As it stands, the projected Flyers' lineup is clogged with centers, right wingers, and middle-tier defenseman. Given GM Ron Hextall's assertion that guys will have to "play their way onto the roster" along with his acknowledgment that a player's development has never been hindered by spending an extra season in the minors, there is much speculation. The projected lineup in heavy rotation includes players suspected to be on the trading block and players not currently on the roster. One glaring, and team acknowledged need is that the team wants a bonafide top-line left wing.
Popular theories to mitigate this need are not limited to the following: sign Peter Mueller/Dustin Penner/David Booth/Daniel Winnik, let Brayden Schenn/Vincent LeCavalier/Matt Read/Wayne Simmonds, etc. play LW, and (my favourite) trade for Evander Kane. It's all over the map! Which, if any, of these theories morph into reality is anyone's guess. The club is holding the cards close to their vest, and not giving any hints on what the actual plan is, or if there even is one.
Ideally (my ideal), the team would acquire Evander Kane for enough money on the roster to bring the Flyers into cap compliance BEFORE they do the ol' Pronger-to-LTIR move. That way they'd be able to sign other players to flesh out the roster and add some depth (that Kevin Christmann article was totally boss). Winnipeg, however, seems to understand that their player, perhaps disgruntled to be playing for them, is still a phenomenal talent who shouldn't and won't just be given away. Realistically, it would take BSchenn or Cotourier as a start*, with hope that the Flyers could also include a defenseman not named Coburn, making +$3m/yr in the deal. That is some wishful thinking, but if it came to fruition...that first line – SPLOOSH.
Where were we?
Some of those UFA names may want more time/money than the team is willing to pay (the "new" regime seems like they want to change blowing up their budget for borderline players). Some of those names come with concussion and other health issues. The fact that we are already knee-deep into free agency, and none of these UFAs have signed with ANY team (yet) should also give pause.
Craig Berube has already intimated that Matt Read will not play on the top line because he doesn't provide them with size. That's a shame because the guy can play physical and that line would be really fun to watch. Wayne Simmonds would be a physical force on that line, but he plays RW and makes the second line hum. The organization has shown it would rather play BSchenn at center on the 2nd line than move him to the top line LW. They have also iterated they will not move Scott Laughton from center to wing, and his size is comparable to Matt Read, so that won't happen. Ditto Michael Raffl. RJ Umberger is not the answer, either.
If we take a look at what's left in the bag, the current best option is Vincent Lecavalier. Vinny Lecav? Really? The same guy they tried to use exactly the same way last year? No thank you. Make the deal with Winnipeg.
*if you disgree then you are seriously undervaluing a fast, physical, skilled, top-line, 30-goal scoring, 22 year-old LW, while also foolishly convincing yourself that Winnipeg management is incredibly inept.