Philadelphia Flyers: Should They Go Bargain or Go Bold in Free Agency?

Eric CaspersonCorrespondent IIJune 7, 2011

BOSTON, MA - MAY 06: The Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers line up to shake hands after Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 6, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

This offseason, the Philadelphia Flyers will be searching for that missing piece to their puzzle. For Flyers fans, the last couple seasons have been gut-wrenching to say the least.

In 2010, the Flyers stormed through to the Stanley Cup Finals as the No. 7 seed, making history along the way. This year, they entered as one of the favorites and barely made it out of the first round.

The window of opportunity for the orange and black is now. Having Chris Pronger around has given the Flyers their greatest chance at a Cup since the '90s. Pronger, due to health concerns, may not be around much longer. The time is now. The Flyers' front office must have a good offseason this summer and a Cup must be brought to Broad Street soon...or else.

So, what should they do this offseason? Do they get that big piece and sign a veteran to a big contract or do they sign a few role players hoping that they are the links to success in the playoffs?

Can't they do both?

For next season, the offense and defense is pretty much set. 18 of the 25 players on the Flyers roster are already under contract for next year. The biggest names not signed are Ville Leino and Brian Boucher.

Even if the Flyers do lose Leino to a huge contract offer, the Flyers still have the firepower on offense to outscore any team. With Pronger, Kimmo Timmonen and Baydon Coburn manning the blue line, their defense has depth.

To fill in a spot here or there, the Flyers should bargain hunt for some playmakers on offense and defense. Zenon Konopka is a guy that I have always loved. He is a great enforcer with some offensive skill as well. He could replace someone like Dan Carcillo who is a free agent.

Simon Gagne is also a free agent after spending one season in Tampa Bay. Will he be willing to sign a hometown discounted contract to return for Philly?

One area where the Flyers have to be careful with is their goaltender position. It looks clear to me that Sergei Bobrovsky is the goalie of the future, but can he win now?

In the 2011 playoffs, it did not look like he could. This is where the "both" comes into play. After getting bargains on offense and defense, the Flyers should lock up some money and give it to a No. 1 goaltender.

"We need a No. 1 goaltender." "We need that Ron Hextall." How many people are tired of hearing that from Flyers fans? Well, if the front office were smart, they would see that the fans do have a point. Philadelphia has not had a true No. 1 goalie since Hextall back in the '90s.

This summer, there are a number of No. 1 goaltenders on the free agent market that the Flyers could target. Yes, they may have to clear up some cap room by trading Jeff Carter, but I think it will all be worth it in the end.

If the Flyers had a guy like Ilya Bryzgalov or Dwayne Roloson on their team the past two years, there is not doubt in my mind that the Flyers would have one at least one, if not two Stanley Cups.

The Flyers' front office owes it to the fans, to the city, and to the team to try to acquire a No. 1 net-minder this offseason. The window is wide open now for the Flyers and they cannot be caught staring out looking too far into the future.