5 Realistic Trade Targets for Philadelphia Flyers in 2013-14
The Philadelphia Flyers are in a bit of a tough spot right now before the Olympic break. They have some talent, but also seem to be behind many of the contenders in their conference.
Their young talent is coupled with some good veteran players, but they overall don't have enough right now to make a run at the Stanley Cup.
Some moves will be made at the deadline, and these five players would make both short-term and long-term sense for Philadelphia.
Here are five realistic trade targets for the Flyers in 2013-14.
Dustin Byfuglien, D, Winnipeg Jets
I'm not the first one to speculate about this deal, as Eklund over at HockeyBuzz.com has been discussing the potential here for awhile now.
Eklund went so far as to say that he had "been told by good sources that the team's number one target is Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien." This may not hold true a few weeks later, but you have to think he's still very much on Paul Holmgren's radar.
He would be very much a welcomed presence on Philadelphia's blue line. He's big and physical, but also has offensive ability.
The former forward already has 40 points this season, which puts him on pace for his career high. But Winnipeg is at the basement of the Central Division, and may be willing to unload some pieces.
Byfuglien, who's turning 29 in March, may be one of the first players to go.
P.A. Parenteau, Colorado Avalanche
But those talks stalled, and Parenteau is still out there on the market. The Avalanche have a glut of forwards, and need some more defensive help (both in the form of two-way forwards and defensemen).
But he was very solid in 48 games last year, registering 43 points and establishing himself as a solid playmaker who can create offense.
The Flyers would benefit from having another talented, pass-first winger on the roster. He'd make for a reasonable purchase for Philly.
Christian Ehrhoff, D, Buffalo Sabres
The big catch with Ehrhoff is that he's signed through 2021 and is already 31 years old. But his cap hit is just $4 million per year, which is pretty decent for a legitimate top-four pairing player.
That big contract will also lessen his value significantly on the market, and therefore Buffalo would likely be willing to take less for an otherwise enticing defenseman.
He brings a solid two-way game, and would instantly upgrade Philadelphia's blue line while bringing in some experience and being a reliable mainstay when the Flyers inevitably restock their defensive corps in the next year or two.
If a guy like Tye McGinn and a mid-round pick could pull Ehrhoff away from Buffalo, that would be a solid move for Philadelphia.
Ales Hemsky, RW, Edmonton Oilers
His $5 million cap hit is significant, but the thing that would entice Philadelphia is that it expires at the end of this year, like Steve Downie's and Andrej Meszaros'.
That'd be a heck of a lot of cap coming off the books, and allow the Flyers to have a lot of flexibility to pursue a top defenseman which they sorely need.
Hemsky would also make for a solid rental. The winger is not much of a defensive presence, but he's a superb stickhandler and passer who could provide a spark for Philly's offense over the second half of the year.
Jake Gardiner, D, Toronto Maple Leafs
At first glance, one would be likely to ask why Toronto would ever consider giving up a player like Gardiner. He's a young, talented, offensive defenseman who is just starting to hit his stride.
But the Maple Leafs recently signed Dion Phaneuf to a seven-year contract extension for $7 million per season, Cody Franson's contract is up at the end of this year, and 19-year-old Morgan Rielly looks like an even better version of Gardiner.
The Leafs also have some serious needs, and therefore Gardiner may be expendable. Back in October, Darren Dreger mentioned the possibility, and then in December Pro Hockey Talk reported that Toronto may consider moving the 23-year-old.
Gardiner would fit in perfectly with Philadelphia. They sorely need some more youth, offensive instincts, and speed on the blue line.
Toronto would likely want a top forward in return, but the Flyers certainly have some bargaining chips. They could dangle guys like Scott Laughton, Nick Cousins, Michael Raffl, or Scott Hartnell. Besides Laughton, it would take a combination of those other forwards with another defenseman and/or draft picks.
While it's probably the least likely target on this list, it's not out of the realm of possibility.