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NHL Free Agents 2011: 10 Forwards the Philadelphia Flyers Would Love to Land

Matt DiFerdinandoContributor IIIJuly 18, 2011

NHL Free Agents 2011: 10 Forwards the Philadelphia Flyers Would Love to Land

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    We are now into the third week of free agency, and while many of the big names are off the market, there are still plenty of players out there to be acquired.

    The Philadelphia Flyers have completely revamped their roster in the past few weeks, but Paul Holmgren is still looking for ways to improve his roster.

    Here are 10 forwards—either free agents or players rumored to be available in trades—the Flyers would love to add in their continued reconstruction.

10. Jarkko Ruutu, LW

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    Personally, I don't really know if I would want Ruutu on the roster.  

    History shows that the Flyers' opinion may be slightly different.

    It seems that every year they need to have one player as the designated goon: Donald Brashear, Riley Cote, Jody Shelley, etc. With the departures of Dan Carcillo and—hopefully—Shelley, they would appear to be just short. Ruutu is the best option on the market.

    While he isn't completely useless offensively, as his 12 points in 73 games show, it would be foolish to say he would be signed for any purpose other than intimidation.

    With Zac Rinaldo still far too undisciplined to fill this role at an NHL level, and Tom Sestito not a proven commodity, adding Ruutu or a player in his mold could be a lower priority for Paul Holmgren.

9. Kyle Wellwood, C

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    Wellwood, the older brother of Flyers prospect Eric Wellwood, was signed midway through last season by the San Jose Sharks, where he put up 13 points in 35 games as a third liner.

    While the Flyers have added plenty of players already this summer, taking a flier on a lower line option like Wellwood would be a good depth addition.

    He won't put up great numbers, with just 173 points in 373 career games, but could be the type of gritty forward the Flyers love to have on their team.

8. Sergei Samsonov, LW

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    Although he is no longer the 70-point scorer that frustrated Flyers fans while playing for the Boston Bruins, Samsonov is still one of the fastest skaters in the league.

    He would likely fill the void left by Nikolay Zherdev—that is, he would be the enigmatic Russian winger who can score in bunches but tends to go cold for long stretches.  

    Not that you necessarily have to have that role filled, but that would probably be the case.

    While this might not sound like the most attractive option, the Flyers traded away a great deal of offensive talent this offseason, and Samsonov—when he is healthy and motivated—can still score.  Still, I doubt this would happen.

7. John Madden, C

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    Flyers fans remember Madden from his days in New Jersey, where he helped the Devils win two Stanley Cups.  He is a very solid two-way player and can score from time to time.

    After helping the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup and spending last season with the Minnesota Wild, Madden is on the free agent market and would be a good piece to add for the Flyers.

    A player in the mold of Ian Laperriere, but with more offensive ability, Madden would be a great veteran addition and bring leadership to a team that—in the wake of trading its captain and assistant captain—may need some to start the year.

6. Cory Stillman, LW

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    Stillman, 37, had a bit of a career resurgence after being traded from the Florida Panthers to the Carolina Hurricanes at the trade deadline.

    At one point in his career he scored 80 points playing with Martin St. Louis in Tampa Bay.

    In 21 games with Carolina last season, he put up 16 points, showing he still has a bit of a scoring touch.  

    Much like I mentioned with Madden, he would provide a good deal of veteran leadership and could, if injury made it necessary, even perform in a second-line capacity.  

5. Steven Stamkos, C

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    Before you go ranting in the comments about how Stamkos should be No. 1 and how I'm an idiot, remember this: There is quite literally no chance this happens.

    None.

    That being said, the point of this article is to list players the Flyers would love to add, and I'm sure they wouldn't mind having Stamkos on the team.

    Rumors are circling about his potential availability because he still hasn't been re-signed by the Lightning, but after seeing the Phil Kessel fiasco unfold in Toronto, GM's are wary of signing restricted free agents to offer sheets.

    It would mean giving up many of the assets that they acquired this offseason, and many future draft picks, but Stamkos is as sure of a thing as there is in the NHL right now.  

    Again though...not happening.

    Tampa Bay would lose all of its fans if it let him go.  

    All 15 of them.

4. Vaclav Prospal, C

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    Perhaps the third time could be the charm.

    Having spent two stints with the Flyers during his career, Prospal is on the market after the Rangers let him go in order to free up the cap space required to sign Brad Richards.

    He is a solid veteran player who has proven throughout his career that he is very talented offensively and has shown no signs of slowing down recently.

    Prospal, who in 29 games last season put up 23 points, is versatile enough to play both center and wing.

    He could be a good option for the Flyers to sign, especially if the signing of Jaromir Jagr proves to be a bust. 

3. T.J. Oshie, C

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    Oshie, who put up 34 points in 49 games last season for the St. Louis Blues, has been mentioned in many trade rumors.  

    He is just 24 but has had some issues with management and has been dogged by rumors surrounding his lack of effort during his career.

    Still, he is a very talented young forward who just signed a one-year, $2.35 million deal, and could potentially be had as the offseason goes on.  

    If he isn't traded during the offseason and exceeds expectations to start 2011-2012, look for the Blues to potentially deal him during the season.

    He certainly would be in for a pay raise that the Blues—in search of a new owner still after Dave Checketts put the team up for sale—may not be able to afford.  

    Given Paul Holmgren's desire to get younger while also becoming more talented, Oshie certainly could be an option.

2. Chris Drury, C

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    As I wrote earlier, Drury would be a good addition for the Flyers to make.

    The very definition of a character guy, Drury would provide a good spark on the second or third line for the Flyers, where for a very cheap price he should be able to provide at least a 30 to 40-point season.  

    He has played with Daniel Briere before in Buffalo, where the pair had the most successful years of their careers. 

    While he wouldn't be able to put up those numbers, playing with an old teammate might be a good thing for Drury.

    Of all of the players on this list, Drury is the most likely to be wearing orange and black next season, and would certainly be welcomed by the Flyers and their fans.

1. Ales Hemsky, RW

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    Hemsky has been rumored to be on the market for at least a year now.

    Considering the rebuilding movement in Edmonton, where Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi are the future, it certainly makes sense.

    The Flyers would have to give up quite a bit to acquire the winger, who when healthy scores at about a point-per-game pace.  Considering all the offense that they have traded away this offseason, however, it could be worth it.

    Although I doubt that this will actually happen, the Flyers certainly would love to land him.

    If you think I missed someone, or that someone should be higher/lower on the list, please let me know in the comments!

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