NHL Trade Deadline: Philadelphia Flyers Could Target Offensive Defenseman

Patrick PowellContributor IIFebruary 18, 2012

UNIONDALE, NY - JANUARY 24:  Luke Schenn #2 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in action against the New York Islanders on January 24, 2012 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The Maple Leafs defeated the Islanders 4-3 after overtime.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

In Saturday's matinee tilt with the cross-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins, the Philadelphia Flyers have shown a power play look which features center Danny Briere on the point. The Matt Read Experiment failed, and the latest move underscores the Flyers' need for a right handed shot on the point.

The Flyers' defensemen are all left handed.

Since all the defensemen are left handed, penalty killers can cheat on the power play by overplaying one side of the ice. This limits the Flyers' options, and it takes the Flyers longer to release shots. The delay allows the shorthanded unit to re-position and to block more shots.

Flyers' fans have probably heard Flyers' play-by-play announcer Jim Jackson say, "(Name of Flyers' defenseman) shot- blocked!" far too many times.

The Flyers may be eyeing Toronto Maple Leafs' defenseman Luke Schenn, who is the older brother of Flyers' center/wing Brayden Schenn. Since the Leafs are in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, they would probably demand a roster player in return in any potential deal, despite the fact that Schenn has been scratched often of late.

Schenn is a raw talent who possesses both offensive and physical skills.

The elder Schenn is a 2008 first round draft pick who came to the Leafs with promise of becoming a first pairing defender for a long time. His overzealousness in trying to make a big hit and seeming lapse of concentration have put him out of position at times.

Schenn's cap hit is $3.6 million for the next five seasons, so he is affordable, and he would not be a rental player by any means.

He has two goals and 15 assists (one on the power play) this season.

His career high in points is 22. Some defensemen take a long time to develop, but can the Flyers take the risk when they need help now?

RALEIGH, NC - OCTOBER 07:  Pavel Kubina #13 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center on October 7, 2011 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Lightning defeated the Hurricanes 5-1.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Another option for the Flyers is 35 year old Pavel Kubina of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kubina may have several suitors including the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, and New York Rangers.

He is in the final season of a contract that pays an average annual value of $3.85 million.

Kubina won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004, but he was hardly a major contributor with four assists in 22 games. His best playoff run was in 2011 when he scored two goals and added one assist.

Given that Kubina's price may be high, it would be difficult to justify a payment for a guy needed to play a role in which he has never been able to fulfill in his career.

Still, Schenn and Kubina may be the Flyers best options for a right handed defender. The other options would be younger, less experienced players than Schenn or veteran, highly expensive players.

The Flyers' primary concern following a 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins is goaltending, and neither Schenn nor Kubina would seem to be the right fit to keep the puck out of the net.

Perhaps the Flyers will look in a completely different direction (teaser for next piece).