Will Flyers be buyers at trade deadline?
There are rumblings that Nashville might make all-star defensemen Shea Weber ($7.5 million cap hit) and Ryan Suter ($3.5 million) available. Weber can become a restricted free agent in the summer, while Suter can become an unrestricted free agent.
Of the two, Suter is the more likely to be traded, but the Flyers don’t want just a rent-a-player for the stretch. They want assurances they could sign him to a long-term deal.
Suter says he wants to stay in Nashville, but that won’t stop the Flyers from pursuing him.
If the Flyers go to Plan B, two Carolina defensemen with the potential to become unrestricted free agents are on their list: Tim Gleason ($2.75 million cap hit) and Bryan Allen ($2.9 million). The latter has a no-trade clause that would have to be waived.
Other available defensemen include Toronto’s Luke Schenn, whose bother Brayden is on the Flyers; Montreal’s Hal Gill; and former Flyer and Delaware native Mark Eaton of the Islanders. The 36-year-old Gill, at 6-foot-7, 241 pounds, could replace the size the Flyers miss with Pronger (6-6, 220) sidelined.
As for the goalie situation, well, the feeling here is that coach Peter Laviolette will give the 31-year-old Bryzgalov a month or so to show he is the person to carry the team in the postseason.
But if Bryzgalov continues to underachieve – he has an 18-10-4 record, a 2.99 goals-against average, and an .895 save percentage – it would not be surprising if Bobrovsky gradually took over the lead role. Bobrovsky, 23, a second-year goalie who is playing with more confidence and better puck-handling skills than during his rookie season, is 11-4-1 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .919 save percentage.