Every game the Flyers play for the rest of the season is going to be more important and magnified with only 27 games remaining in the regular season. On Saturday the Flyers fell to the New York Rangers for the fifth consecutive time this season. Captain Ryan Callahan sealed the Rangers’ victory with a hat trick, extending the team’s growing lead over the eastern conference as they improved to 5-0 against the Orange and Black.
Another loss in a game the Flyers could have won continues to scream the need for a change. The Flyers obviously need to acquire a shutdown defenseman before the trade deadline on February 27.
The value of defensemen is never as great as it is during February’s trade deadline. Flyers’ talks with Nashville have reached a stalemate. It appears as though the Predators will not part ways with their young All-Stars Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. The Flyers need to look elsewhere if they want a realistic chance at acquiring a blueliner that will have an impact come playoff time. Among the defensemen expected to move are Montreal’s Hal Gill, Toronto’s Luke Schenn, and Winnipeg’s Johnny Oduya.
The Flyers goalie carousel, while nowhere near last season’s disaster of relying on three goalies in just one playoff series, still needs mass improvement. An improvement in consistency from the $51 million dollar man Ilya Bryzgalov. He has serious issues that need to be fixed if the team wants a chance of going deep in the playoffs. Bryz has yet to show that he can maintain a streak of four games where he has shut teams down.
Philadelphia has to be willing to give up valuable youth to get the D-man they need. While F James Van Riemsdyk appeared to be the most likely trade bait, looming concussion symptoms has caused teams to shy away from him. The Flyers are loaded with forward depth, so more players on the trading block include Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds. And don’t forget about Sergei Bobrovsky. He is a luxury the Flyers can’t afford to have. By signing Bryz to a $51 million contract, any chance of Bobrovsky becoming a starter for Philly went down the drain. Paul Holmgren needs to make a move and mix up the locker room because right now, the Flyers are not a Stanley Cup winning team.
The thought of a possible need for yet another goalie is downright frightening. Hopefully, Bryzgalov can regain his strong form of past years and carry the Flyers into a long and enjoyable June playoff run.