As currently constituted, Philadelphia's defensive unit is fine. But fine doesn't win the Stanley Cup.
Heading into last season, the Flyers knew they needed to augment their defense and took the first step towards that with the acquisition of Mark Streit who quickly inked a four-year, $21 million pact with the Orange and Black.
Then, just prior to this year's trade deadline, Philly plucked pending free agent Andrew MacDonald from the New York Islanders and subsequently signed the 27-year-old blueliner to a six-year, $30 million extension right before the postseason began.
Those transactions absolutely helped the Flyers.
Streit paced all Philadelphia defenders and finished fifth among all Flyers in regular-season scoring with 44 points. He notched double-digit goals for the fifth time in the last seven years and chipped in another goal and three points in seven postseason outings.
Meanwhile, MacDonald managed just four points (all assists) in 19 regular season games in Philly but managed two (goal, assist) in the club's seven-game playoff series with New York while leading all Flyers in ice time during the postseason. In fact, the Nova Scotia native averaged a team-high 30.9 shifts per game during the playoffs and was the only skater on Philadelphia's roster to average better than 22 minutes during the postseason.
But it still isn't enough.
Streit and MacDonald are nice complementary pieces but they're not game breakers. Neither are Braydon Coburn, Luke Schenn, Nicklas Grossmann nor any of the other defensemen currently on Philly's roster.
It's still unclear if 39-year-old Kimmo Timonen will opt for retirement or another one-year deal with the Flyers but even if Timonen returns to the City of Brotherly Love, the Orange and Black are still shorthanded on the back end.
The club has a nice pool of defensive prospects in Shayne Gostisbehere, Samuel Morin and Robert Hagg but it's uncertain if any of those three will make the jump to the big club next year.
If not, a trade or free agency will be the only options for Hextall to improve the team's most glaring weakness.