Philadelphia Flyers Trade Rumors: 7 Players Who May Eventually Be on the Market
Though none of these trade rumors are likely to become reality in an imminent fashion, certain players might be on the block later in the season, or even during the summer.
These players are the most likely to be traded out of Philadelphia.
Jody Shelley was signed in the 2010 offseason in order to fix the Flyers' lack of a heavyweight enforcer.
Though Shelley's presence certainly provides the toughness and security expected, the team may no longer need him.
Single-purpose enforcers are slowly finding their way out of the NHL; few teams still consistently dress a full-time enforcer. Some of the league's best include Trevor Gillies of the New York Islanders and Eric Godard of the Dallas Stars; both are now in the AHL.
After serving a suspension for the first five games of the season, Shelley played in six of the possible ten games he was eligible for.
While the Flyers are a franchise that recognizes the importance of a role and manages accordingly, if threats like Gillies, MacIntyre and Orr are not playing in the NHL, the team will not need as strong a fighter as Shelley.
If the biggest dangers to the team shift from heavy hitting and bullying to dirty pests like Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Patrick Kaleta of the Buffalo Sabers or Jordin Tootoo of the Nashville Predators, a smaller enforcer like Zac Rinaldo will be sufficient.
Rinaldo is an effective skater and forechecker. Additionally, he can produce offensively far better than Shelley. Rinaldo has three points in eleven games this season. Last year, Shelley had four points in 58 games.
Matt Walker was acquired in the trade that dumped Simon Gagne's salary in Tampa Bay last summer. Walker has played just seven regular season games with the Flyers since.
Last season, the missed time was due to injuries, but this season he is simply that low on the depth chart.
Ahead of him is Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Andrej Meszaros, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle, Andreas Lilja and Erik Gustafsson.
Part of the issue with Walker is his $1.7 million cap hit. He is currently in the AHL, which opens up that cap space at the NHL level.
If a different team is looking for a tough bottom-line defenseman, Walker would be an option. However, he did clear waivers at the start of the season and would likely only be a side piece to any trade.
When Walker was dressed, he was taking Andreas Lilja's spot.
Lilja was the sixth man on the Flyers' depth chart until recently. Erik Gustafsson was called up on October 27th.
The 23-year-old is averaging 18:29 of ice time in the five games, much more than Lilja's average of 13:22.
If Coach Peter Laviolette prefers the young defenseman over Lilja, the elder drops to seventh on the depth chart with the return of captain Chris Pronger.
Blair Betts is a penalty-killing fourth liner who has not played this season due to a lower body injury. Even if Betts is healthy, it is unlikely he will be able to take anyone's spot in the lineup. The Flyers have Max Talbot filling Betts' role as a defensive specialist.
However, Talbot's skating and offensive abilities are superior to those of Betts. Betts is a one-dimensional player, whereas the Flyers' other penalty-killers are versatile.
Betts was actually claimed by the Montreal Canadiens off waivers this season, but the move did not go through since Betts failed his physical.
The defensive forward could certainly draw interest from other teams. He may no longer have a place in Philadelphia's lineup.
On Wednesday, the Flyers signed defenseman Braydon Coburn to a four year contract extension worth $4.5 million per season.
Coburn was set to be a free agent during this upcoming offseason. Matt Carle still is.
The Flyers' cap space is beginning to run short for 2012-13 and beyond. James van Riemsdyk's cap hit will rise that season, from $1.65 million to $4.25 million.
With Coburn's raise, there does not appear to be much space left to give Carle a raise as well. If the Flyers cannot find space to resign Carle, the young defenseman could be moved.
In Scott Hartnell's first six games, he had no goals, two assists and was a plus-1 player.
After being placed on the top line with current Art Ross candidate Claude Giroux and five-time winner Jaromir Jagr, Hartnell's production improved.
Hartnell has eleven points in his last eight games, much to the help of the two highly productive scorers.
Hartnell's addition of grit to the line is essential, but it comes at a hefty price.
He leads the NHL in minor penalties since joining the Flyers and his $4.2 million cap hit is the second-highest of any forward on the team.
If Philadelphia faces cap issues and wishes to keep Matt Carle, moving Hartnell would be the next option.
The speculation regarding Sergei Bobrovsky's future in Philadelphia will not end as long as Ilya Bryzgalov is with the team and Bobrovsky remains one of the league's highest paid backups.
Last season, "Bob" was the starter in Philadelphia before the Vezina-nominated Bryzgalov was aquired and signed to a nine year contract.
Despite previously being viewed as the franchise's goalie of the future, Bobrovsky's status is now uncertain. The 23-year-old is too skilled to be a backup but has not developed the abilities of a legitimate full-time starter.
In a few years, Bobrovsky could develop into a starter but not with backup playing time in Philadelphia. The team could receive a quality return in a trade for Bobrovsky.