The Philadelphia Flyers: Trading for a Defensemen Is the Better Way to Go

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IMay 26, 2009

Everyone wants Jay Bouwmeester, he'll be an unrestricted free agent when the market opens.

Some people want Mike Komisarek.  Like Bouwmeester, he'll be an unrestricted free agent when the market opens.

Heck, even Francois Beauchemin is a name of interest to many Flyers fans.

Those are all viable options to help the pressing need on the Flyers' blue line.

Although they aren't the only options out there.

Sure it would be easier to throw away the salary cap and sign whoever you want to help you take that next step.  But now days, there is a cap, and the Flyers are right up against it.

So signing one of the big name defenseman would come at the cost of trading one or two of their top line players.  Just to get enough cap space to fit, let's say Jay Bouwmeester into the plans.

The Flyers are most likely looking to find some cap space by moving one or two of their high paid forwards, such as Joffrey Lupul (4.250 M cap hit in '09) and/or Danny Briere (6.5 M cap hit in '09).

Instead of signing the one of the big name free agents, why not search the trade market instead?  That way, you can clear up some space and bring in the guy who will fill the void on the blue line.

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In fact, there are two names that are out there that would be a better fit than anyone on the free agent market.

Chris Pronger from the Anaheim Ducks and Dion Phaneuf from the Calgary Flames.

In the case of Pronger, the Flyers have had interest in the past and has tried to acquire him a few times.  When he was traded from the St. Louis Blues to the Edmonton Oilers, the Flyers were believed to be trying to acquire his services.

Then again, in 2006, when the Oilers shipped the 6'6", 220-pound defenseman to the Anaheim Ducks—ironically, Lupul was sent to Edmonton in that deal.  The only problem with that deal was that Edmonton wanted both Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.

Price, too much.

Now, Pronger may be available once again, and this time, the Flyers has assets that can bring the nasty Pronger to Philly.

Pronger's cap hit in 2009 will be 6.250 M this upcoming season, the Flyers can't take on that kind of salary without either moving a high-paid forward in a package to get Pronger or dumping a high-paid forward in a cap move type trade.

Rumors had it that the Flyers were going hard after Pronger at the trade deadline this past season, and those rumors had the Ducks interested in Lupul.

So lets say, Lupul, Matt Carle, and a draft pick to Anaheim for Pronger.

That way, it works out on both teams with the cap AND frees up a couple million for the Flyers.  Works out right?

Hypothetically, the Flyers trade for Pronger, whose playing goalie?

Simple, resign Martin Biron.  He wants to come back, the Flyers have interest in him, why not?  He's good enough, if he had, let's say, a Chris Pronger in front of him.

That plan works out for both teams as well, the Flyers get that big, nasty defenseman—who can also play the powerplay—that they desperately need, and the Ducks get a goal scorer in Lupul and an offensive defenseman that has a potential to be real good.

Over the past few days, rumors have swirled around the "water cooler" that the Calgary Flame are looking to move defenseman Dion Phaneuf.

Phaneuf is only 24 years old, and he has established himself as one of the best young blue liners in the league.  Oh, did I mention he's physical?

The 6'3", 210-pound punishing defenseman had 159 hits in 2008-09—ranking 20th among defenseman—although they are as high as you would think, they are punishing.

So let's say, the Flyers trade Danny Briere (assuming he would waive his no-trade clause) and Matt Carle to the Flames for Phaneuf and someone else, if the cap numbers don't matchup.

This way, the Flames get another offensive treat to a team that would love to add a guy who can set up Jarome Iginla.  Ollie Jokinen is with the Flames, but he wasn't too great in the playoffs, and the Flames would get a puck-moving defenseman in Carle.

Like with adding Pronger, Phaneuf adds the big, nasty defenseman who can add an edge to the defense, and like Pronger, can play the powerplay.

With adding Phaneuf, you can resign Biron again.  Like Pronger, Phaneuf makes Biron better and the team better.

Of course this is all speculation and one person's wishful thinking, none of this has any truth—that we know of—but it is possible.

Unlikely, but possible.