NHL Free Agency: Top 5 RFA Defencemen for Philadelphia Flyers Post-Shea Weber

Suraj Sukumar@Sukumar_S87Correspondent IIAugust 1, 2012

NHL Free Agency: Top 5 RFA Defencemen for Philadelphia Flyers Post-Shea Weber

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    The Philadelphia Flyers tried to pry Shea Weber from the Nashville Predators by offering him a contract that would be difficult to match. 

    So much for that. 

    Now that the Predators have put the Weber rumours to rest, the question is, who are the Flyers chasing now?

    While Paul Holmgren tried to flash the green once, it would seem plausible that he might try again. 

    Here are the top five restricted free agents on defense that Holmgren should try to steal...sorry, acquire. 

5. Jonathon Blum

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    Blum has been playing behind some of the best defensemen the NHL has to offer, and yet, he seems to be holding his own.

    With limited action, Blum has proven at both the AHL and NHL levels that he belongs in the pros.

    Given his ice-time in Nashville will always take a hit with Weber and other experienced defensemen in the system, maybe a change of scenery could be just the thing. 

    He will most likely not become a high-end defensemen like the following candidates, but he could certainly provide some youthful depth on a team that is lacking at the defenseman position. 

    Holmgren couldn't snatch Nashville's best, but maybe he could snatch Blum instead?

    Doubtful, moving on... 

4. Cody Franson

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    Cody Franson is another Nashville product on defense who was poised to make a big impact with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. 

    That didn't happen. In fact, Franson wasn't even a starter at the beginning of the season.  

    Nevertheless, Franson has had success at the NHL level and should be given a chance to perform as a top four pairing.  

    He has played with great defensemen like Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, which can only improve his abilities and experience at the NHL level. 

    The Maple Leafs have a large crop of defensemen to work with, and it would be shocking to not see some changes made before the beginning of the season. 

    Maybe Holmgren can help the Maple Leafs out by signing Cody Franson to an offer sheet? I'm sure Franson wouldn't have any objections. 

3. Dmitry Kulikov

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    Dmitry Kulikov possesses incredible offensive talent that could be a huge asset for the Philadelphia Flyers. 

    Not only will he improve the ability to score from the blue-line, but he will be able to provide great passes down low to the elite crop of forwards currently in Philadelphia. 

    Kulikov, however, comes with an injury bug that he has yet to kick.  Given the medical history of the Flyers' blue-line, his luck won't likely change in the city of brotherly love. 

    Nevertheless, the Flyers powerplay would become even deadlier than it was last year, making them a serious offensive force in the NHL, again. 

2. John Carlson

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    John Carlson has yet to receive an offer from the Washington Capitals, which is surprising to say the least. 

    In two full NHL seasons, Carlson has yet to miss a game, and has amassed at least 30 points in both seasons as well. 

    If there's any defenseman to steal, it should be him. 

    The Capitals have made the grave mistake of not signing him, and Holmgren should definitely consider taking a chance on him. 

    Healthy all year and 30 points from the blue-line, that's something the Flyers could really use. 

1. P.K. Subban

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    Is there really a better fit for the orange and black?

    P.K. Subban has yet to receive an offer from the Montreal Canadiens, and given Holmgren's style, he could easily have Subban on his radar. 

    If Montreal hasn't learned anything from the Nashville situation, they better get their star defenseman locked up soon. 

    Subban will surely become a premier, top-line defender with high-end offensive talent. If the Montreal Canadiens don't want him, I'm sure there are plenty of suitors on the waiting list. 

    Though Holmgren failed to sign Weber, he could always make a push for any one of these quality defensemen. 

    Stay tuned.