2012 NHL Offseason: Six Free Agents the Philadelphia Flyers Should Target

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IJune 5, 2012

2012 NHL Offseason: Six Free Agents the Philadelphia Flyers Should Target

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    The Philadelphia Flyers have an interesting offseason ahead of them.

    While Flyers fans watch Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in the Stanley Cup Finals, questions will arise in Philly about the future.

    Will Jaromir Jagr return? Is Matt Carle going to be let go? What does Chris Pronger's future look like? Can the rookies improve or was their success a fluke?

    While GM Paul Holmgren will most likely not have a lot of cap room to work with, he should have enough to make a key addition or two. Here are six players that should be on Philadelphia's radar. 

Ryan Suter, D

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    I'll start off by saying that I honestly do not expect Suter to land in Philadelphia. His price tag could easily be above $7 million a year, and I just do not think Holmgren will have that money to spend.

    But if it is possible financially, the Flyers should pursue Suter at all costs. He is in the prime of his career at 27 years old, and would fill in as the No. 1 defenseman in Philly with Kimmo Timonen looking older every day.

    Suter is exceptional at both ends of the ice, and would drastically help both the power play and penalty kill. He is a leader in the locker room as well, and would be the perfect addition to the Flyers. 

Ray Whitney, LW

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    I'll preface this move by saying that the Flyers should only pursue Whitney if either Jagr leaves or James van Riemsdyk is traded.

    Whitney would be a viable replacement for either player, and would be a great third-line winger on the Flyers. Whitney is 40 years old and would only be a one-year rental, but with as much young talent as Philly has, that would be perfectly fine.

    Whitney had 23 goals and 77 points for Phoenix last season, and would be a good fit on a line with Max Talbot and a winger like Matt Read.

Brad Stuart, D

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    The Flyers need depth on defense.

    With Timonen aging and Matt Carle and Pavel Kubina most likely finding new homes this offseason, Philadelphia will be looking to plug in a veteran presence to play with Andrej Meszaros in the future.

    Brad Stuart is a former third overall pick who would bring a defensive-first attitude to the team.

    He is 32 years old, and his price tag should not be too high for the Flyers to make a run at him. Assuming that Ryan Suter is too expensive, Stuart would be a viable next option. 

Barret Jackman, D

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    For all the reasons listed in the previous slide about Brad Stuart, the Flyers need a reliable veteran defenseman.

    Jackman has been an alternate captain for the St. Louis Blues and would bring his leadership and defensive strength to Philadelphia.

    He was a +20 last year for the Blues, and would be a good addition to the Flyers' blue line. 

Bryan Allen, D

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    Another player similar to Stuart and Jackman, Bryan Allen would be a strong addition to the Flyers' blue line.

    Allen is better offensively than Jackman, and at 31 he would be a modestly-priced target. Allen is a big body at 6'4", and could be very effective paired with Andrej Meszaros or Erik Gustafsson.  

Chris Kelly, LW

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    This is kind of a wild card, but I think Chris Kelly would be a great addition to the Flyers.

    The move makes a lot of sense, particularly if Jagr leaves, meaning they could promote one of the rookies to the top line and make room for Kelly to come in as a bottom-six winger.

    There is a pretty good chance Kelly will stay in Boston, but if he tests the market, the Flyers should make an attempt to grab him.

    He went to the Bruins in the middle of last season and was outstanding for them, and his all-around game would bring great balance to Philadelphia.