It is tough to find things to like about the lockout. With no hockey to be played, players are left to go as hard (or as soft) as they please in order to maintain an NHL physique. However, this lack of games can actually be a silver lining to some of the more resilient silver foxes of the National Hockey League – if play were to resume. This gives the Flyers some options to fill out the roster in free agency that they might not have considered if the full season were still intact.
So what might those choices be?
Looking right up the turnpike, Petr Sykora comes to mind. Aged 36 years as of November, the six-foot Czech is an interesting option to fill out the Flyers wing corps. He is the only 20-goal scorer available in free agency, and is also coming off a campaign in which he played the full 82 games while putting up 44 points and just 18 penalty minutes for the Devils. His best month came mid-season, when he put up 10 points in 14 games in December, but he still managed 11 points over his last 20 games of the regular season before the playoffs.
His skill-set would be an interesting mix with the right group of forwards. However, Sykora only managed 5 points in 18 games in the 2012 playoffs, and was actually a healthy scratch at one point during their eventual loss to the LA Kings. Additionally, just a season prior he was overseas. There is considerable risk in putting him in any role, let alone a vital one.
He has talked about staying in New Jersey, so one would think coming down the turnpike isn’t much of a stretch; but is it worth it to the Flyers?
Brian Rolston is also another guy the Flyers might be interested in. After being traded from the lowly New York Islanders to the Boston Bruins, Rolston went on to put up three goals and 15 points in 21 games for the B’s, while also chipping in three points in their seven-game taste of the 2012 post season. He comes with a presence on the ice and in the locker room, in a six-foot two-inch package complete with three 30-goal seasons and a ring.
The thing is, he turns 40 in just over two months time, making him potentially the oldest player on the roster by a considerable margin. He is actually just three months shy of doubling Sean Couturier in age. In the most respectful way possible, would the shortened season still be too difficult for Rolston to muster?
Other names exist on the market as well. Jason Arnott and Jochen Hecht in particular come to mind, though they predominantly inhabit the center of the ice. Regardless of who it could be, with only the potentially shortened season at risk in finding out, could the cheaply priced prune juice be worth the squeeze to the Flyers if they wish to add some seasoned depth?
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