NHL Free Agency: Players the Flyers Can Pursue After Losing Shea Weber
By now, the image of Shea Weber wearing orange and black has become a distant fantasy, a pleasant daydream that, for a little less than a week, had a chance to be a reality.
The team is, no doubt, looking ahead to the 2012-13 season with its young roster, but the offseason is still upon us, and there still exist some options that would help the Flyers round out their roster by using the money that would have gone to Weber’s massive contract.
Here are seven possibilities for the Flyers to pursue before the summer is over.
Carlo Colaiacovo, D
2011-12 Stats: 64 GP, 2 G, 17 A, 19 P
2011-12 Salary: $2.125 million
Carlo Colaiacovo may not be able to match Shea Weber in size or strength, but the depth he would bring to the Flyers defense is a worthwhile investment for Paul Holmgren.
The team has a number of question marks with Kimmo Timonen's age, Andrej Meszaros's health and Luke Schenn's development, so it may be necessary to have some extra experience and ability available should one or more of these players falter.
Colaiacovo is versatile enough to fill in for any of them.
Milan Jurcina, D
2011-12 Stats: 65 GP, 3 G, 8 A, 11 P
2011-12 Salary: $1.6 million
Having played for three different teams since 2009-10, Milan Jurcina has become a bit of a journeyman defenseman.
His size is attractive (6'4", 245 lbs) given the big body that Philly missed out on when Shea Weber was re-signed by the Predators. However, Jurcina's physicality doesn't compare to Weber's, and he brings little to the table in terms of offense.
If Jurcina did sign with the Flyers, it would likely be a depth move that would only get Jurcina on the ice in Philly if injuries occurred. Still, no good hockey analyst would tell you that a team can have too much depth or too much size on defense.
Shane Doan, RW
2011-12 Stats: 79 GP, 22 G, 28 A, 50 P
2011-12 Salary: $4.55 million
Reports today suggest that Shane Doan's non-Phoenix options have been narrowed to Pittsburgh, Vancouver and the New York Rangers. The Flyers appear to be out of the running for Doan, but until Doan has made a decision, Philadelphia's interest keeps them in the conversation.
The only obvious offensive deficiency the Flyers have exists on the right wing, Jaromir Jagr's old position. The young team now lacks its veteran character leader, a role that Doan is perfectly suited to fill.
Combine his character with his impressive point production, and Doan remains Philly's most sensible offensive fit—if the price is right.
Chris Campoli, D
2011-12 Stats: 43 GP, 2 G, 9 A, 11 P
2011-12 Salary: $1.75 million
Like Colaiacovo and Jurcina, Chris Campoli represents a defensive possibility for depth at an affordable price.
Campoli is smaller than other defensemen on this list, but the Flyers have a positive history with undersized blueliners like Matt Carle, Kimmo Timonen and up-and-comer Erik Gustafsson.
If Paul Holmgren finds himself needing a third-pairing puck-mover, Campoli could prove to be a cheap but experienced option.
Colin White, D
2011-12 Stats: 51 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 4 P
2011-12 Salary: $1 million
Flyers fans will not think of Colin White positively, as the shutdown defenseman will forever be remembered as the progeny of hated Devils Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko.
Nonetheless, the nasty juggernaut still knows his way around a defensive zone, a trait that the Flyers lacked before the 2012 trade deadline.
White made only $1 million last year, and for a Flyers team that struggled to stay strong in its own zone, White could be a cheap defensive upgrade from third-pairing defenders like Andreas Lilja or Erik Gustafsson.
Petr Sykora, RW
2011-12 Stats: 82 GP, 21 G, 23 A, 44 P
2011-12 Salary: $650,000
Petr Sykora returned to the NHL in 2011-12 after a year in Europe. He wasted no time proving that he can still play in the big leagues by tallying 44 points while playing in every Devils' regular season game.
Sykora spent years killing the Flyers as a member of the Devils, Penguins and Rangers, and it could be time for Sykora's Atlantic Division tour to add a new stop in Philly's starting lineup.
His price tag will likely go up, but Sykora could prove to be a cheap alternative to Shane Doan if Paul Holmgren wants to add an extra weapon to his offense.
Michal Rozsival, D
2011-12 Stats: 54 GP, 1 G, 12 A, 13 P
2011-12 Salary: $5 million
Michal Rozsival haunted the Flyers as a member of the New York Rangers until two years ago. The 6'2" defenseman has been a reliable shut-down machine for years, and he could prove to be a valuable addition to the Flyers blue line if Paul Holmgren wants to use his extra cap space.
Rozsival remains unsigned after a solid year with the Phoenix Coyotes that ended with a knee-on-knee collision with Dustin Brown right before Dustin Penner's OT goal eliminated the 'Yotes.
If Rozsival is looking to play for a team that has similar feelings about unfinished playoff business, the Flyers might be his best match.