Philadelphia Flyers: Paul Gaustad Next Shoe to Drop?

Joe RussomannoCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2012

UNIONDALE, NY - FEBRUARY 04:  Paul Gaustad #28 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on February 4, 2012 in Uniondale, New York. The Sabres defeated the Islanders 4-3 in the shootout.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Last night, Paul Holmgren made a crucial move to shore up a beleaguered Philadelphia Flyer blue line. As anyone who follows the team could tell you, the work isn't done yet. A player like Paul Gaustad should be in their sites.

In an earlier article, I discussed how Nicklas Grossman was a player that the Flyers should consider getting, and they did. At the time, I was concerned that the rising premium of defensemen would be too much. However, the Flyers managed to get him rather inexpensively.

After seeing how cheaply the Flyers plucked Grossman, I think it shouldn't be too difficult to grab Gaustad either.

Going forward, there is one more glaring weakness: a need for a third- or fourth-line center that can win faceoffs, kill penalties and shut down the other team. Paul Gaustad more than fits that bill.

Buffalo is a struggling team and is looking to retool. Paul Gaustad could get them some draft picks or impact roster players for cheaper while they shed his salary. The Sabres will need cap space to re-sign other pending free agents or acquire other pieces to fix a struggling attack.

Gaustad is a pending free agent this year and commands a hefty $2.3 million cap hit. It is unlikely he will command that much in the offseason, but the Flyers should have no trouble matching that while keeping the team intact.

Last weekend, the Flyers were victimized by a brutal penalty kill against New York, giving up three power-play goals. Then, against Detroit, they gave up two more. In one more move, this team could have a whole new look and be able to contend for that which matters most: a Stanley Cup!