Philadelphia Flyers Trade Rumors: Likelihood of Flyers Landing a Big Name Star

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IFebruary 7, 2013

TORONTO, CANADA - JANUARY 31:  Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck in a game against the Washington Capitals on January 31, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Capitals 3-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers will likely be one of the most aggressive teams in the weeks leading up to the April 3 trade deadline.

They have begun the season 4-6, but despite their struggles to start the year, the Flyers remain just one point out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. With that being said, it would surprise no one if the team made a trade for a star player over the next few weeks.

Per Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

The Flyers would likely move some draft picks, and that wouldn't sting as much if the player they acquired ended up being here for several years.

Many NHL teams are searching for offense, including the Flyers, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Washington Capitals, and Nashville Predators. They should hope that the potential free agents (read: midseason trade bait) play for teams that fall out of playoff contention and are made available.

Even though the upcoming draft class is deep and full of high-end talent at every position, the Flyers are probably not going to miss the playoffs, but even if they do, it's unlikely that their first-round pick will be a top 10 selection.

It's hard to imagine teams parting with a big-name forward or defenseman in a deal where a first-round pick outside the top 10 is the centerpiece.

In all likelihood, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren will have to use young NHL players and top prospects to acquire a star player to address his team's scoring and defensive woes. These players include forwards Scott Laughton, Brayden Schenn, Matt Read, Jakub Voracek and defenseman Brandon Manning.

The problem for Philadelphia is that the team's prospect pool lacks top talent and depth at every position.

The Flyers have failed to stockpile young talent from the draft over the last few years, and as a result, they will probably be forced to part with a talented young NHL player in exchange for a star before the trade deadline.

Carchidi lists a number of players in his article (linked above) who the Flyers might pursue, but a few of them are unlikely to be traded before the end of the season.

The odds of Anaheim Ducks star forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry being moved before the deadline while the team is contending for a playoff spot and the Pacific Division title seem low.

The Ducks have been one of the surprise teams in 2013 with the second-best record in the Western Conference, and wouldn't want to anger their fanbase by trading these stars and pulling the plug on what could be a very successful season.

One player Carchidi lists who would be a good fit in Philadelphia and probably wouldn't cost Holmgren a ton of quality assets is Dallas Stars forward Michael Ryder. He would be a great winger for Claude Giroux's line because of his impressive goal scoring ability and the great speed he brings to the ice.

Ryder is also very familiar with the Eastern Conference because he spent the first seven seasons of his NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins. He also played an important role on the Bruins' Stanley Cup championship team during the 2010-11 season.

Another forward that Holmgren should pursue is Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O'Reilly, whose contract situation has not been worked out. He's currently a restricted free agent, and there are no reports of him being close to a deal.

O'Reilly is a strong, two-way forward who is excellent defensively and has a fast-improving offensive game. He's a quality playmaker and excels in a physical style of hockey, which makes him a perfect target for the Flyers.

If the Avalanche don't make much progress toward getting O'Reilly re-signed in the next week or two, the Flyers would be wise to either offer sheet him in the $5-5.5 million per year range, or try to work out a trade. Philadelphia has several young forwards to offer Colorado for their 22-year-old center.

Darren Dreger of TSN (via Spector's Hockey) reported on Wednesday that there is interest in Toronto Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel, but it's unknown if the Flyers are one of these teams.

Kessel would be a fantastic addition to the Flyers because of his goal-scoring ability and durability. He rarely misses a game, and even though he's a streaky goal scorer, Kessel is one of the most talented offensive players in the game.

Kessel has one more year left on his contract with a $5.4 million salary cap hit, per CapGeek, and is a young star that Philadelphia could build around, along with Giroux, for many years.

The Flyers have to make some kind of move to turn their season around, but it doesn't have to be a trade for a forward.

Adding an offensive defenseman should be a top priority for Holmgren, and as I wrote on Monday, Keith Yandle of the Phoenix Coyotes would be a good fit in Philadelphia.

All eyes will be on the Flyers leading up to the deadline since Holmgren has proven several times that he's not afraid to make a major trade to shake up his roster. It would be shocking if he doesn't make a move for a major star before April 3.


Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter.


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