By now you have all read reports that the Flyers tried to acquire Jaime Langenbrunner from the Devils. Holmgren was quoted I believe to be looking to upgrade the RW on what I am assuming is the Richards line. So I began to ask myself who might be out there come deadline time that Homer can target to fit this upgrade? Being that we have Zherdev as a RW practically on the bench the needs here are not goal scoring. Instead I am looking for a RW who can play with and against the top NHL competition as Mike Richards wing man. Since we are the Flyers size is always a concern. Also since we are the Flyers cap hit is also of the concern. I would prefer a contract that was expiring and not to take on any additional salary for next season. And once more since we are the Flyers former Flyers will be given extra considerations.
Lets look at the bottom 10 teams in the league.
Danius Zubrus - With the departure of Langenbrunner the only option left is former Flyer Danius Zubrus. He has the size at 6ft 5in 230lbs but his 3.4 million dollar cap hit until the end of the 2013 season makes Zubrus an extremely tough fit.
David Clarkson - Another potential option he is good friends with Mike Richards from the playing days with the Kitchener Rangers 6ft 1in 200lbs doesn't scream power forward and his career high 32 points in 2008 doesn't scream upgrade or 1st line talent especially not for a 2.667 million dollar cap hit for this and 2 more seasons.
The Isles have a lot of expiring contracts which is good unfortunately they don't have a lot of good players especially veteran players that will likely be moved.
Trent Hunter - Big RW who hits a lot never scored more than 25 goals and he did that way back in 2005, 2million cap hit until 2013 and he has only played 17 games this season. Not much help there.
Blake Comeau - Is another option RFA to be at 24 so unlikely to be trade. He is also the second leading scorer on the Isle behind Travares with 10 G and 14 A. He comes cheap at 0.800 million cap hit. But he is young unproven never seeing playoff action.
Dustin Penner - Now we a talking POWER FORWARD. 6ft 4in 245lb RW who has scored over 25 goals twice in his career and played in some long playoff runs from his days with the Ducks. I remember some issues with his work ethic from discussions on this board when his name came up in the past. Problem here is that he has another year left on his heafty 4.2 million dollar contract making him a tough to impossible fit cap wise.
Not much else on in terms of wingers up in Oil Country besides.....
Alse Hemsky - He is not big 6ft 180lbs but wears an A for the Oilers and plays some PK time averaging over a minute per game on the penalty kill and 3 minutes of PP time. A proven 20 goal scorer who is a plus player on a really bad team. He is the only plus forward on the team to put that statement into perspective. However once again he comes with a hefty price tag 4.1 million dollar cap hit for this and next season without as much offensive upsides or size as Penner.
Not a lot of trade history between Flyers and Ottawa in my memory but lets take a look at the Sens.
Daniel Alfredsson - He is veteran at 37 years of age and the Senators captain and leading point scorer. He does everything for the team PP, PK Even Strength and anchored the once dominate Alfredsson Heatly Spezza line before Heatly wanted to go ruin another team. He also comes at close to 5 million dollar cap hit for the next 2 seasons too rich for too long.
Chris Neil - A Carcillo clone not who makes twice as much money and his a lot older. No Thanks there.
The Brian Burke Maple leafs. They started the season on top of the EAST for a good week or so and now they are who we thought they were. The Leafs 3 best forwards are RWs but we know strength down the middle is much more important and without a good Center or a 1st round draft pick this team is not going anywhere soon.
Kris Versteeg - A 24 year old 20 goal scorer with an all too familiar cup ring. Small in stature put plays an intense game. He was big acquisition for the Leafs this offseason and makes a decent salary at just over 3 million on the cap. Highly unlikely to be traded again.
Colby Armstrong - Another offseason acquisition for the leafs and I player I wanted the Flyers to target this year. He is pick and plays a chippy game but he is over paid costing 3 million in cap hit for this and the next two seasons. He has 10 pts this season in 25 games not bad but 3 million for a 35 point player is just too much.
Not much here either that looks like an upgrade.
Corey Stillman - He is their vet 37 years olds who won back to back cups with Tampa Bay and Carolina many moons ago. He is list officially as a left wing and point production has dropped off considerably with age. He has 10 points in 28 games so far this season. His price tag is also considerably high at 3.5 million but his contract expires at the end of the season. He is probably going to get dealt and won't cost much but I don't think he has enough left to play on our top line.
Steven Bernier - I only bringing up Bernier because he is often traded. So there has to be something GMs see in this kid. Florida is his 4th team in his 6 season career. His career high in points in modest at 32 for the Canucks back in 2008. He plays a Flyers game getting averaging close to 100 PIMs in his career and is supposed to have some offensive upside. Trading for guys who only get 13 minutes of ice time on the Panthers is not something I want to do. He is basically another Carcillo and not going to help out here either.
A team and organization in shambles. GM is fired and they have a lame duck big name coach at the helm. They are probably going to be moving whatever they can to start the rebuilding process. The problem is the team is littered with a lot of bad long term contracts that are going to be hard to move.
