The Philadelphia Flyers' most recent victory moved the team to within two points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. However, before the April 3 NHL trade deadline, GM Paul Holmgren may add at least one significant piece to the roster in an effort to bolster the team's postseason hopes.
Plenty of rumors are swirling in the days leading up to the deadline, too, featuring several marquee players that could definitely help Philadelphia's late-season push.
Here is a breakdown of the latest chatter surrounding the Flyers, including analysis of the prospective moves.
Jaromir Jagr, Dallas Stars
Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Holmgren wasn't keen on adding a "rental" player as recently as Saturday, but has apparently changed his thinking.
The Flyers' beat writer then took to Twitter to spill the beans on certain players that Philadelphia is showing interest in, and the most notable of all is Jagr:
The other standouts Carchidi mentions will be broken down below, but for now, let's focus on Jagr, who played for the Flyers just last season.
Jagr is one of the most prolific offensive threats in recent memory and continues to play extremely well even into his 40's. In 32 games thus far for the Stars, Jagr has notched 14 goals and 12 assists in just 33 games.
Dallas is vying for a playoff spot in the West themselves, but for the right price, it would be an enticing proposition to bring Jagr back to Philly. The Flyers need a little bit more offensive firepower to combat their leaky defense, which allows three goals per game—26th in the NHL.
Especially now that versatile forward Max Talbot has gone down with a broken leg, as reported by Carchidi, it is critical for Holmgren to do anything possible to upgrade the Flyers' front line.
In 2011-12, Jagr registered 54 points in 73 games with Philadelphia, but is on pace to better his per-game production this time around. His shooting proficiency is at 16.5 percent—his best since the 2000-01 campaign with the Pittsburgh Penguins, which was the amidst the height of Jagr's heyday.
Ryane Clowe and Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks
Bob McKenzie @TSNBobMcKenzie
Leading contenders for Clowe, IMO, would be PHI or MIN but it's fluid situation. NYR, VAN, MTL also in mix. 50-50 it happens today. #tsn4/1/2013, 3:26:52 PM
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun confirms that Clowe could definitely be dealt today, citing a report out of Newfoundland that he indeed will be shipped to Philadelphia.
Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com reports that a possible swap involving both Clowe and Boyle could occur, but cautions that the Flyers don't believe it is necessarily possible:
Tim Panaccio @tpanotchCSN
source: though SJ would entertain a package deal of Clowe and Boyle, #Flyers dont think that is really feasible right now4/1/2013, 4:28:31 PM
Boyle provides offensive production as a defender, and is a scrappy, physical presence that the Flyers could use to assist the penalty kill, which will be hampered by the absence of Talbot.
Clowe is having a bit of a down campaign, but could be revitalized by a change in scenery. He is just the type of player that could morph a borderline playoff contender into a legitimate threat to make a run at the Stanley Cup.
It seems that a deal involving Clowe is more likely, even though he has a no-trade clause in his contract, per LeBrun. It would be odd for San Jose to part ways with two strong players as the No. 6 team in the Western Conference.
Letting Clowe walk in the midst of a down year would be the logical transaction, especially if the Sharks can gain a first-round pick and another young asset, which LeBrun reports as the asking price.
Jay Bouwmeester, Calgary Flames
There is no question that Bouwmeester would love a chance at the postseason, something he has not experienced in his previous nine seasons and won't reach with the Flames now, either.
The previously cited report by Carchidi confirms the team's interest in the talented defenseman. He would not only help stymie opponents, but would also be a capable blueliner that would even further enhance Philadelphia's league-leading power-play attack.
Bouwmeester has played in all 82 games in eight of his previous nine years in the league and is one of the game's true iron men. That makes him a solid stopgap and long-term investment.
Should he help the Flyers into the postseason, there is little reason to believe he wouldn't sign a multi-year contract.
One year remains on Bouwmeester's current deal (h/t capgeek.com), and it remains to be seen if his $6.68 million salary cap figure will be an impediment to a deal happening.