Philadelphia Flyers: 4 Veterans Who Could Take the Team to the Next Level
Throughout the 2011-12 regular season, the Philadelphia Flyers played pretty well and made strides while implementing their rookies.
One of the team’s biggest upsides of the season was also one of their vices: youth.
While youngsters like Matt Read and Jakub Voracek stepped up and made instant impacts, the Broad Street Bullies seemed to lack a veteran presence when it needed it most - the playoffs.
Given that issue, one thing that needs to be added to the squad is proven leaders and experienced players.
Now recognizing this deficiency, the team will be looking to add a few players via free agency who can provide a much-needed sense of leadership next season.
Shea Weber (Nashville)
With Chris Pronger probably not coming back and Matt Carle possibly leaving via free agency, the Flyers will need a defenseman with proven leadership qualities for next season.
Now, there are a handful of skaters they could go after, but the perfect fit would be Nashville Predators star Shea Weber.
While Weber is a restricted free agent and probably not a reasonable addition to the Flyers' cap space, he is everything you want in a defender, and if acquired, he would change the face of Philadelphia's defense.
Even though the front office would probably have to part ways with a few limbs, a proven All-Star like Weber is well worth the asking price.
In terms of ability, Weber's combination of size and skill is extremely rare in defenders these days.
Weber was also the face of the Predators franchise and handled that responsibility with an aura of experience and responsibility on the ice.
Bottom line: Philadelhia's front office would be fools not to put an offer in for him.
Bryan Allen (Carolina)
One guy that would fit the mold of a veteran defender would be Carolina's Bryan Allen.
A big, bruising rearguard, Allen would fit right in at the Wells Fargo Center in black and orange.
The 31-year-old Allen had a minus-1 mark last season but has proven his effectiveness and ability to stay healthy the past three seasons, making him a valuable and cheap pickup.
With his ability to stay fit and avoid injury, Allen could provide the team with a consistent presence on the blue line – something that would be huge for the team’s young players.
While he won't be a flashy signing by the Flyers, and it probably won't gain much press, Allen has a wealth of experience and should run Philly less than $3 million.
Shane Doan (Phoenix)
Even though he cooled off late in the season and playoffs, the 40-year-old played out of his mind early in the year and gave the rookie forwards someone to look up to for guidance.
If he were to leave, an ideal situation would see the Flyers bring in another experienced scorer, and maybe even one who could last a whole season.
One skater who would garner a boat load of interest would be play-maker Shane Doan.
At 35 years old, Doan isn’t quite what he used to be, but he’s no slouch at his age either.
The seventh overall pick in the 1995 Draft made use of his chances last season, scoring 22 goals and dishing out 28 assists.
Although he posted a minus-8 mark on the season, Doan would give the Flyers a legitimate scoring threat who could stick around for a few years and mentor the younger guys.
Jamie Langenbrunner (St. Louis)
Outside of Shane Doan, another forward that could provide a mature presence for the young Flyers wingers would be veteran Jamie Langenbrunner.
If the Flyers are looking for experience at the forward position, they don't need to look any further than the St. Louis Blues alternate captain.
Not only did Langenbrunner captained the 2010 United States Olympic Team, but the 36-year-old also has a wealth of playoff experience. That includes two Stanley Cup victories, one with Dallas in 1999, and another with the Devils in 2003.
And it's not like the man is lacking terribly in terms of actual playing ability.
Sure he's getting older, but Langenbrunner is a guy who can log valuable minutes on the third or fourth line while performing well on the penalty kill.