I expect the Flyers to make a big move for a defenseman soon. Possibly before the trade deadline.
As we all know, The Flyers are not afraid to make trades. Every year I picture Paul Holmgren sitting calmly in a chair next to a fireplace, with a class of Cognac...and then...ever so slowly... he puts on his Rambo Bandanna because he knows he's about to do something insane.
Over the past few years, great, big name players such as Chris Pronger, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Vinny Lecavalier, Mark Streit and Ilya Bryzgalvov (Ok...Bryz wasn't so great. Abysmal actually) were either brought in or shipped out. Let's not forget the Shea Weber debacle (Miss you Shea)
The Richards and Carter trades forever changed to look and identity of the Flyers. Both were traded to make room for the insane Bryzgalov contract but the Flyers also got players in return:
To LA: Mike Richards
To CBJ: Jeff Carter
(I don't care what anybody says, Philly won both those trades but I digress..)
Meanwhile, Matt Read was brought in as an undrafted Free Agent (!)
Since all that craziness went down, Read, Schenn and Coots have become mainstays on the roster and have been subject to trade rumors at one time or another. All have contributed nicely and all have dealt with various injuries.
Now, Let's compare.
Matt Read: RW, 164 GP, 48 G, 49 A, 94 PTS, Age 27 (3.6 M cap hit through 2017-2018)
The elder statesman of the group (He's only 27) Read is a fantastic depth guy. Capable of playing either wing on any line, he routinely puts up 20+ goals per season while playing mainly on a 3rd line that is more focused on defense. His Cap hit is quite friendly as well.
Sean Couturier: C, 173 GP, 25G, 40 A, 65 PTS, Age 21 (1.75 M cap hit through 2015-2016)
The Flyers' N0.1 shutdown Center and Penalty Killer. Coots takes most of his faceoffs in the defensive zone and is usually put up against the opposing team's best lines. He may never be an offensive juggernaut but he's not counted on to be either. At 21 years old, he still has time to find some offensive punch. Again, another nice cap hit...although short.
The Score had some nice things to say about Coots:
Brayden Schenn: C, 160 GP, 33G, 43 A, 76 PTS, Age 22 (Cap hit/Length to be decided)
The Flyers' No.2 Center, Schenn has been struggling with consistency here an there but seems to be finding his groove. He's currently 4th in team scoring and finished 5th last season. Schenn has the ability to play a physical game while provide top 6 offense. He has also shown to be able to raise his game in the playoffs, posting 9 PTS in 11 Games. At only 22 years old, Schenn has plenty of time to become a premier Power Forward. He needs a new contract and will receive offers from opposing teams.
Based on all three, I think Schenn makes the most sense. I really do think that he will blossom into a Top 10 Power Forward but the Flyers have a bit of a log jam at Center right now. Lecavalier isn't going anywhere and would be best used at 2nd line C, oh and Scott Laughton will contend for a roster spot next season.
It'll certainly take more than Brayden Schenn to get an elite D Man but I can see him being one of the main pieces in a deal to get one.