Philadelphia Flyers' Biggest Needs and Best Trade Fits at the Deadline
The Philadelphia Flyers currently sit seven points out of the second wild card position in the Eastern Conference, and it is unlikely they will be able to make up enough ground.
Despite this, there's still a good chance that general manager Ron Hextall will look to add some pieces to his roster in hopes of making the playoffs.
The Flyers have two of the NHL's top offensive players on their roster, but they could use some additional assets in order to become more competitive. With that in mind, here are the Flyers' biggest needs ahead of the deadline.
The goalie tandem of Rob Zepp and Ray Emery hasn't been the greatest in the world, and the injury to Steve Mason leaves Philadelphia without a starting netminder.
If the Flyers want to make a run for the playoffs, they need consistent goaltending. That's something Emery and Zepp have been unable to provide.
Zepp is 3-1-0 with a .889 save percentage and a 2.92 goals-against average. Emery is 10-10-3 with a .890 save percentage and 3.22 goals-against average.
There isn't exactly a booming market for goaltenders, but it would be worth looking into some goaltenders who are currently tearing it up at the AHL level. Vancouver prospect Jacob Markstrom is a goalie with a ton of potential, and he could develop as a backup once Mason is healthy.
Scoring Left Winger
The Flyers have a top center in Claude Giroux and a top right wing in Jakub Voracek. Both have had an amazing season, but the roster lacks a bona fide scoring left winger. Brayden Schenn and Matt Read haven't cut it, leaving a gaping hole in the top six.
Evander Kane would have been a solid fit for the Flyers' 2015-16 roster, but the Flyers should still inquire with teams for available wingers. Loui Eriksson would be a solid fit, but the Boston Bruins may not be willing to move the veteran winger to its conference rival.
Eriksson has a $4.25 million cap hit. A deal including a promising player like Schenn could get the wheels turning. Eriksson would fit in nicely with Giroux or Sean Couturier as his pivot, bolstering the Flyers' scoring depth.
A No. 1 Defenseman
The Flyers' defense is horrid, and it has lacked a true No. 1 since Chris Pronger's playing career ended. Mark Streit is a veteran defender who is better suited for the second pairing and Kimmo Timonen's time in orange and black will come to an end soon.
Timonen is trying to stage a comeback, but he is a veteran player with little time left in his playing career. There are a number of defenders on the Flyers' roster, but none of them are good enough to anchor a top pairing.
If the Flyers could make a play for the Arizona Coyotes' Keith Yandle, it would be a wise move, as his contract doesn't expire after this season.
In addition to a top-pairing defenseman, the Flyers could also use a reliable defender to play on the second pairing. Philadelphia would have to move a current defender and salary to make that happen, and there's a chance that Michael Del Zotto could be flipped if needed.
Jeff Petry of the Edmonton Oilers is a promising right-handed defender who would be a great addition to the team's defense, and he'd be an asset worth re-signing for future seasons. He has a booming shot, is a good skater and is responsible in his own end.
There's a chance that he could walk as a free agent, but every defender on the market will be looking to make a quick and easy paycheck.
The Flyers have one of the NHL's worst penalty kill units, currently sitting in 28th place. Killing off penalties is an important part of the game, and it becomes even more important during the playoffs.
There's no guarantee that Philadelphia will close the gap, but it should shore up one of its biggest weaknesses before the deadline.
Carolina Hurricanes center Jay McClement would be a solid pickup for the Flyers because his contract expires after this season and he's making only $1 million. He's got 15 points this season while playing 13:55 a game, and his faceoff and defensive prowess would help transform the team's PK unit.