With word that Philadelphia's captain Chris Pronger is out for the rest of the season, the focus now turns to Claude Giroux and what will become of the future superstar.
Claude was accidentally kneed in the back of the head by his teammate Wayne Simmonds a few games back, and hasn't been feeling right ever since. There is still hope that he will return this season, but the longer he's out of the lineup, the less and less likely it will be that he sees ice time again this year.
To put it simply, the Flyers will not be able to compete in the playoffs without both Chris Pronger and Claude Giroux. Yes, the team is doing well right now, but the playoffs are a whole different animal. With all the younger guys on the team this year, they need more direction.
Here are five forwards that would be a good replacement for Claude Giroux, in the event that he will need to sit out the remainder of the year.
Now, before everybody gets their panties in a bunch, I realize that Eric Staal is a very far-fetched possibility. However, it's not that crazy of an idea if you really think about it.
Eric has loads of talent, and it shows on the ice. He's a great two-way forward and he knows how to find the back of the net. There's no question that he would be a great addition to Philadelphia's roster, but prying him out of Carolina will be a task that I'm not sure the Flyers will be able to accomplish.
What might be even harder is fitting Staal's $8.25 million contract under the cap for the next five seasons. The Flyers would almost have to tear apart the roster to fit him under the cap, which probably wouldn't be worth it, but desperate times can call for desperate measures.
Eric would be a dominant forward in Philadelphia, but many things would have to go the Flyers' way in order for a trade like this to happen.
Would you check out the bend on that stick? Sorry, I couldn't help myself. That is wicked.
Michael Ryder may not be the superstar forward everyone might hope for in Giroux's absence, but he is more than capable of handling his own.
Ryder has 10 goals and nine assists this season with the Dallas Stars, which isn't mind-blowing, but he's certainly got some talent. He has the ability to sneak through defenders and has good positioning on the ice.
What makes Ryder so intriguing is that it probably wouldn't cost a heck of a lot to pry him out of Dallas. The Flyers wouldn't have to gut the roster to acquire him and his cap hit is a friendly $3.5 million for the next two seasons, something the Flyers could certainly handle.
Jarome Iginla has been on the Flyers' radar for years now. It seems like every year when we approach the deadline, there's always at least one person reporting that Philadelphia has an interest in Jarome.
That being said, the Flyers have yet to pull the trigger on a trade for Iginla. Most likely, it's due to his $7 million salary every season, which the Flyers would certainly have a tough time fitting under the cap since they're already close to the cap ceiling. Just about any team would like to acquire him, but it hasn't happened yet.
Iginla could be just what the Flyers need, as he's always been considered one of the better forwards in the league. Plus, he's a right wing, which the Flyers could certainly use more of.
Calgary won't let him go for nothing, however, and it would probably cost the Flyers more than they're willing to give up. With that said, Iginla would almost certainly spark more offense and could make the Flyers a force to be reckoned with.
Semin's days in Washington are all but numbered. The Capitals have been struggling, and Semin has been a bit of a thorn in their side.
Alex is on the final year of his contract, which sees him making $6.7 million this season. While his contract is a bit hefty this year, he most likely will not fetch as much money in free agency when the season concludes.
While it's unlikely the Capitals would ever trade Semin to Philadelphia, they won't just let him walk either. There's no doubt that Semin has loads of talent and I don't buy the whole "lazy Russian" stereotype one bit. Say what you will about Alex, but he's got talent and any team would be crazy to pass him up.
The Flyers could see this as an opportunity if Semin is willing to take a significant pay cut at the end of the season. I'm sure most Philly fans would love to see him here, at the right price of course. It remains to be seen if they have any interest, but I'm sure he's a name that they've tossed around.
The Ducks are on a quick downward spiral to nowhere, and they've already fired their head coach and replaced him. It may not be much longer before the Ducks start seriously entertaining offers for Bobby Ryan.
Ryan has been the subject of many rumors this year, and rightfully so. He's one of the best forwards in the game. He's got speed, agility, and he's a pure scorer.
Oh, and he's from this little town called Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Very close to Philadelphia.
It's not much of a secret that the Flyers are interested in acquiring him, but it remains to be seen if the Ducks are willing to part with him. His cap hit is justified at a reasonable $5.1 million, so it's not impossible for the Flyers to fit him under if they put Pronger on LTIR and move some salary around. It is very possible.
If Claude Giroux is out for the season, look for the Flyers to target Bobby Ryan as a strong candidate to replace him.
You can follow me on Twitter @ManayunkMike for updates, rumors and more.