Now that the NHL trade deadline is a full day behind us, it is easier to really look around the league and assess the moves that were made in light of the relative inactivity of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Let me first be clear in saying that the Flyers made no trades of long-term impact. On the actual deadline day, they moved a 2015 third-round selection and Michael Leighton to Columbus to acquire former NHL Rookie of the Year Steve Mason (via Yahoo Sports).
This was their biggest move of the week, but it would be surprising if Mason was locked up long-term in Philadelphia, although it does give them more flexibility with current starter Ilya Bryzgalov.
Other than that, the Flyers acquired defenseman Kent Huskins from Detroit in exchange for a conditional pick in 2014, and winger Jay Rosehill in exchange for Harry Zolnierczyk. Both acquisitions are merely depth guys who may not even be in Philadelphia next season.
The Flyers have been struggling with injuries all season, which has really depleted the roster for large chunks of the past few months.
But even with many key contributors like Braydon Coburn, Danny Briere, Max Talbot and Andrej Meszaros out of the lineup, the Flyers have gone on a recent three-game winning streak.
This recent spark in play has given fans just a glimmer of hope in a season that has been full of negatives, but the Flyers still remain a few points out of the playoffs, and this was not the year to break the bank at the deadline.
Although some big-name forwards were moved—like Jaromir Jagr, Jason Pominville, Ryan Clowe, Marian Gaborik, and Jarome Iginla—the market for defensemen is relatively dry right now, and that is where Philadelphia's biggest need lies.
They have the young talent up front already. Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Jake Voracek and Sean Couturier make up one of, if not the most promising core of 25-and-under forwards in the league.
They also have some even younger guys like Scott Laughton and Tye McGinn, who have big-time potential and carry strong trade value.
But deals are made at the deadline when a team is trying to add the final piece, usually a veteran who will fill right in and produce. Because of their need, and the deadline itself, teams often overpay in order to have a chance at making that Stanley Cup run.
With a win tonight against Toronto, the Flyers could very well set themselves up to push into the playoffs over these final few weeks. But this is not the year that they should go for broke and make a run at the Cup.
They have a lot of pieces, and have unfortunately dealt with a lot of injuries. With the prospect of getting some big contracts off the book this offseason and potentially moving guys like Laughton and McGinn to revamp the roster, the Flyers could easily get back to their successful ways next year.
Improving a team happens during the summer, not in April halfway through a lockout-shortened season.
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