Breaking Down the Philadelphia Flyers' Best Trade Bait

Michael PizzutilloCorrespondent IIIMarch 19, 2013

Breaking Down the Philadelphia Flyers' Best Trade Bait

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    The Philadelphia Flyers have been linked to numerous rumors this season and as the April 3rd trade deadline quickly approaches, the rumors will only increase.

    There's no question that Philadelphia could desperately use a versatile blueliner or offensive sniper this season. Defense had been a major issue and in recent weeks the Flyers have struggled scoring goals.

    Now, many scenarios will determine if general manager Paul Holmgren makes a move this season and no issue will be more important than the team's playoff position at the deadline.

    But if Philadelphia does decide to shop around, here are some players the Flyers could use as trade bait.

1. Braydon Coburn

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    Current Contract: $13.5 million through 2015-2016 (RFA)

    Braydon Coburn, the Flyers' speedy defenseman, has underachieved all season. He currently ranks sixth in the NHL with 30 turnovers and has contributed very little offensively.

    The 28-year-old, lengthy blueliner could still add depth to any teams looking to beef up their defense and chase a playoff spot. But a hefty price tag may send suitors running.

    With nine seasons in the league, Coburn has proved to be a capable defender in the NHL and a change of scenery may be best for all parties involved.

2. Danny Briere

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    Current Contract: $13.0 million through 2014-2015 (UFA)

    Danny Briere makes the most sense of any player the Flyers should trade this season.

    But it won't be easy.

    The veteran forward is fourth on the all-time list for active players in the playoffs with 109 points in 108 games and many teams would benefit from his services in the postseason.

    Two main issues the Flyers face in attempting to move Briere are his hefty salary and no-movement clause. Earlier this season, Frank Seravalli of the Daily News, reported Briere would not be moving anywhere this season.

    Briere has a full no-movement clause - meaning he can't even be sent to the minors without his permission - and will not waive it to be dealt to any team in the NHL, regardless of destination.

    Yet a team looking for playoff experience and winning the cup in this abbreviated season may try and pry Briere away from Philly. 

3. Kimmo Timonen

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    Current Contract: $6.0 million through 2013-2014 (UFA)

    Kimmo Timonen is an interesting case for the Flyers. 

    The 38-year-old defender signed an astronomical one-year extension to remain in Philly next season. Like Briere, Timonen will be extremely difficult to move.

    Daily News Frank Sevaralli also reported the defender was able to keep his no-movement clause— giving him final say.

    Philly's defense has been horrid this year and Timonen's play has slowly declined, yet he is still considered the best blueliner on the team. 

    NHL clubs looking to add playoff experience to their defensive unit might consider taking the high salary in exchange for a championship run, and of course,  Kimmo will need to provide a final blessing.

4. Sean Couturier

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    Current Contract: $2.75 million through 2013-2014 (RFA)

    Sean Couturier is having an off season, after a brilliant rookie campaign. 

    The Flyers' young forward remains a strong, shutdown center but has been absent on offense and might be a movable player.

    Couturier has tremendous upside and will likely remain a Flyer, but general manager Paul Holmgren may consider trading the young center for a shifty blueliner. 

    The upside to trading away Couturier is what Philadelphia could potentially receive in return—defensive depth for multiple seasons.

    Homer should use a "less is more" approach when communicating with other NHL team executives, much like the James Van Reimsdyk/Luke Schenn trade. Whether you believe that trade worked or not, it's the only scenario that would send Couturier packing.

5. Scott Laughton

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    Current Contract: $3.41 million through 2014-2015 (RFA)

    Scott Laughton looked quite impressive in his NHL debut at the beginning of the season, but financial and technical reasons sent him back to the OHL's Oshawa Senators.

    That was the right move for the 18-year-old, who is having a decent season, so far.

    There is no question that Laughton has the talent and potential to be a big-time hockey player in the NHL. The real question is, will he be a Flyer while achieving this?

    Many teams could be interested in the promising center, especially teams looking to build for the future. Homer would love to hold onto him for many seasons.

    But again, if the deal is right and Philadelphia wants to build on its weaknesses for the future, a trade including Laughton would not be too far-fetched.