After a very eventful offseason, the Philadelphia Flyers still may have another trade up their sleeve. Despite all of the roster moves made by the club over the summer, there are still a few players on the roster the front office would like to move—for the right return.
Here are three Philadelphia players that could be traded before the season starts, if the right offer could be found.
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The one weakness on the Philadelphia blue line is a lack of a legitimate sixth defenseman—a position that assumes a tremendous significance when the health of Chris Pronger and the age of Kimmo Timonen is taken into consideration.
Occupying one half of the ice on the Flyer third pairing is 2010-11 Barry Ashbee Trophy winner Andrej Meszaros, who was acquired during the summer of 2010. On the other half, it's a toss up between veteran Andreas Lilja, talented prospect Oskars Bartulis and Kimmo Timonen clone Erik Gustafsson.
If the Flyers can swing a deal that provides them with a legitimate young defenseman, they'll look to deal Bartulis and develop Gustafsson. If not, they still could make a move for a cheap upgrade at the position in the form of a veteran blueliner (Brian McCabe) or a player on the trading block with another club.
In any event, if the Flyers can acquire something of value for Bartulis while not surrendering any defensive depth, they'll pull the trigger. Bartulis could develop into something special, but it might take a change of scenery for him to do so.
As it currently stands, Sergei Bobrovsky will be among the most expensive backup netminders in the NHL for the 2011 season. Due to the language in the new CBA regarding prospects and first-year players, Bobrovsky isn't eligible to return to the AHL after playing in 60 games during the 2010-11 season without first clearing waivers.
If the Semyon Varlamov trade was any indication, an incredibly talented young goaltender like Bobrovsky could fetch a sizeable return—a top prospect and at least one draft pick, depending on the team and the market.
On the Flyers' end, such a return could provide them with more young depth up front or a much-needed young defenseman capable of replacing Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen when they decide to retire.
The Flyers could certainly use some cap relief, especially if they hope to keep 2011 first-round draft pick Sean Couturier on the roster for the full season.
The easiest way for the team to clear some cap space and a roster spot while not hurting the team would be to move Hartnell and his $4.2 million cap hit to another club. In recent weeks, Hartnell has been linked in trade rumors to his former team, the Nashville Predators—a move that would make sense for both clubs.
The Flyers would likely receive a highly rated defensive prospect in return for Hartnell; the Predators would receive a veteran leader and a gritty power forward to replace the departed Joel Ward.