Rumor mill: Dan Boyle and, yet again, Bobby Ryan

Thanks to the Edmonton Journal

The most glaring hole on this Philadelphia Flyers roster is the lack of a true number one defenseman.  According to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal and Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com, Dan Boyle is on the trade block and the Philadelphia Flyers are interested.

“If, however, the San Jose Sharks are willing to trade the 36-year-old Boyle, who has a year left on his six-year, $40 million contract with a whopping $6.6 million cap hit, the Flyers have interest” Panaccio wrote.

And Matheson stated, “He’d be excellent in Philadelphia, where the Flyers are crying for offence, but again, his age and price-point are barriers.”

Boyle has one more year on his six year contract that has a cap hit of 6.6 million.  With the Flyers sitting 13th overall and five points out of the final playoff spot, does it makes sense to pay the price for a veteran defenseman?

Boyle entering Monday night has 4 goals and 9 assists for a total of 13 points.  That production would put him second on the Flyers defense behind Kimmo Timonen(3 G-16 A- 19 P).  Over the last four years he has average 53.25 points per year while averaging just over 12 goals in that same time span.  There is no denying his offense would be a welcomed addition to Philadelphia’s blueline.

However, one major problem in acquiring Boyle is his age.  The Flyers need a replacement for Chris Pronger and Boyle would only supply that for a short period.  He is also a unrestricted free agent after next year and there is no telling if he would re-sign with the Flyers.  If and when the Flyers find that defender to replace Pronger, it should be someone who can be built around for the long term.

Another major stepping stone would be Boyle’s cap hit for this year and next.  His cap hit of 6.6 million would put the Flyers in an extremely tight place in the offseason.  According to capgeek.com, the Flyers already have over 61 million committed to 17 players (these numbers do include Chris Pronger’s cap hit).  In order to be cap compliant next year at 64.3 million, the Flyers undoubtedly would have to send salary back to the Sharks in any deal.

The Sharks also dealt Douglas Murray to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a deal for two second rounder draft picks (one draft pick is conditional).  The Sharks still have 7 defenseman on their roster currently and Brent Burns has been taking shifts regularly at forward.  If Boyle is traded, they could easily move Burns back to his regular position on defense.  The trade involving Murray shouldn’t have an impact on the status of Dan Boyle availability.

All in all, I don’t see the Flyers acquiring Dan Boyle.  The Flyers continue to look like a lottery team and trading away assets right now for Boyle doesn’t make sense.  Boyle would be a nice acquisition, but he really wouldn’t solve the long term problem of having a true number one defender.  I still think the more realistic option is for the Flyers to address this problem in the offseason around the draft with a younger defenseman and a more team-friendly contract.

Bobby Ryan

According to Darren Dreger of TSN.ca, the Philadelphia Flyers and Anaheim Ducks could possibly make a trade involving Sean Couturier and Bobby Ryan.  Speculations have been made regarding Bobby Ryan for the last few seasons.  The Cherry Hill native has been linked to the Flyers as recently as this year’s draft in the rumor mill.

It’s been no secret that the Flyers have been interested in the 26 year old Bobby Ryan, but does it make sense to acquire him right now for both teams?  Anaheim is in the middle of a race for the President’s trophy and the first overall spot in the Western Conference.  Trading an established star in the NHL for potential top end talent isn’t the ideal situation for a contending team like Anaheim.  The Philadelphia Flyers are sitting five points out of the playoff picture.  Trading away youth right now in the midst of a poor season, for a player who possibly could or could not help the Flyers get into the playoffs does not seem practical.  This most likely will not happen at the deadline, but is a logical trade to make in the offseason.

Let’s look at this deal from Anaheim’s point of view.  Anaheim, in the offseason, will have fewer than eleven million dollars in cap space to fill out seven spots on their roster, after signing Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf to new contracts.  This would give the Ducks around one and a half million dollars per roster spot.

Anaheim for the last few seasons has been a team with an internal budget. Although with those recent signings, it seems they may have become a cap team.  Luckily for the Ducks, they do not have any big Restricted Free Agents to re-sign this offseason.  However, they do have Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne hitting Unrestricted Free Agency.

If Selanne doesn’t retire and Koivu is re-signed, that greatly reduces their spending money in the offseason.  This is where it seems a deal could be made.  Sean Couturier would fill in as their second line center behind Getzlaf, and also would save the Ducks over four million dollars against the cap.  If Ryan is traded for Couturier, the Ducks would have over fifteen million dollars in cap space this offseason to fill voids on the roster.  It would leave them in a better position to fill those holes with quality players, instead of trying to fill it with youth that might not be ready.

Now, let’s look at this deal from the Flyers’ point of view.  It has been rumored for quite some time that Paul Holmgren would like to acquire a first line sniper to play along with Giroux.  The Flyers attempted to trade for Rick Nash when he was available, but failed in doing so.  Ryan would fill that void on the wing for Giroux.

A line of Bobby Ryan, Claude Giroux, and Jakub Voracek could possibly dominate in puck possession.  That line combination would be appealing to any general manager in the NHL.  The Flyers would also win the public relations with this trade as well.  In acquiring Ryan, they would bring home a native to the area that grew up a Flyers fan.

Dreger also reported that this deal would be a “hockey trade”.  Trading Bobby Ryan for Sean Couturier wouldn’t be equal value for the Anaheim Ducks.  The Flyers almost undoubtedly would have to add to their side of the deal.  It’s hard to imagine the Flyers would include their first round draft pick from this year because it could end up being in the top five in the draft.  I also don’t see them including their first rounder from 2014 since the draft is going to be in Philadelphia.  Flyers management, though, does want to win now, so I wouldn’t be completely surprised to see a couple of picks included.

Despite the beneficial aspects of this deal, it does not solve one of the Flyers’ biggest problems. A young potential number one, or already established number one defenseman is still needed.  It would not be surprising if Flyers fans were upset with this deal solely for that reason.

Sean Couturier could be the Flyers biggest trade chip in acquiring a defenseman, so why would Holmgren use him to acquire more offense?  Also if this deal does happen, where does Holmgren turn to improve the Flyers’ defense?  Losing Sean Couturier’s elite defense from the center position would hurt the team as well.  Ultimately, this trade would not solve the issues for the Philadelphia Flyers, it would only create more.