Jerome Ingilna - Is the big name and the Captain of the Flames. He hasas been mentioned in some trade Rumors but will cost a lot to get him if he waives his NTC and his price tag would be the biggest on the Flyers coming in at 7 million for the next 2 seasons. He is though probably one the the best if not the best RWs in the game. 9 straight 30+ goal seasons and he is on pace for another 35 goal 70 point season. He embodies Flyers hockey he fights and hits and plays with an attitude. Homer would have to channel his inner Ruben Armaro to get Ingilna. Highly highly unlikely to happen would cost us a top 9 forward for sure Carter or Hartnell perhaps and that isn't getting us anywhere.
Other wingers on the LEFT side.
Rene Bourque - A good size LW 6ft 3in 213 lbs 29 years of age with 3 million dollar cap hit for the next four years. He was recently this offseason resigned by the Flames former GM so I am not sure if he is going to get traded. He is close to equivalent to Hartnell in terms of point production 20 - 25 goals and 50 points per season. He does however take about 1/2 the PIMs.
Alex Tanguay - Tanguay has regained his form after a horrendous run for the Canadians. He contract is very cheap and expiring at the end of this season at 1.7 million dollars. He plays the LW. But is on pace for 20 goals and 60 point season. He might not cost much and has playoff experience and for his career in a +154. He is play maker doesn't like to shoot a lot so I am not sure how that fits with our lineup and like I said before a LW not a RW so again that is an issue.
This is a intriguing team. Will they be buyers or sellers come deadline. Currently they are only 6 points out of the playoff picture. And have a few intriguing options that could be of help the Flyers at wing.
RJ Umberger - former Flyer playoff hero offically listed as center but as we all know RJ can play anywhere. Good size good skill pretty good at just about everything. He cap number is high coming in at 3.5 million bucks. Another tough fit to impossible fit for next season. He is one pace for another 20 plus goals and 55 point season.
Chris Clark - The former Capitals captain who scored 30 goals back in 2006. His point production his way down he is one pace for 10 goals 27 point season. But he does play significant PK time at 2 minutes per game and is a natural RW. Playing with some top talent like Richards could he regain his scoring touch who knows. He is 34 years old and his reasonable 2.4 million dollar contract is up at the end of the season.
Lastly lets take a look at Buffalo. Another team that over paid wingers without ever getting centers for them to play with. I have a few good friends who are Sabers fans and I am hearing the team is going to get sold if it hasn't all ready and they are going to clean house and rebuild around Meyers and Miller. They only have one winger who is worth mentioning. All the others Pominville, Vanek are extremely over paid and I mean extremely overpaid. They are one pace for 45 points and 62 points respectively but have cap hits of 5.45 and 7.1 million extending for the next 3 seasons. That leaves only....
Drew Stafford - Young 25 years of age good size at 6ft 2in 215lbs. He plays an in front of the net back to goalie style from what I remember. And has scored 14 goals and 22 points so far this season. He has a significant upside. I am not sure if where he stands with Buffalo but from the fans I have talked to say his work ethic is not stellar to say the least. His is price tag is very affordable 1.9 million dollars and expiring as a RFA at the end of this season.
Finally to other names worth mentioning as former Flyers RWs.
Mike Knuble - The causality of the Randy Jones Fiasco. He is in the last year of his 2.2 million dollar contract and played very well with Richards only 2 seasons ago. He is another year older at 38 and he only as 9 goals and 9 assists so far this season in 39 games played. He unfortunately plays for conference rival Washington Capitals and is unlikely to be traded to the Flyers if he is to be traded at all.
Scottie Upshall - Another fan favorite and free agent to be. Upshall is on pace for 20 goals and 40 points getting only 13 minutes of ice time for the Coyotes. His 2.250 million cap hit is for this year only. He certainly provides some offensive upside. I question he ability to play with Richards against top line competition. At 6ft 200lbs he doesn't hurt size wise and really did provide some energy to the team with his up tempo play style. Based on PHX recent acquisition of Rosival I am not sure if PHX is going to sell at the deadline. But then again Upshall ins't exactly getting a ton of ice time at 13 minutes per game and Scottie doesn't play on the PP or PK.
So all that being said and that was a lot. I am not exactly sure where the Flyers so look to for winger help or if winger help is actually needed in the 1st place. I am not in love with Nodl playing with Richie and would much rather see him moved down to a 3rd line role.
The 3 best acquisitions would be Chris Clark, Scottie Upshall, and Drew Stafford. All 3 are natural RWs with expiring contracts. Tough decision. I would be leaning towards choosing between Clark and Upshall because they probably would cost the least in trade. I don't know enough of Clark can he skate well enough or if he has enough left in the tank to play with the top line. He adds insurance to the PK which is nice to have to the playoffs.
Nor do I know if Upshall's game has changed enough to play against the top level competition. I think Upshall's speed and willingness to take the body will be a big asset in Lavy's aggressive forecheck system. He reminds a lot of Eric Cole, injuries and all, who had lots of success under Lavy in Carolina.
So I am going to put in to a vote.
Please feel free to add you own names if I missed someone and thanks for reading.