The deadline came and went. The Flyers still have a glaring need on defense. Snider and Holmgren have said everything will be evaluated in the offseason concerning firings, changes, trades, buyouts, etc. The Flyers plan to sign a #1 dman in free agency or they plan to pull off a trade to get their dman. Holmgren loves crazy trades and big ufa signings.
A pretty weak crop of demn this year. I do not see any of the free agent dmen as a true blue stud #1 dman. There are a couple of honorable mentions and then the next tier. Then the talent falls off sharply. I'm not overly impressed by any of those names.
Sergei Gonchar - he has his uses but not a #1 anymore, too old. could be good addition for a year.
Mark Streit - This dude can play but for how much longer? he's getting up there and his price won't be cheap. i'd rather stay away unless he'll take a 3 year deal at a good price, which is doubtful.
What about other teams' potential buyouts?
Brian Campbell - Florida would rather trade campbell then pay him for years to come with a buyout to not play.
Keith Yandle - Phoenix isn't in a financial position to pay players for leaving. Ballard could be alright for the right price.
Mike Green - is a great offensive dman but lacks in his own zone, while Green wouldn't be the worst addition I don't think its a proper fit for the Flyers.
Paul Martin - hasn't looked great for pittsburgh this year and he's not a #1 but maybe a nice consolation prize.
Keith Ballard - nice depth d but not a #1
Hjalmarsson - snore.
Anton Volchenkov - would be interested but I don't see Lamoriello buying him out.
Eric Brewer - not a #1 and at 33 too old for long term
Erik Johnson - is he a bust? supposed to be a #1 not quite there consistently at all. i'd take a chance on him but not as immediate solution for #1 dman. Let him play on second pairing for a few years and he could be a nice 1st pairing w Luke Schenn. I really doubt Colorado buys him out anyway, they gave up a lot last year to get him and then to buy him out, doesn't make sense. A 3.75 cap hit isn't the worst thing ever.
So after known free agents and considering potential buyouts, there are some options and the Flyers wouldn't have to give up any young talent in acquiring one of these guys. However I think there is better to be had.
Flyers' Trade Bait
Sean Couturier - Every team the Flyers are going to deal with are going to start with Couturier, plain and simple. He could potentially be saved if Philly's 1st rnd pick is high enough and Holmgren is willing to trade the pick rather than Couturier. Couturier was considered untouchable for Shea Weber last year. This year I could see Holmgren biting the bullet and offering Couturier for a top notch dman.
Brayden Schenn - Rumors were around Shea Weber watch last summer that the starting point was Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier. B. Schenn isn't going anywhere now that Luke Schenn is on the team. They might get broken up eventually but not after only a shortened season. If I was Paul Holmgren I would've traded B. Schenn and JVR as the centerpiece of a Shea Weber deal last year.
Matt Read - first off, let me admit, I have a man crush on Matt Read and want him to be a Flyer for life. In the real world though, Read is 26 and his next contract, next year is going be in the 3-4 mill ballpark. I could see a team overpaying for him in free agency easily. With Giroux and Voracek likely getting long term big money deals soon someone has to go. Read is the best option, he has a ton of value and is closer to 30 than Schenn or Couturier. Replacing Read would be easier and cheaper than replacing Schenn or Couturier.
Danny Briere - A team looking for veteran experience and some offensive pop could use Briere. Who could really use Briere? Teams that need to get to the cap floor. Danny's cap hit is 6.5 but actually paid salary is 3 next year and 2 the next. For teams like Phoenix or Nashville that could be pretty valuable. Also if said team not in playoff hunt could flip Danny B. come deadline time to a contender for a pick or 2. Danny is a buyout this summer or traded next deadline. I'd rather see Briere in the West come playoff time if he is traded.
Scott Hartnell - I don't know how much he could bring back after a miserable year. I don't know if taking him out of the locker room is a great idea but I don't like what he does for his price tag. L.A. supposedly has a boner for Scotty. If that's true I bet some other GMs might at least have a chub for him.
