The Flyers are now in need of a third-line center with the absences of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Many agree that the Flyers should give Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier more time to develop before sticking them in that role. There are many centers on the market this year, but who would be the best fit? The Flyers need a big body who is capable of playing in a shutdown role, so here are some possibilities.
Laich seems to be the favourite to fill this void. He has proven to be a solid two-way player in Washington. Laich even played second-line for a good amount of his time with the capitals. Laich tallied 16 goals and 32 assists for 48 points this year. Laich also played in all 82 games (which he has done three of the last four seasons), averaging 18:25 minutes per night. He could be a valuable player for the Flyers if he signs for a reasonable price.
Another formal Capital who could be a good fit in the orange and black. Belanger had a solid season this year with the Coyotes, tallying 13 goals and 27 assists for 40 points while competing in all 82. He averaged just 17:20 minutes this year and only took 36 minutes in penalties. He only made 750,000 last year, so he will be looking for a raise, although it won't be that big. His low price-tag might be attractive for the Flyers.
The former Flyer might be in the running for a job in Philly. His large stature of 6 foot 4 inches could be a great fit in that third-line checking role. Although his offensive skills may have dropped over the past couple of seasons, Handzus still put up 30 points while playing in all 82 games this season while averaging 17:20 minutes per night. He will be taking a substantial pay cut from the 4 million he made last season, so he may be a good fit in Philly. Handzus has only missed one game in the passed four seasons and led the Kings in blocked shots each of the passed four seasons.
Another player who played all 82 games, Reasoner could very well be a tremendous fit in Philadelphia. Reasoner has a descently large frame of 6 foot 1 inch and weighing 205 pounds. Reasoner put up 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points this year, averaging 17:09 minutes per game on a poor Panthers team. Reasoner could be attracitve for his cheap price tag.
Arnott is a guy who would bring a lot of grit and leadership to the Flyers' line-up. The soon-to-be 37-year-old has a massive frame of 6 foot 5 inches and still knows what to do in the offensive zone. Arnott would have to take a large pay cut in order to come to Philly from his current salary of 4.5 million per season.
Who would be the best fit?
The best fit for the third-line center role is Brooks Laich. He is a sound defensive player who has a tremendous offensive up-side. Laich would make the Flyers better and would fill the role well. Laich has proven his offensive skills with three consecutive seasons of tallying 20-plus goals, although that streak was stopped this year after only tallying 16 goals.
Who is realistic?
Handzus is probably the most realistic fit in Philly. He will be asking less money than Laich and is still an excellent defensive-forward. Handzus has tremendous size for the position and role the Flyers are looking for. While the Flyers would be losing offense should Handzus be chosen over Laich, they would gain size and would be better defensively.