The Philadelphia Flyers are having a pleasantly quiet offseason in comparison to last year, which featured the dramatic trades of the team’s captain and top goal-scorer and the signing of a goaltender to a nine-year deal all in the span of hours.
Though the Flyers have made their share of offers, GM Paul Holmgren remains committed to the team’s youth movement and seems to be relying on the presumed development of players like Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek to keep Philadelphia competitive in 2012-13.
The team has made minor additions in the form of Ruslan Fedotenko, Bruno Gervais and Luke Schenn, resulting in a deep lineup.
Nonetheless, the Flyers still find themselves at the center of conversation for a number of available players, whether via trade or free agency.
Rick Nash Rumors Won’t Go Away
With free agents Ryan Suter and Zach Parise off the market, the most coveted prize of the pool of available player has become Rick Nash, who is not even a free agent.
Nash is famously on Columbus’s trading block, but GM Scott Howson, who wound up getting 39 games out of Jeff Carter at the expense of Jakub Voracek’s 49 points and No. 8 overall pick Sean Couturier’s stellar play, has no intention of getting the short end of the stick this time.
The Carolina Hurricanes had a legitimate interest in Nash but, according to CBSSports, backed off when the Blue Jackets demanded Jeff Skinner in a Nash deal. CSN Philly has reported that Columbus set the market equally high for the Flyers, requesting both Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier in a potential trade with the Flyers.
As of now, the Flyers have not budged on their unwillingness to trade either rookie sensation acquired last summer, and Holmgren seems increasingly more committed to making Schenn and Couturier major parts of the Flyers organization for years to come.
Bobby Ryan the Backup Plan?
It is unfair to call Bobby Ryan the poor man’s Rick Nash, as Ryan has put up similar goal totals in the last four years and has the advantages of being younger and coming cheaper than the Columbus superstar.
Nonetheless, that is exactly how Ryan has been labeled this offseason, as teams unwilling to fork over major prospects for Nash could acquire the disgruntled Duck for a more reasonable price.
Ryan is a native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, which makes him an attractive option for the Flyers. However, Nash has a say in where he lands thanks to a no-trade clause. No matter where Ryan wants to end up, the Anaheim front office has the final say.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun has speculated that a Ryan trade makes more sense than a Nash trade for Philadelphia. Ryan comes $2.7 million cheaper and would likely cost less on the Flyers' end, but the Flyers may have lost their best bargaining chip by trading James van Riemsdyk to Toronto. With JVR gone, the Flyers have little to offer, especially if Schenn and Couturier are off-limits.
A homecoming for Ryan is likely a pipe dream, no matter how well he would fit in the Philadelphia system.
Doan in Orange and Black?
NBC Sports writer Joe Yerdon has reported that Shane Doan will not consider making a decision about his future until July 9, when the Coyotes’ future in Glendale becomes clearer. If the team cannot guarantee it will stay in Arizona long-term, Doan may choose to finish out his career elsewhere.
The Flyers just lost their wily veteran right winger Jaromir Jagr to the Dallas Stars, and Doan seems like a natural replacement. He would bring an extra layer of leadership and discipline to the Flyers’ locker room, and Philly could provide Doan with his shot at a Stanley Cup.
The Flyers are not alone in courting Phoenix’s captain. Yahoo!Sports has identified 11 teams that are interested in Doan's services.
But with a need for leadership and a right winger, and having swung and missed on all other major free agent opportunities this offseason, Doan may be Philly's last chance to round out the team (Philly.com).
Stay tuned for Doan’s initial decision about his future in Phoenix, and the potential subsequent mad scramble for his services later today.