Braydon Coburn - I'm done w Coburn. Dude can skate, he's big, great physical ability but he doesn't have a brain, I swear. However he is an experienced mobile NHL dman. It seems dumb to trade him with Flyers needing D so badly but I'd rather keep the cheaper, smarter, more reliable Huskins than Coburn. Coburn's young and able enough to merit something of value in a trade.
Andrej Meszaros - Eh. I doubt he's going to bring anything back in a trade.
Max Talbot - Is he expendable? Max plays his role perfectly and can chip in more offensively than previously thought. His cap hit isn't terrible and he's a perfect 4th/3rd line center and PK guy. Good veteran with loads of experience for younger guys to be around. If a team insists on Max(which is highly unlikely) and it's all that stands in the way of a deal then ok trade Max.
Who's been in the rumor mill the past couple years?
Keith Yandle - Phoenix has oliver ekman larsson and a few more young d prospects in the pipeline. Yandle's 5.25 cap hit is a lot for a broke ass ice hockey team in the desert. Holmgren has talked Yandle trade w Phx last year at the draft and this year. Yandle could work but he'll cost Couturier, I like Couturier's future better than what Yandle brings.
P.K. Subban - is awesome but is he a #1 dman at this point who can anchor the Philly blueline? potentially, it'll will cost Couturier to find out. The year Subban is having his price has most likely gone up too.
Dustin Byfuglien - could be pretty awesome, but again it will cost Couturier to find out.
Brent Burns - kind of a high risk high reward player. Tons of potential but he seems to be remaining stagnant/regressing in his progress with a pretty big cap hit. Burns would cost Couturier too.
Brian Campbell - would be great but he isn't going to be able to compete at a high enough level for the length of his massive contract. Tallon gave it to him, Tallon should have to deal with it.
Zach Bogosian - is in the Winnipeg purgatory, once highly touted, now not so trusted. Bogosian's cost would be cheaper than the above dmen but also the riskiest for a #1 dman. He is an rfa this summer too.
Hopes and Dreams
Bobby Ryan has been in Flyer rumors for years. Ducks reportedly want Couturier plus for Bobby. Any chance Holmgren sweetens the pot and asks for Cam Fowler too? Now that would be awesome, but is it realistic? Fowler was amazing as a rookie and has been inconsistent since the last couple years, maybe he needs a change of scenery? The price for Bobby Ryan is Sean Couturier plus, what's plus? a 1st rnd pick? Matt Read? Gus? or any combination of those? If I'm Holmgren I offer Read/Hartnell or Coburn/1st. Ducks might counter with Couturier/Read/Laughton/1st, wanting all entry level contracts after Perry/Getzlaf extensions. I could see something along the lines of Bobby Ryan/Cam Fowler for Couturier/Hartnell/Read/1st, 2 cheap young guys and Hartnell's cheaper than Ryan(not by much but some). Simmonds can take Hartnell's spot. Sign a cheaper ufa gritty winger to fill in for Simmonds. David Clarkson or Michael Ryder wouldn't be bad ufa replacements for the right price. Laughton can hopefully take Couturier's spot, Read is the most replaceable of the 3. If the 1st ends up being high enough of a pick maybe Hartnell/Read/1st is enough for Ryan and Fowler?
Does Nashville start to regret the Shea Weber contract? Maybe after one full year or two has passed Holmgren could trade for Weber? I know its unrealistic but this section is Hopes and Dreams. I would do a deal of Couturier/Read/Briere/Coburn or Hartnell/1st for Shea Weber. It seems like too many roster players are being sent to Nashville. Maybe swap out Read for Laughton.
I'd rather not see Couturier go but if it solves the lack of #1 dman it'll be worth it.
In a Perfect Futuristic 21st Century World
The Flyers could send Coburn and Timonen to the doctor. The doctor performs a body transplant for Kimmo. Timonen's brain with Coburn's body/skills, all is well and no trade needed.
In reality, I know at some point in the offseason I'll react to some Flyers' news with "What?!?! No way!!! That's crazy!!!" How do you see Holmgren fixing the blue line in the offseason? Who's got some good "hope and dream" trade scenarios?