NHL Free Agency 2013: Breaking Down Philadelphia Flyers' Wish List
Free agency hasn't even officially begun, and the Philadelphia Flyers have already added a pair of big-time talents.
Needing to improve their overall defensive depth and skill, the Flyers acquired the rights to pending unrestricted free agent blueliner Mark Streit from the Islanders on June 12 before the two sides quickly agreed to a four-year, $21 million pact.
And just two days ago, Philly made the biggest offseason splash so far when the Orange and Black came in under the radar agreeing to a five-year, $22.5 million deal with coveted center and Stanley Cup champion Vincent Lecavalier.
The two additions have pushed the Flyers dangerously close to the cap ceiling once again, which means a player or two is likely to be dealt before the start of next season.
Even still, don't believe for a minute Philadelphia is done acquiring players.
With free agency set to begin at noon on Friday, here's a look at Philly's free-agent wish list.
Jarome Iginla, F
The Flyers don't need a lot of offensive help, but adding a player like Jarome Iginla could be just enough to put the Orange and Black over the top.
With 530 goals and 1,106 points on his NHL resume, there isn't much Iginla hasn't accomplished.
One thing the 36-year-old forward is still missing, though, is a Stanley Cup.
At this stage in his career, Iginla would seem to value winning more than money. If Philadelphia could genuinely convince him that the Flyers have a window within the next two to three years to hoist the Cup, it's possible they could snag this gifted power forward at a far lower price than his $7 million cap hit from a year ago.
Brenden Morrow, F
Like Iginla, Brenden Morrow was moved to the Pittsburgh Penguins in advance of last year's trade deadline in a Stanley Cup push for the Steel City.
Obviously, things didn't work out for Morrow, Iginla and the Penguins. Pittsburgh was swept in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Boston Bruins.
Even though he doesn't possess the pure goal-scoring abilities of Iginla, Morrow does bring many similar attributes to the frozen surface.
The Carlyle, Saskatchewan native is a power forward who leads by example. Morrow plays far beyond his 6'0", 205-pound frame and brings an energy and intensity to each and every shift.
No longer a top-six forward, Morrow could provide excellent depth and a physical presence on the Flyers' third line. He could serve as a sterling example to Philadelphia's young forwards as well.
Brad Boyes, F
Brad Boyes has already suited up for five different teams in his nine-year NHL career. And when free agency opens Friday, that number could jump to six.
At 31 years old, Boyes isn't the 60-70 point producer he was five years ago. But he can still be a very effective offensive contributor.
In the midst of a one-year, $1 million deal with the New York Islanders last season, the Mississauga, Ontario native finished third on the team in scoring with 35 points and fifth on the squad with 10 goals. Translated into a full 82-game campaign, those numbers would have had Boyes knocking on the door of a 60-point season.
Like Morrow, Boyes wouldn't be a top-six forward for the Flyers next year, but he would be an experienced supplementary piece on the team's third line.
He can play in all situations and isn't afraid to get to the dirty areas of the ice to score goals.
Rob Scuderi, D
While the Flyers may not have an overwhelming need to add supplementary forwards to their roster, Philadelphia will certainly be in the market to acquire defensive depth via free agency.
While Streit will provide some much-needed offensive punch from the back end, Philly still needs bruising bodies at the back that can protect its own zone.
Enter Rob Scuderi.
A 6'1", 220-pound Stanley Cup champion, Scuderi is the ideal defensive addition for a team looking to take the next step. He blocks shots, defends his own zone with physical poise and provides leadership both on and off the ice.
After completing a four-year, $13.6 million agreement with the Kings, it's unclear if Scuderi will elect to remain in Los Angeles. If not, the Syosset, New York native could be looking to return home to the East Coast.
The Flyers would be crazy not to at least investigate the possibility of bringing Scuderi into the fold.
Scott Hannan, D
Like Scuderi, Scott Hannan is a 6'1", 220-pound prototypical defensive defenseman.
At 34 years old, Hannan isn't a top-four blueliner anymore. But he could be a very solid depth addition for the Orange and Black.
He's always been known as a sturdy defender who hits everything in sight. Luke Schenn and Nicklas Grossmann are rostered physical players, but the Flyers could certainly use another defenseman who repeatedly finishes his checks.
Hannan is only slightly above average in the defensive zone. But he has 93 playoff games on his NHL resume and has appeared in the postseason in 10 of his 14 NHL campaigns.
