Flyers Ready to Strike Before Trade Deadline

Already one of the best teams in the NHL, the Philadelphia Flyers are poised to become deeper and better between now and the trade deadline. A league source tells FanHouse that Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren will exhaust all means necessary to put last year’s Stanley Cup finalist in the best position possible for another championship run.

Of course, when it comes to Philadelphia’s hockey franchise, this should not come as a surprise. Although the Flyers have not won a Stanley Cup since 1975, the commitment of owner Ed Snider to provide his hockey operations staff with the resources to build a contender has never been questioned. Philadelphia has lost in the Stanley Cup Final five times in the last 35 years.

The waiving of goaltender Michael Leighton and his $1.55 million hit gives Holmgren all the salary cap flexibility he needs to add a significant player to the roster by the Feb. 28 trade deadline. Cap space and money will not be an issue. Under Snider, the Flyers have always spent money to make money and again their fans have responded, filling the more than 19,000 seats at the appropriately-named Wells Fargo Center to 100.5% capacity through 20 home games.

The general manager will also be operating from a position of power; the fact is, the 24-10-5 Flyers are strong enough at every position that Holmgren does not have to make a trade. Philadelphia has been well-stocked at forward for over a year. Last summer, Holmgren strengthened the defense with a trade for Andrej Meszaros and free agent signing of Sean O’Donnell. A mid-season injury to Chris Pronger — he will resume skating on Thursday — gave the 36-year-old defenseman the kind of break he would never ask for but could use at this juncture of his Hall of Fame career.

Still, Holmgren has never been the kind of manager to settle. He also has been a tough executive to read. When the rest of the league thought Holmgren would (and should) go after an established goaltender at last year’s trade deadline, he expressed confidence in Leighton and Brian Boucher and they backstopped the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final. Instead, seemingly out of nowhere, the GM took a low-risk chance on wing Ville Leino, giving up just a fifth round pick to acquire the talented Finn. After earning the trust of coach Peter Laviolette, Leino was a vital part of the run to the Final and this season is the Flyer’s fifth-leading scorer.

What will Holmgren do to improve his contending team over the next six weeks? The bet here is an upgrade at right wing. Despite scoring 13 goals (and two assists) in 35 games, Nikolai Zherdev clearly has not won Laviolette’s full-time faith. Zherdev is averaging just 12:18 of icetime per game, lowest among the Flyers’ top-nine forwards.

http://nhl.fanhouse.com/2011/01/06/the-nhl-column-flyers-ready-to-strike-before-trade-dealine/


104 Responses to Flyers Ready to Strike Before Trade Deadline

  1. wec69 says:

    i understand that but the article is about the flyers and all but 1 comment is directed towards the leafs, sickening. 

  2. reinjosh says:

    No one really follows that here. Thats also what happens when Leaf fans count for more than all the others combined on this site (or close to it). If you don't like, don't comment. Lots of other teams get posted on random article also.

  3. reinjosh says:

    He plays both. He wouldn't be a long term option just short term to allow Kadri to develop.

  4. JoelJoel says:

    True. I just have a soft spot for workhorse players, and I'm still bitter about Domi's buyout.

    The Komi situation is quite the pickle. We'll likely have to give up something just to get rid of him. I, however, do think that he can make a comback with the right team. Not that they need him, but a run and gun team like Washington, or Chicago, or even San Jose (hell, maybe include Van city, although they have 0 need for him), where his size and potential offense could overshadow his butter hands and blindness in his own zone. I loved the look Gus gave him last time they played Montreal when Komi made an amazing pass to a Montreal forward (Cami, I think) alone in the slot.

    Signing Komi may have been Burke's worst move to date (with any team). Imagine if the leafs were contenders in some way, his contract would screw them so bad. The only reason it isn't a catastrophe yet is because Toronto has so much cap space.

    Imagine we packaged Bauch and Komi for a forward or pick/prospect? Though a bit disappointing this season, I still like Francois' play, but I'd gladly see him gone if Giveaway McGee went with him.

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