that could use an upgrade, but we’re talking more about depth-type moves instead of anything that might shock the world.
Ideally, an upgrade in goal would be nice since the duo they look to be heading into the playoffs consists of a veteran backup (Brian Boucher) and an unproven rookie (Sergei Bobrovsky), but a move for a goalie seems unlikely at best. There doesn’t look to be anything out there that makes much sense. Vokoun would be the best name on the block *if* Florida would make him available, but his cap hit puts him out of the Flyers’ price range. J.S. Giguere will likely be the only goalie with a championship to his name available, but he is even more expensive than Vokoun and without the recent solid performance to justify the price tag.
Outside of those two, it is unlikely any "names" will be available and no one that you can say would put the Flyers over the top. It still would be a total crapshoot with anyone they could acquire so it doesn’t make sense to concentrate their assets on this area at the time.
The defense is another area where it is unlikely they will upgrade. When healthy, the backline is eight deep so there is really no reason to acquire another one unless Holmgren simply has an affinity for defenseman.
If the Flyers make a move it is a pretty safe bet they will be bringing in another forward. The Orange and Black are one of top scoring teams in the league so it isn’t a great need, but there are areas that could be strengthened.
The penalty kill has been middle of the road this year after losing Simon Gagne and Ian Laperriere so bringing in a defensive specialist to replace someone like Jody Shelley in the lineup would make sense. They could also decide to replace Andreas Nodl in the top 9 with someone with a little more scoring prowess.
One move that would make sense is to bring in a center who is a faceoff specialist. It may sound a little strange since the Flyers have five forwards who play center, but Jeff Carter is the only center that wins more than half of his draws. He is also the center that has taken the fewest amount of faceoffs. Claude Giroux is exactly even at faceoffs while Mike Richards, Danny Briere, and Blair Betts win less than half of them.
Winning draws is important for the puck possession game and having someone that could win key draws in the defensive zone always seems to be crucial come playoff time.
John Madden ($1.25M), currently of the Minnesota Wild, would be a great fit due to his veteran experience.
Madden has 3 rings and a Selke Trophy on his resume. He won 51% of his draws during the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup run last season. So far this season he has won 51.2% of the 535 faceoffs he has taken which would put him ahead of everyone but Carter in faceoffs won on the Flyers. The former New Jersey Devil is also a good penalty killer and could give a middle of the pack penalty kill a boost.
Marty Reasoner ($1.15M) is another veteran option that would make sense. He doesn’t have the rings of Madden, but he is a solid veteran presense that has won 55.6% of the 633 draws he has taken this year and is also another strong penalty killer. Brendan Morrison ($725K) and Zenon Konopka ($600k) are two cheaper options to bring in to take draws. Morrison has won 51.4% of his 420 faceoffs while Konopka has won an impressive 58.8% of the 668 faceoffs he has taken. Morrison and Konopka also kill penalties, but aren’t relied upon as much as Madden and Reasoner. Konopka also loves to hit and drop the gloves so Shelley would not be missed if Konopka took his spot in the every day lineup.
If not a center, the Flyers could certainly upgrade on the wings. Curtis Glencross ($1.2M) could be a popular name as the deadline approaches. He’s cheap, has nice hands, and can kill penalties. He has averaged 14 goals the previous two seasons and is on pace to score 19 this season. He is the forward Calgary relies the most on the penalty kill so he would be a nice upgrade for the Flyers in that area. Alex Tanguay ($1.7M) is another name from Calgary that could be an option at the deadline. He’s currently on pace for 18 goals and 58 points. He could be seen as an offensive upgrade to Nodl in the top nine. Andrew Brunette ($2.33M) is another potential offensive upgrade to Nodl, but he is also a bit more expensive. Brunette is on pace for 20 goals and 43 points.
As for potential trade bait, I really do not see the Flyers moving anyone from their roster with perhaps the exception of the supposedly-enigmatic Nik Zherdev or Dan Carcillo. Neither player has been a favorite of the coach this season and one could be moved if they need to create a little extra cap space to make a move. Outside of those two, I think we’ll just see the standard picks and/or prospects being exchanged.