Ultimately, that could prove to be the most valuable asset Hannan can bring the Flyers as Philadelphia looks to take the next big step with its young nucleus.
Keith Ballard, D
The Flyers have already struck a deal with one player who was bought out by a fellow NHL squad. Could Philly make it two with former Vancouver Canucks' defenseman Keith Ballard?
The 30-year-old blueliner was told Thursday that Vancouver would be using one of its two compliance buyouts to void the final two years of Ballard's six-year, $25.5 million pact with the Canucks.
The eight-year veteran will now be looking for a new destination, and the City of Brotherly Love might be a proper fit.
Ballard is a two-way defenseman who is capable of contributing offensively but simply needs to re-discover his confidence.
Over the last three years, Ballard has missed 64 games while recording just three goals and 16 points in 148 contests. That's fewer points in three seasons than the former 11th overall pick in 2002 managed in each of the first five campaigns of his NHL career.
With a lack of defensive depth in Philadelphia, Ballard would be given every opportunity to find success. He is likely to come at a fairly reasonable price after failing to live up to the $4.2 million annual cap hit that forced Vancouver to move him.
Joe Corvo, D
Of the defensemen mentioned, Joe Corvo would likely provide the Flyers with the most offensive bang for their buck.
A 36-year-old defender, Corvo is just three years removed from a 40-point season with the Carolina Hurricanes. Most recently, the Oak Park, Illinois native managed six goals and 17 points in 40 games during the recent lockout-shortened season.
A 6'0", 205-pound smooth-skating blueliner, Corvo could not only produce from the back end, but would provide a serious lift to the Flyers' power play as well.
Over the last three seasons, 40 of Corvo's 82 total points have come on the man advantage. What's more, the former fourth-round selection in 1997 has managed double-digit power-play point seasons in six of his 10 NHL campaigns.
Corvo earned $2 million as part of a one-year deal in Carolina last season and could arrive in Philly for a similar figure this year.
Evgeni Nabokov, G
After buying out the final seven years of Ilya Bryzgalov's massive nine-year, $51 million deal, the Flyers are (once again) in desperate need of adding a goaltender.
Philadelphia doesn't have the kind of cap space to add a top-tier, big-money netminder. As such, the Orange and Black will need to get a little creative in acquiring a goaltender to accompany Steve Mason in the Philly crease.
Thirty-seven-year-old Evgeni Nabokov could be an answer.
The 12-year NHL veteran is coming off a one-year, $2.75 million agreement with the New York Islanders, where he produced solid numbers as the team's No. 1 netminder.
In 41 starts last year, Nabokov went 23-11-7 while producing a 2.50 goals-against average coupled with a .910 save percentage. In fact, he's recorded a goals-against average below 2.55 and a save percentage better than .910 in each of the last six seasons.
Nabokov certainly isn't the long-term answer for the Flyers, but he could be a solid, and reasonably priced, addition for the Orange and Black.
Ray Emery, G
Ray Emery's first stint with the Flyers wasn't exactly a roaring success, but could a reunion be beneficial for both parties?
Philadelphia needs a starting goaltender, and Emery's production last season in Chicago (17-1, 1.94 goals-against average, .922 save percentage) is certainly representative of a No. 1 netminder.
The 30-year-old goaltender could return to the Blackhawks, but he would have to contend with Corey Crawford for each and every appearance.
In Philadelphia, the competition (Steve Mason) wouldn't appear to be nearly as stiff.
Emery's cap hit in Chicago last season was just $1.15 million. While he certainly stands to receive a raise on the open market, it's hard to envision teams having to shell out more than $2 to $3 million annually to garner Emery's services.
Nikolai Khabibulin, G
Nikolai Khabibulin may be 40 years old and firmly ensconced in the twilight of his career, but is it possible the 17-year NHL veteran has one more run left in him?
Khabibulin was relegated to backup duties behind Devan Dubnyk in Edmonton last season, though he performed well in limited action. In just 12 appearances, the Russian netminder produced just a 4-6-1 record to go along with a considerably more impressive 2.55 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.
Khabibulin can't bear the lion's share of crease duty throughout a full 82-game campaign anymore. But he could prove invaluable come the postseason. The 6'1", 205-pound netminder has 72 games of postseason experience on his resume, including 39 victories.
What's more, Khabibulin backstopped the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Stanley Cup championship back in 2004. He knows what it takes to bring the Flyers to the next level.
He won't command nearly the $3.75 million annual cap hit incurred with the Oilers last season and could provide a steady, veteran presence to complement Mason.
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