Flyers Need Help on the Blue Line

Chris DiFrancescoAnalyst IJune 5, 2008

When we all look back at the Philadelphia Flyers this past season there was one need that they had, defense.

Sure we had the all-star shutdown player in Kimmo Timonen and the power shooting Braydon Coburn. After you mention those two names, it ends.

Derian Hatcher is an old soul in a new game, as is Jason Smith. Good thing for the Flyers' future, both Hatcher and Smith won't be putting on black and orange uniforms.

I have heard from numerous sources that the Flyers are heavily shopping free agent defenseman Brian Campbell, formerly of the Buffalo Sabres. He going to require a new deal probably for big money and a lot of years.

Philadelphia had help in the salary-cap department, thanks to the retirement of veteran Sami Kapanen. Hopeful departures in Derian Hatcher, Jason Smith, Jim Dowd, and possibly others can help make the Brian Campbell acquisition a strong possibility.

Andrej Meszaros could be on the move this summer. Not only has the name of the Ottawa Senators defenseman surfaced in possible trade talks with the Philadelphia Flyers, but his agent, Ritch Winter, confirmed to Sun Media yesterday that the 21-year-old Meszaros turned down a lucrative offer to play in Russia next season. 

The talk is Meszaros, who made $984,000 (all terms US) this season and can become a restricted free agent on July 1, could have made in excess of $3.5 million next season to play in Russia, but he has no interest in leaving the NHL. (Credit: Yahoo Sports.)

If it was up to me, Upshall would be the player I choose for this deal, hands down. I agree that his intensity is important, but his negatives out weigh his positives. He doesn't have great puck handling, and he tends to commit bad penalties at the wrong times.

Scottie Upshall was brought in to score goals, but there has been a lack thereof since the deal that brought him here.

R.J. Umberger on the other hand showed his worth during the Flyers unexpected playoff run. He was a dominating force doing whatever he wanted to on the ice. With the exception of the Pittsburgh series, Umberger earned his next contract from the Flyers.

The Flyers are one, maybe two players away from being a contender to raise what the Red Wings did last night, and thats saying a lot given where they were a year ago.

I trust the GM Paul Holmgren and so do all of the Flyers faithful. So if you're a Flyers fan, keep your eyes locked on these stories and my writings, because when I know something, you all will know something.