The Philadelphia Flyers have needed to dress eight rookies on a regular basis. They currently sit at the fourth seed in the Eastern conference despite the lack of experience in the roster.
With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, Paul Holmgren will be hard-pressed to make a move. But should he make a trade to make a trade?
Perhaps this is just not the year for the Orange and Black. Maybe being patient with this promising crop of rookies is the course to take.
Or maybe they are missing that one piece to spark the inferno of a championship run.
Either way, the Flyers showed over the past weekend that they need help on the blue line and the penalty kill.
In order to fix these areas, the Flyers might only have to spend some low draft picks or prospects in Adirondack—much like the way they picked up Ilya Bryzgalov last summer.
Allow me to present the moves they must consider at the trade deadline.
Niklas Grossman is a solid stay-at-home defenseman. He posts a 0 in plus/minus despite being on a team that is minus-12 in goal differential.
Given that the Flyers have a third defensive pairing consisting of rookies, Grossman could be a perfect fit. He's making under $2 million per year and is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.
Since Grossman is likely to be a free agent this summer and the rising premium that defensemen suddenly command, the Flyers might be able to pluck him from Dallas inexpensively.
If the price is right, the Flyers should take a hard look at this one.
Bryan Allen is another pending free agent that the Flyers should take a long hard look at.
With Chris Pronger lost indefinitely and the rookie tandem of Marc Andre-Bourdon paired with Eric Gustafsson, an added veteran presence such as Allen would help with the Flyers' defensive struggles.
Evidently, the Flyers have their sights on Allen; however, he would need to waive his no-trade clause.
Given the situation in Carolina by contrast to Philadelphia, Allen most likely would want to be on a playoff contender come April.
Allen's cap hit is under $3 million which puts his salary in a more feasible range for the Flyers as well.
This is definitely the guy to get if the Flyers are going the rental route. In Allen and Grossman, you would hope they could re-sign for a few more years.
With Gill, you know even if he doesn't re-sign, he will be a rock in the playoffs. Just look at the wingspan he has in the picture—making it very difficult for Ilya Kovalchuk to circumvent Gill's position.
Even though he's 36 years old, Gill has plenty of hockey left in him. Acquiring him from Montreal should not be too expensive.
If it isn't, the Flyers need to really consider this.
Rutuu and the Hurricanes are believed to be reaching a decision on his future with the organization.
He's a big and tough forward with scoring touch. The Flyers have plenty of scoring, but they also have plenty of inexperience.
Ruutu is in the last year of deal with a $3.8 million cap hit. The Flyers would easily be able to get him under the cap. However the question is: what do they have to give up?
If the Hurricanes want Matt Read or James van Riemsdyk, then forget it. Maybe Bourdon or Gustafsson with a pick or two, but Ruutu in my opinion is not worth going overboard for.
The Flyers' penalty kill was awful this past weekend. Most want to rail on the defensemen, but in sincerity the forwards are not pulling their weight.
Gaustad's numbers aren't like that of Giroux or Danny Briere, but that's alright. That's because Gaustad is a hard-nosed penalty killer and checking center—something the Flyers need badly.
Right now, Sean Couturier plays center in between Tom Sestito and Zac Rinaldo.
Despite being a green 18-year-old rookie, Couturier is better suited at playing on a better line where his offensive skills can flourish.
A player like Gaustad would definitely impact the Flyers' outlook on defensive play and penalty killing—which makes him my No. 1 move they must consider.
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